In September I had two weeks holiday. On the first day of my break I switched my phone onto airplane mode, and left it on that setting for the whole two weeks. (Give or take checking on Andy Murray’s marvellous progress in the US Open). No calls, no work email, no personal email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no blog, no Pinterest, no texts, no IM, no Skype. Nothing. Just silence.

It helped that we spent the first 4 days in Orkney, which has hardly any mobile signal anyway, and has the feeling of somewhere where you really shouldn’t be spending all your time with your nose in a smartphone. And the second half of our holiday was in the Cairngorms, where I spent as much time as possible outside, walking and biking. So gadget time wasn’t a priority.

First snow of the year, on the top of Cairngorm

The silence helped me to restore my batteries and completely relax. It also helped me to pay more attention to my husband – who often complains that I’m not listening because I’m too busy tweeting, reading blogs, etc etc. He doesn’t seem to buy the ‘but I’m a woman and I am multitasking’ argument.

What I have found strange is that since I’ve got back, I’ve actually found it a bit difficult to get back online again. And I’ve even found myself dragging my heels to get back in touch with friends on the phone. I’m not sure why exactly. I love my friends. Some of it is to do with adjusting back to work and a long commute. Maybe its normal to need some silence for a period of time. I’m pretty social and extrovert, so it is a surprise to me.

(This isn’t an anti social media post. Twitter in particular has led to me making some wonderful friendships and has helped me to meet some incredible people within my field of work. And Facebook is important in helping me keep connected with all my far flung friends).

How do you manage to cope with all this stuff? Do you ever have periods of silence?

12 thoughts on “Silence

  1. Well first of all Flora, lovely to read your blog again and it’s strange, but reading “silence” had an impact on me. Made me feel peaceful in a turbulent period.

    It’s an interesting reflection. I totally get what you’re saying. I have a preference for extraversion but know too that there are times when one person is all I want. Maybe it’s about the focus on that special relationship that gives the energy at those times?

    • Meg, thanks so much for commenting – I don’t deserve any comments after being such a rubbish blogger for the last couple of months. I know what you mean about ‘turbulent’. That’s a great word. Very apt.

  2. Me…? Silence…? Well yes – I do sometimes 😉 And it can be lovely, I think proximity to loved ones helps. My recent US trip had a lot of silence in it – and that was when I keenly felt the distance between me, Carole and Keira. But when we’re in the same house, I know they’re close by and I can sit and type and read a good while in silence – save for the clacking of keys.

    It was lovely to chat with you on the phone today – perhaps all the more lovely after a break eh?

  3. I couldn’t do this kind of a break, that’s just too much quiet time! I’m a city guy, I like hustle and bustle. Even on beach holidays I like to be active. That’s not what I wanted to reply though.

    I peak and trough with Twitter all the time. There are times when I won’t post any updates at all, and blogging takes a hiatus. And then there’s times when I tweet and blog like there’s no tomorrow. Through either of those periods, I just remember that there’s no rules about using social networks. Yes, to get the most out of them you need to interact, but you can only do that when you have the desire or want to do that.

    • Thanks Sukh. You are right about the peaks and troughs. And that there’s no rules. And the lovely thing is that it is a joy to pick it up again and to say hello again to people after some time out.

  4. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need it. Can I recommend two songs to you?
    Splendid Isolation by Warren Zevon
    Me, Myself, I by Joan Armatrading

  5. Hi Flora – provocative post for me as I used to live in Orkney! The curious thing is that though I know exactly what you mean it’s not silence… Orkney (& the Cairngorms) is full of noise, mostly natural and quite relaxing in it’s way. For me it’s the removal of unnecessary, distracting or stressful noise (people & stuff). It’s almost as though we need the right noise to relax & recharge rather than silence. Hope that makes sense!

    BTW I think there is something about how taking yourself into the natural world away from throngs of people and the built environment helps you think & see more deeply. My country walks have this effect on me. Anyone else feel this way?

  6. This post really resonated with me Flora. In May this year we had the delightful news that baby number 2 was coming and with this massive news and all the lovliness of early pregnancy – sickness, extreme tiredness etc. I took a break from all my online activity. Not only did I stop tweeting for a while I stopped reading tweets and blogs. The longer this went on the more I was reluctant to dive in again. I am not sure why really. I am sure much of it is that I had a lot more on my mind and I sort of found I lost my voice a little. I am slowing dipping my toe back in but would like to step this up a gear.

    I do totally feel that sometimes switching off is good for the soul and for those around you. I am trying to figure out how I get a flow between all of the things i love in life – family, friends, work, reading tweeting etc.

    Thanks for posting. You have made me think about this some more…


    • David – thank you for the music recs! I love a comment which gives song recommendations!!!!
      Peter – lol, yes, let me know if you go ahead and take that advice.
      David – I thought Orkney was brilliant. Really interesting. And very much a stepping back in time experience. And I’m with you on the country walks.
      Sinead – Yes, the reluctance to dive back in and feeling like one has lost ones voice, it’s interesting isn’t it. Thank you ever so much for letting me know I am not the only one. Flow between all the things….It’s not easy is

  7. Pingback: What’s The Story? « The HR Juggler

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