I looked up

I'm back. Well, I've been back a little while now, easing myself back into this crazy, mad-cap world of ours. As I said in my last post, I decided that the antidote to being generally overworked, overwhelmed and overwrought was to take a bit of a break. So, I took a full three weeks away from the world. No news, no social media, no football transfers, no Brexit. I looked up from my cracked iPhone screen, and took in the world around me.

It was bloody lovely, and I learned a few things. So, please indulge me while I pass on my questionable insights, in my ‘Top 6 things I learned in three weeks offline.’

  1. I look at my phone too much. For the first 48 hours after I deleted all my social media apps, I still kept checking my phone every few minutes. Like an idiot. My brain knew there was nothing more exciting than the IMDB app on there, and yet it kept going for the endorphin rush. Sorry, brain, no neuro-chemical release for you. When you're checking a phone that doesn't have anything on it more often than you’re doing anything else, you realise how much time you spend staring at the magic glass. Too much bloody time.

  2. So does everyone else. Once that wears off, and you're not checking your own phone, you realise how much everyone else is. It's a bit like one of those movies where the straight white man with the chiselled jawline realises everyone else in the town is a robot, or a pod person. Seriously, if you're in public right now, take a look around. It's eerie. Don't worry, you can look back now. Wait, how do I get you to look down again? Bugger. I knew I should have made this the last one.

  3. Those kids of mine sure are cute. I like to think of myself as being a relatively decent parent. I mean, they’re still alive, right? But once I shut out the internet I realised that not only was I hearing more of what they were saying to me, but I was actually getting more enjoyment from of my interactions with them. Weird, huh? We all went on a family holiday, and it was fab. They really are two wonderful little mini-humans, and I need to get better at that balance of parent/full-time-work/writing/life. Frankly, the first one of those is the most important, and whatever is happening on Tumblr should only ever get a look in once the others are all dealt with. that's them at the top of the page. Aren't they cute?

  4. I don't need to know about everything. I listened to an interesting Freakanomics podcast before I took the break about why we consume news. Actually, it was one of the things that directly impacted on the decision. It posited that people who get very into news do so for the same reason as people get into sport. It’s more about picking a side to cheer on than ensuring you’re a well-informed citizen. This rang scarily true, and having removed myself from that particular sporting arena, my life is drastically improved. I currently have little-to-no idea what’s happening in the American election, or what’s going on with Brexit. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I'm not so invested in it all. I'm sure it won't last, especially once President Trump starts a nuclear war with Scotland over putting-green access, but for now, ignorance truly is bliss.

  5. These books won't sell themselves. I really enjoyed not checking book sales while I was away, and was glad to find that a few of you lovely people bought some books in my absence, but mostly, there’s been tumbleweeds blowing across my sales pages. So, if you've not yet picked up a copy of Blood on the Motorway, you really should, because it's reet good. It even has a 4.9 star average on Amazon UK, so you know it's the real deal. Or how about Welcome to Discovery Park, my two-year odyssey to listen to listen to the so-called ‘500 greatest albums’ of all time. If you’ve not picked that up yet, you really should. Check out the links at the bottom, or peruse my books page for more details.

  6. It's good to be back. As nice as it was to take a break, coming back to my Tumblr account, my Twitter feed and, hell, even Facebook has been rather lovely. So many of my great friendships in this modern world we live in are digital, and I started to miss a lot of you. Oddly, one of my favourite ‘internet friends’ is having to do a similar ‘step away’, and I can completely relate. But I have learned a lesson. I’m trying to modulate my internet time, and not spend so much time staring at a screen. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Blood on the Motorway – An apocalyptic tale of murder and stale sandwiches, is available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and more besides.

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