What I did on my (disconnected) birthday

A couple of people have asked me if I had any symptoms of withdrawal, being away from the Internet for more than 24 hours. I don’t think so, although I was eager to check my email and blog stats as soon as I woke up this morning. Actually, I was rather humbled by all of the birthday wishes I received. I’m very fortunately to have such thoughtful friends and family.

And there was even a talking cat electronic birthday card that referred to that fact that I’d gone paperless. Let’s see Hallmark try and beat that!

Mostly, I spend the day yesterday deliberately doing nothing. I hung out with the family in the morning, lazed around for most of the day. I got a head start in reading the May 1940 issue of Astounding, but even there I didn’t do too much.

I had phone calls from a number of friends and family and it is always nice to hear those voices that I don’t get to hear very often.

I did clean off my desk. It was a complete and utter mess with stacks and stacks of golden age Astounding’s piled all about in disarray. The desktop is now clean and clear and the Astounding’s have been arrayed. I always feel like I can think more clearly when my desk is clean.

On said desk, I had a backlog of some 12 or so issues of New Scientist and Scientific American that I hadn’t touched. There is no way I was going to catch up reading each page of every issue, the way I normally do. So yesterday evening, I went through the contents of each magazine, making check marks on the contents page next to those articles I thought were particularly interesting. Then I started reading those articles and tossing the magazines when I finished. I’ve still got about 9 or 10 issues to go through, but there’s only about 1 or 2 articles in each that I’ve highlighted so it should go pretty quickly. This is important because it is how I keep up with science, but also because I usually get at least one good story idea from every issue–and last night was no exception.

It was a very nice day, all told, and I was glad I chose to unplug. I can see why Jack Benny wanted to remain 39. It seems just about the perfect age.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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