Taking a Hiatus: What I’ve Learned
1) Breaks can be a great thing. I am very refreshed. In fact, it was interesting that while I was away several other bloggers expressed the need to dial it back a bit. All I can say is, if you feel the need, DOOOOO IT!
It seems a bit ridiculous giving this advice since I’m still very much the newbie (oooh, nine whole posts under my belt!) and my break had nothing to do with getting burned out. Still, this strange little practice of mine is now in its tenth year, and while I thoroughly enjoy the shininess of the intarwebz, I can attest that stepping away for a time can do wonders for the psyche.
2) I just can’t seem to do things half-way. This is why, despite my SAHM status, I rarely bake cookies. As long as they’re not in my house, it’s very easy to not eat them. But if they’re in the freezer……. mmmm, half-frozen cookies.
In internet terms this means I am not able to blog-but-stay-away-from-stuff-like-Facebook. Let’s just say Dee got a really pitiful e-mail from me late one night as I lamented the fact that I have no self-discipline, and I had to go *rully rully* cold turkey to get any benefit. It was pretty pathetic. We shall speak no more of it.
3) Did you know that for lemmings, the internet is their main source of sustenance? I suppose I should have expected it, but it was amazing how quickly they quieted down once I stepped away. Conversely, I swear I heard a couple of them yell “CANNONBALL!” the moment I opened up my Google Reader.
4) The lemming behavior is one thing, but what surprised me even more was my drive to try new fragrances quietened down as well. (Do we have a separate phrase for the urge to try samples? All I’m coming up with are images of salmon, and that’s just weird.) There were an awful lot of mornings when I’d consider my collection of untried sniffies, think “meh” and reach for a love instead. Now that I’m back, the samples are starting to look tempting again.
5) Vanessa gave me the answer I was looking for in terms of balance. She referred me to this post, and as a recovering perfectionist, it was exactly what I needed. As much as I’d like to read every blog and always have a witty, erudite comment to add, it’s just not going to happen.
6) Interesting titles really catch the eye when facing over 800 blog posts. Also, making a YouTube video of yourself sniffing Secretions Magnifique will definitely grab my attention. (Shout-out to Portia, of course. ;))
7) So if the lemmings go away, and the urge to sample goes away, what brings me back? That’s easy. It’s the community.
Near the end of last year I read the book “Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way” by Molly Birnbaum. It’s a memoir about the complete anosmia that affected Ms. Birnbaum after she was hit by a car, how it derailed her dream of studying at the Culinary Institute of America and what she learned in the five years it took for her sense of smell to come back. In her quest to understand what she’d lost, she met with a perfumer and learned a bit about perfumistas, but didn’t quite understand the appeal. She loved how cooking brought friends and family together, and fragrance seemed a solitary endeavor by comparison.
I remember thinking that I saw her point, but that she didn’t quite get it. The internet is our dinner table. And there’s something wonderful, almost magical, about sitting down and supping with people from Sweden and Australia and the U.S. and Britain and Austria and so many other places. It really is a grand thing.