Coming Out of My Hiatus After a Little Reboot

Sunday, March 21, 2021

 Sometimes the best way to recharge is to unplug.

Isn't that the truth!  I figured this out for myself recently and in the process of 'unplugging,' I learned that unplugging actually recharged me in a way I didn't even realize I needed to be recharged.  That says a lot, especially coming from someone who loves the connection that being plugged in allows - through social media, through my blog and through text.  After the holidays, after a year of Covid, after an election year...I found myself feeling deflated.  I had no emotions left; I'd used them up, every last one of them.  I know I was not alone on this emotional island but I felt like I was.  I'd even lost my passion for road trips and shooting photos.  We'd head out, and about 15 minutes from home, I'd want to turn around and come home.  I just couldn't find my mojo.  I recognized that when the things that used to spark my enthusiasm couldn't light me up, it was time for a reboot and that's when I decided to step away from what little outside stimulation I had left after Covid and take a break to look within.

Some might assume I spent that time quietly contemplating life or journaling or soul searching, but on the contrary.  It was pretty action packed and productive really.  I tackled a variety of those tasks that have lived on my 'to-do' list for too know, those things that you dream of doing laying awake late at night....the things that exist in your mind, in the dark, when other distractions aren't demanding your attention.  I crossed a bunch of those off my list, some big jobs like cleaning and reorganizing the basement, and some smaller tasks like cleaning out all the kitchen and desk drawers, reorganizing the bedroom closets, and a huge revamp of thousands of printed photos.  Everyone has their own personal way of recharging and refocusing and for me, this time away from social media and the frustration and distraction that came with that, gave me time not only to tend to neglected chores but time to look within and get back in touch with who I was before Covid. 

 This past year has been anything but normal for anyone.  It has challenged even the sanest of sane, the mightiest of mighty, the optimism of even the most optimistic.  While my life was pretty unaffected by Covid in a day-to-day way, eventually the global mood, the absence of normal life, the news, and the reality of life caught up to me.  The reality was.....none of it felt real.  The politics that were impossible to ignore didn't help.  I reached my breaking point, like so many.  I needed to step back, step away from the noise and reconnect with myself, not the person that 2020 had molded me into, but the person I was prior to 2020. 

I figured some things out during my hiatus from social media.  First, I really missed my Facebook friends and I missed sharing photos.  It's not nearly as much fun taking photos if there's no one to enjoy them with me.  Second, while I missed my connections, I didn't miss the noise, the negativity, the garbage that is also a part of social media.  I found that there's enough of that in everyday life without adding to it online.  I found that while it's not difficult to scroll past the junk, it's even easier to avoid it altogether by not spending so much time glancing at my newsfeed.  Like most things that were invented to make life easier, help us live in the fast lane, social media comes with its own flaws and blessings.

We took a ride yesterday, our first real road trip in ages, and as always happens when we drive around the countryside, sometimes without speaking, just taking in the view, each in our own thoughts, the barren landscape reminded me of something.  In the winter, the landscape (at least in NY) is covered in white.  The snow blankets the brown, dormant vegetation, covering what would otherwise look dismal and ugly with a bright, clean blanket.  We forget that life beneath this pretty disguise is actually quite a contrast to what is visible on the surface. Under that beautiful white facade is something more like this....

 Just like in life....what we see is not always the reality.  Often beneath the surface, the smiles, the outer appearance we let others see exists a reality that is not unlike the brown, barren landscape of early spring.  Reality isn't always pretty, yet society and social media encourage us to hide what isn't pretty, what isn't 'presentable' and put on a pretty face.  I think after 2020, we all feel a little barren and dismal, and a little dormant.  Maybe you've kept your mood to yourself, covered it with a blanket of forced smiles as you struggled to navigate, one day after the next.  Then it happens.  The snow melts and the truth is exposed.  It isn't pretty and initially it isn't looking optimistic. The veil has been lifted, and we can no longer hide behind it.  That's when we need a reminder, a reminder that this dormancy, this bland, brown landscape isn't permanent.  We aren't stuck in this reality.  There are reminders everywhere that there's life after pain, rainbows after the rain.  The brown landscape that fills our view will slowly come alive, the world around us is slowing beginning to pulse again.  Finally, after what seems like an eternity, we have a glimmer of hope that the storm cloud that has been hovering over us is slowly beginning to pass.  The brown, dormant world outside our window will soon do what it has done every year in history.  It will come to life again and before we know it, the view around us will be lush and green, brimming with new life reminding us that we must not give up. There is hope.  At this moment though, the brown landscape is a blank canvas.  It's a clean slate, a reboot of the next phase.  We get to be the artist on this canvas.  We get to choose the palette and decide what comes next.  I think if Covid taught us anything, it taught us not to take life for granted.  It helped us open our eyes and take inventory.  It helped us see what we could live without, helped us appreciate the value of a hug, the company of our friends, and the immeasurable comfort the closeness of loved ones provides.  It made us realize we are the Captain of our own destinies and it's time we take control. It's time we come out of isolation and embrace life.  I'm grateful to have emerged from my hiatus recharged and renewed and am so pumped about all I (we) were able to accomplish. I'm excited to get out and take photos again, and I plan to share them on social media but I plan to keep a low profile and limit my online activity going forward to a level that allows me to stay connected to my friends but doesn't overtake my time or sanity.  I hope that spring finds you feeling hopeful and refreshed and ready to take a deep breath.  We made it through another cold winter and now it's time to emerge and fly!  

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