It’s not as hard as I expected it to be Or, rather, not hard in the ways I expected.
The not tweeting part has been rather easy. I wasn’t on Twitter all that much in the months before my sabbatical. Much of what I shared there actually came from Rhoneisms which is not quite the same — it provided a buffer for my engagement with Twitter directly. Also, when I would go and read my stream it was so redacted thanks to mutes, filters, and careful following, that I feel like my experience was a bit outside of the norm and certainly easier for me than if it wasn’t.
Facebook was something I did my best to avoid, in general. But there were certain things I used it for — like invites to events and certain updates from folks who only posted there. There are a couple of groups there that I’m a member of too. Closed groups. Facebook is the only way we organize getting together in the real world. So, I may find in a short while that I need to make exception for that.
Instagram, is perhaps the one I miss most. I’ve been trying to be much more intentional and careful with my photo taking — with the thought that they will end up in a book too. The desire to share that right away has been an unexpectedly strong tug.
But, honestly, neither the checking in or the micro-posting to social networks is terribly missed so far. In fact, there have been a couple of days where my phone has stayed in my pocket all day because there was no reason for it to leave. On the first day this happened, I took my phone out of my pocket at the end of the day to plug it in and noticed I still had 97% battery left. I’ll admit to doing a little fist pump over that.
What has been hard is dealing with the urge to share the longer writing work I’ve done this past week. Because, I believe it to be some of my best. And there are a couple of personal experiences that have happened in this week that have been mind expanding and unexpected but have moved me deeply. I wrote these down by hand in my journal and immediately went, out of habit, to transcribe it into a blog post. Then, I remembered a split second later that, no, I’m not doing that. I’m taking that work, re-reading it a few times to soak it in, then putting it aside. I reminded myself that this piece might be part of a whole not yet found and I may even feel much differently about sharing it at all in a week, month, or year. I may revisit them later and find I can make them even better. Perhaps, eventually, I can share a bit of that here. But, not now. Not yet. The best gift you can give to any idea is time.
The hard part, as a writer (or any work, for that matter), is that if you are doing it well then the best thing you’ve written will hopefully be the last thing you wrote and will remain so until the next thing you write. It does not always work that way, but when it does, it’s deeply fulfilling. So, I strive for that.
I’ve also been finding a lot of comfort in quietly observing. Allowing myself to be bored — for lack of a better word. Staring off into space and letting my mind wander to see where it takes me. Not filling in the blank spaces in my day and realizing they are not blank at all but a vivid canvas filled with life just waiting for me to look up and take notice.
So, that’s where things are for me now, one week into my sabbatical. Thanks for allowing me to check in.