No service

J, little V and I spent the weekend at a beach cabin with a dear friend of mine and her 1.5 year old son. We cooked up some self-harvested oysters and clams, swam in the cold salty water, and had a blast watching the boys play while we sipped chilled white wine. It was truly a refreshing, relaxing weekend. And I had zero cell reception the entire time.

For the first afternoon/evening it I did feel like something was missing. Just like when I know the electricity is out but I can’t help flipping a light switch, I found myself attempting to post a photo of the sunset on Facebook or trying to google a recipe for peach pie (which we ended up whipping together from memory with total success). Eventually I was able to relax and just enjoy, feeling in the moment in a way I haven’t in a long time.

I know I’m not the first to say it, but sometimes I really hate my damn smart phone. When I get home from work, I plug it in to charge and always plan to leave it alone until the next morning. But inevitably I wander over during a lull in the evening and find myself unable to resist it. It’s a compulsion, really. And I’m not alone- fear of being without a cell phone now has a name and there’s talk of adding this disorder to the DSM.

Academia is full of people who work virtually all the time. I’ve even heard it boasted about as a sort of badge of honor: “I am running on 3 hours of sleep and 7 cups of coffee!” “I haven’t had a vacation since tenure!” But after 2 whole days away from the chatter,  the emails, even thinking about science, I didn’t miss anything important and I don’t think anyone/anything really missed me. This is a good reminder for me- it’s quality of hours, not quantity of hours. And sometimes it is essential to  put down the damn phone and walk away.


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