Things have been stressful for me both personally and professionally for the past few months. Not to mention, I have a milestone birthday this summer. It all added up to me taking time off the summer. It’s the second summer in a row for those of you playing at home.
The beach lets me stop and reflect on a few things:
Writing for the sheer joy of it
I embarked on a personal project last spring to raise my total of LinkedIn posts to 100. I’m doing it to publish some of my ideas about knowledge management, content management, and collaboration. I used to cover collaboration as a topic when I was a freelance writer and still follow the topic closely. I still have mixed emotions about LinkedIn as a publishing platform, but I did enjoy writing those posts. It’s fun to return to
While I’ve yet to return to my roots as an English major by writing short stories and poetry again, I hope that even in a small part I influence some people about collaboration-related topics through my own writing and lessons learned. I did come back from vacation with some short story ideas so who knows?
Mind you, I didn’t write so much during my vacation.
Stopping for a while
I’ve never been good at just not doing anything until I went to the beach last year, I arrived on the beach that first morning with my beach towel, sun spray, and an ambitious list of personal and professional reading to tackle. Well, I didn’t even come close to finishing the list. This year went at about the same pace.
For the most part, I always have to be busy during the week. I wake up to go to work. Head to circuit training at my gym. Go home. Eat dinner. Write some more or do something around the house. Then go to bed. Wake up. Rinse and repeat.
The beach is the only place these days where I can just stop and do nothing. I found that out last summer.
Continuing my news blackout
I’ve given up on the news as of late. That was a hard break especially since I’ve been a news junkie since I used to lay on the floor and read the Baltimore Sun print edition as a kid. While coming up as an English major, I was taught in journalism class that you use three named sources and use unnamed sources sparingly. Those rules seem to have gone the way of the floppy disk.
Reading for enjoyment
For some reason, I drift out of reading for enjoyment which isn’t a good thing for a writer. I chock it up to my day job which requires me to write about a range of topics. While it’s all good, it means I have to do a lot of professional reading on my own to stay at the level where I want to me.
Like lots of other people, I came late to Anthony Bourdain I’m sorry to say. More than one person close to me tried to turn me onto his work over the years. It wasn’t until I read about his death did I get a clue how brilliant the man was a writer and communicator. I embarked on a Netflix binge of Parts Unknown and read his seminal works while I was away on vacation. I really enjoyed them. The books were a nice escape from the technology topics that consume so much of my reading these days.
Getting away applies to rain or shine
I spent the Saturday before I left for the beach watching a real monsoon rain down on the Northern Virginia area. I drove through bands of rain on the way down plus a nice downpour when I was driving over the Bay Bridge. I was oddly calm during the rainy drive over the bridge, and I hate driving across that bridge. After all, I was getting away. I lucked out on the weather during the first part of the week — except for some winds and intermittent clouds — while heavy rain hit the Washington, DC area. There was only one day of significant rain when I was at the beach.
When I was a contract technical writer, I went for years without a real vacation. When I returned back to work in 2016, I made a point of taking time off and couldn’t be happier that I’ve made this life change.
I’ll definitely plan to take another beach vacation next year…
What did you reflect about during your summer vacation?