It’s been more than five years since I ‘went dark’ on the socials. I used to do it annually. Taking time off social media, personal email, blogging, podcast-recording, and newsletter-writing is an incredibly useful thing to do every now and again.
So, as of today, which is my last day at work of 2022, I’m going dark — with a couple of caveats. While you won’t see me posting here, on my main Fediverse account, or on the Thought Shrapnel website, I do need to keep an admin’s eye on exercise.cafe and wao.wtf. I may post a couple of things in those places.
Talking of Thought Shrapnel, I’ve created a ‘best of 2022’ email newsletter which will be sent to subscribers on Sunday. You can sign up to get that here. Also, you’ve missed any episodes of The Tao of WAO this is a good time of year to catch up on them!
I’ll see you in 2023, a year which sounds almost unfathomably futuristic to my ageing mind. Have a good one 🎄
Moonrise over Northumberland National Park, from a walk last week which we completed in the dark.
Unable to get back to sleep, I got up and continued reading Wintering this morning:
Then, we enter that strange period between Christmas and New Year, when time seems to muddle, and we keep finding ourselves asking, ‘What day is it? What date?’ I always mean to work on these days, or at least to write, but this year, like every other, I find myself unable to gather to the necessary intent. I used to think that these were wasted days, but now I realise that’s the point. I am doing nothing very much, not even actively on holiday… I go for cold walks that make my ears ache. I am not being lazy; I’m not slacking; I’m just letting my attention shift for a while, away from the direct ambitions of the rest of my year. It’s like revving my engines.
Katherine May, Wintering, p.149
The book was a gift from my friend Eylan, an unexpected but very welcome source of joy during this yuletide period.
At the end of every year since 2010 I have, to the greatest extent possible, disappeared back into the analogue world to recharge. This has been known as Belshaw Black Ops after Paul Lewis decided that just calling it a ‘hiatus’ wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll enough.
I’ve greatly appreciated these periods away from social media, blogging, and personal email as a time when I can be ‘more myself’. Why, then, a few people have asked me, didn’t I continue this routine at the end of 2017? The simple answer is that I’ve achieved the kind of balance that means it didn’t feel necessary.
There are a number of factors here:
Switching from Twitter to social.coop half-way through the year. Given that I still get the most-shared stuff from my Twitter network filtering through to me via Nuzzel, that’s been a revelation.
Looking after myself a bit better health-wise, including deciding to follow a mostly plant-based diet, starting running again, and taking supplements such as multivitamins, high doses of Vitamin D, and L-Theanine.
Enjoying the sunnier weather where I live (it makes a difference!)
Prioritising what’s important in my life. I find reading Stoic philosophy every morning helps greatly in that regard.
Today is my first day back as an employee. I’m working for Moodle, makers of the world’s largest (open source!) learning platform. I’m working four days per week leading an innovation project for them aimed at creating a new open social media platform for educators, focused on professional development and open content. I’ll still be consulting through We Are Open Co-op.
It was my birthday just before Christmas, and I’ve now spent most of my thirties working from home. There’s benefits and drawbacks to doing so, but the main upside for me is much more control over my schedule. I’ll still have a lot of autonomy at Moodle, so I anticipate that, while I’ll be away during the summer, there won’t be a need for Belshaw Black Ops in 2018, either.