Last week, we headed out as a family to Disney World. It was a big trip for us as we usually vacation locally (with the White Mountains and Maine nearby, why not?) and I was a bit stressed about work. As a freelancer, I don’t really get vacation time, especially since I have some steady gigs that require me to continue to post content. I scrambled for weeks to try to get ready and never really caught up. It didn’t help that Bug came down with a stomach bug 36 hours before we were scheduled to leave and the night before my last kid-free day to work.
So we packed up a laptop and a netbook, cables, chargers, phones (mine with Internet access) and all manner of gadgety stuff. I knew I’d be working at least a bit on the trip, so I simply resigned myself to the fact and tried to plan out when that might happen. It turned out that I didn’t spend quite as much time on work as I expected, so that was a nice surprise. But the bigger surprise (for me) was how much I was able to unplug and not think twice about it. Yes, I did log onto both Twitter and Facebook (for much-needed comfort when I came down with the stomach bug mid-trip and was alone in the hotel room feeling miserable). And, yeah, I was still obsessively checking my email (you never know when you’ll get a nice surprise via email). But mostly, I didn’t engage. I looked at email and ignored anything that wasn’t either really interesting or really pressing. I peeked at Twitter, but didn’t really converse much. And I posted some photos on Facebook without getting sucked in.
The result? I came back refreshed. The ugliness of the previous week (ironically, at the hands of Disney Social Media) and the slowly building frustration I had been experiencing was gone and I was back to myself. It was a beautiful reminder of just how fortunate I am, both in my personal life and in my professional one. Maybe more importantly, it was a chance to be thankful for the people who care about me and to knock those who don’t right out of my mind.
My normal approach to all things social media is to celebrate the good, grumble for a minute about the bad, and constantly refocus my sights on what I want most. I try not to take things too personally and I know there will always been another opportunity. And when I don’t get something I want, I either decide it’s not a great match for my goals, or refine my approach to better serve me the next time around. But there are times when the small disappointments start to add up and times when it is clear that nothing I could have done would have mattered. Obviously, that’s when I just need to take a step away.
I have so much appreciation for those people in my life who treat me (and others) with respect and care. I’m excited for 2011. I have some big things in mind, some changes, some new starts, and I’m hoping to be able to really give back to a community that has been a tremendous support for me. And I’m not going to sit around and wait for something magical to happen… I can create magic with the best of them!