An uncomfortable collision awaits me. I have just returned from a week on the Isle of Wight, visiting my family and enjoying the rural and coastal charms of the place where I grew up. Away, I achieved an unprecedented degree of relaxation – so much more than I ever managed when I was running the consultancy full time. I was able to literally set aside all the many strands of my work and never let them enter my mind. No email, no twitter, no social media of any kind. I used the internet solely to check the weather and the tide tables. I wrote nothing but my diary. I read nothing but fiction – a rarity for me these days.
Now, I am back at my desk. Although still putatively on holiday for the next two weeks, I nonetheless cannot avoid reconnecting (hopefully only briefly) to the outside world. This brings an oppressive trepidation to bear upon me. My email – or rather, my imagined experience of re-encountering my email – is a tangled knot of pre-existing obligations and fresh demands, an unpleasant confrontation with the remorseless logistics of my daily life that I have managed to escape for ten scant days. This box stands in front of me – and even though I do not wish to open it, I know that I shall.
This angst is so trivial in any grand scheme you might care to suggest that it seems an indulgence to experience it, much less remark upon it. Is this discomfort merely rooted in the yearning to remain within the bubble of my holiday, or can it be that my work – which I enjoy – is a greater burden than I recognise? From inside, the pleasures of even the small achievements offset the remorseless labour, but from outside it is solely the latter that seems in focus. What is it about reconnecting that troubles me so disproportionately?