Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Digital detox

Well my friends, it’s been a while. My radio silence over the yuletide period in part the result of a planned ‘digital detox’ but mostly due to generally- knackered-can’t-be-arsedness and the inevitable end of year cold/flu which of course strikes the moment you take your foot off the gas.

So what the hell is a digital detox I hear you ask? Well, anyone not living under a rock in January will be all too familiar with the ever present reminders of the need to get fit, lose fat and generally deny yourself any pleasure during the most miserable time of the year. This year, we decided to partake in no such nonsense, after all life is too short and too damn full on with kids and 20 acres of unruly land to take care of. But the digital detox was a revelation to me.

I’m sure it has not escaped your notice that there is an inherent paradox in blogging and generally whoring yourself about on social media discussing something which is supposed to be all about back to nature and turning your back on the modern world and all its general online chaos and pressures. My Twitter feed in itself sums up this dichotomy so beautifully - it never fails to amuse me how I can have the very latest in ‘Digital HR’ and ‘Future of the Workforce’ trends scrolling up right next to all the hippy spiritual bushcraft type stuff and sustainable living feeds. While my day job puts me right at the forefront of innovation and all that’s new, my home life serves to anchor me with my hands in the mud and shit doing the same stuff that has been done for generations. Balancing the two is either going to send me insane or render me the 21st century’s answer to the wizened old crone with the whiskers on her chin and her gnarly old hands, with her Google Glass and her wearable tech ‘gemstones’ hidden discreetly under her vast green cloak.

More rolling, less scrolling
So anyway I took advantage of a two week break from work to completely detach myself from the internet – no Facebook, no Twitter, no Whatsapp, no general newsfeeds whatsoever. And you know what? It was strangely liberating. The first two days were the hardest (I removed all the apps from my phone to remove temptation) and then I just got on with the present, without feeling the constant distraction of vibrations in my pocket or automatically reaching for my phone every time I sat down for a cup of tea or had a spare moment. Instead I focused 100% on what I was doing, paid more attention to the kids and the conversations I was having, indulged in a LOT of people watching and generally felt more space and room for reflection in my head. Could this be the ubiquitous mindfulness we hear about more and more…?

Simple pleasures - the witchy witch hazel
Which then gave me the great idea that perhaps more people, especially the younger generation (eee by gum, it weren’t like that in our day, we had to walk ten mile in us bare feet just to get a stale loaf a’bread etc. etc.) might welcome the opportunity to switch off and focus on more practical, outdoor activities, engaging with their present and the people around them in the fresh air. I know I’m not the first to come up with this idea and won’t be the last but it has definitely sowed a seed. Watch this space.

As for my husband, I asked him what kind of detox he was going to be undertaking this January. He said it involved three days of preparation and would blow my mind. For the past week he has been up till all hours boiling and dehydrating and frying and microwaving pig skin. Yes, pig skin. Tons of it. After a very brief conversation early in January where he asked if we should buy a deep fat fryer at which I scoffed and said absolutely not, he has now made it his life’s mission to make healthy pork scratchings. The end result has so far been “interesting”. I’ve never been a massive fan of Mr Porky but these were slightly more palatable (maybe). The kids on the other hand went mental for them. Couldn’t get enough. I suppose this is one way to get through all the remaining Peppa body parts in the freezer before we get our next pair of porkers in the spring. Cleansing the freezer he tells me. Right you are then. Happy new year everyone!

Mmmmm guilt-free pork scratching anyone?!

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