Just returned to the so-called “real world” after a week camping at a festival. Well, car camping. We had running water, a little shack happily selling us gyros, port-a-potties, and garbage collection. So we weren’t really roughing it. But happily, the campground had no internet access or cell phone. So it was a truly un-connected week. The week was spent hanging out with friends, attending an occasional workshop, building bonfires, and reading books.
Today I got back to stacks of mail, email, etc. Looking at it all, I realize that most of the daily stuff that occupies so much of my time is extra. It’s stuff that doesn’t give me joy or pleasure. Some of it is necessary, but it’s put in stark relief how much of my daily life and crap is just that: crap. It’s not building a happy life. It’s not bringing in immediate income. It’s busy-ness. Twitter? Busy-ness. The four dozen social networking sites intended to revolutionize my life? Busy-ness. Email (1400 email backlog from one week)? Busy-ness, except for three or four of the messages, should I ever be able to dig them out of all the rest.
I’m not sure what to do with this new realization. I may just drop a lot of stuff on the floor. A whole lot of stuff. Concentrate on the things that pay off most in the currency of happiness, short-term or long-term, and relax about everything else. Cheryl Richardson says a high-quality life often has more to do with what we remove from it than what we put in.
So go take a week’s vacation, totally un-tethered from the modern world. When you return, be careful and deliberate about which of your projects you pick up again. You just might end up doing less and living more!