After finishing my final day of work at DW in mid-June, ahead of my impending return to Australia, these last two weeks of my life have been a real seachange. To start with: it’s the first time I’ve stopped working as a journalist for nearly 10 years. It’s also the first time I’ve taken a self-imposed Twitter break for over five years.
In fact, since stopping work, I’ve even avoided watching the evening news. After all, there’s been no need to appear informed at the next day’s morning meeting, so why bother to put yourself through the non-stop happiness of a typical German evening news program?
When I started the process, I was just as stressed as before – but slowly, as the days got sunnier and my body realised that I wasn’t going to be heading back to work, the pent up nervousness of being an online journalist slowly dissipated.
It’s not that I have escaped the stories of the last few weeks either. I heard about terror attacks in Tunisia, Greece defaulting on payments, Germany’s women playing at the World Cup and even the secret burial of Andreas Lubitz (yes… that Germanwings pilot!). I didn’t need to follow social media’s endless musings on these stories. I heard about them via word-of-mouth, saw headlines on newspaper stands or on the radio. Just like in the good old days.
In this time off, I want to read more books again, get fitter and stronger for cricket, become more conscious of what is going on around me and enjoy the sun and nature. Travel would be nice, but is not essential. Whether this time will freshen me up again to do more journalism in the future or something completely different, only time will tell.
It all reminds me a bit of a quote I heard a while back from former US President Thomas Jefferson: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
I suppose if Jefferson was alive today he would probably replace the word “newspapers” with “the internet”. One thing is for sure, he’d have written the comment with an elaborate fountain pen… not on an online blog. And he may just have a point.