I have established a tradition of taking vacation in late October. During my week of downtime, I unplug from email and social media. I get away from home and don’t bring my laptop computer. I do have my cell phone, but I refrain from glancing at Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, etc. My eyes and mind need the opportunity to unwind and relax from the constant barrage of information, misinformation, and drama posted 24/7/365.

While refraining from email and social media, I allow myself to experience what’s happening around me and to me. I’m better able to immerse myself in the experience, relying on my mind to record (i.e., memorize) the experience, rather than upon digital means. I still take pictures and the occasional small video recording, but I don’t post them right away.

The lack of urgency is relaxing. I can turn my face toward the sun and bask in its rays. I can slow down and smell the camellias. I can listen to and learn from history and imagine what it would have been like to have been there at that time. This involves all five senses: seeing the environment, hearing the sounds, smelling the air, feeling the textures, tasting the foods. The return to simplicity is anything but simple and not necessarily easy.

However, it’s necessary for heart, mind, and soul. I need that break. I need the time to reflect. I need …

And it’s always good to return home, to return to the routine of daily life and surround myself with the normality of everyday sights, sounds, activities, and expectations. The normality reminds me that there’s something dear and worth returning to.

It was good to get away; now it’s good to be back.