I’m writing this post from the back porch of a family beach rental in South Carolina. The breeze is ruffling the pages of the paperback Ive just put down, and will soon pick back up. The ever-present hum/roar of waves hitting the beach drones on, in a most delightful way. My father’s swimming in the pool below me, and my children are upstairs napping. They have every right to be tired, because they’ve been exploring the ocean and the house and the pool and the greater Charleston area for the last several days and have plenty more exploring to do.
I try pretty hard to take a few technology breaks a year, to distance myself completely from the devices that rule my work week and can dictate, on occasion, priority. (Well, at least, I allow myself to believe that devices, and not the people connected through them, or my own agency, or lack of it, can determine priorities. But I know that’s not the case.)
This trip, I’ve found myself taking my “break” in a slightly different way. Today’s a good example. I made pancakes for my daughters with a few Twitter friends. Then we dined on the porch, about three feet from where I’m sitting now, and I announced the view. The girls and I then hit the pool for several hours, and returned for a late lunch. In their pre-nap stupor, as they “rested” on the couch, I caught up with several colleagues attending a conference and chatted with a couple more friends/acquaintances/people I (don’t always) know.
Some of the folks I’ve interacted with today are folks that I work with. Many are not. Most have no business being “here” on a family vacation. That said, I’d have it no other way. My world’s at my fingertips on my own terms mostly all the time now, and I’m nowhere close to prepared with how to deal with that.
I feel like I balance work and personal responsibilities fairly well, sometimes leaning one way, other times the other, and I still don’t think I’m anywhere close to certain about how best to handle the blending of personal and professional that we’re smack in the middle of. It’s new. It’s different. It’s awesome. And it’s tricky. And I rather enjoy it. I’m not quite sure why I’m choosing to think about it on a day like today, except that I’m aware that my normal “power down completely” relaxation strategy isn’t comfortable today. Balance is important. But balance isn’t binary.
I’m an hourly employee in a world where schedules are less and less important at a time when time’s never been more precious. My friends and my colleagues may or may not be on the same short list of people, but they’re always close and reachable. And that’s a fine paradox for such a sunny afternoon here at the ocean. As I head back to my novel, I’m going to take a few minutes to ponder the point further. Whatever’s happening at present to my nomal routines, I’m still getting some rest and relaxation, and I’m not going to squander it.