Have you ever just switched off? You know completely shut down. I know it sounds strange but for me it’s a rather remarkable feat as I’m notorious for never being able to completely let go.

Ali on holidays… Cartoon: Nicholson

I’m always the one getting a crooked fringe from the hairdresser as I’m too impatient to sit still and like a lot of parents, am forever multitasking onto the next meeting/meal/load of washing etc etc etc.

Add to that I’m a complete newshound who absolutely LOVES the drama and intrigue of the world around me and am forever looking for the next and the next and the next thing. This must be a challenge to work alongside of and I’d imagine no scratch that I’ve been told, incredibly trying to live with.

In fact it’s a running joke between the other half and I that whenever we do manage a holiday as soon as we check in I’m already sussing out the grounds, the various amenities and what time the tide times are so I can balance a session of aqua aerobics, rock pool exploring and a walk to the local shop.

The irony has not been lost that these rare holiday events are supposed to be the exact place to slow down and reenergise. So I’ve tried it all.

Meditation, yoga, long distance swimming, music and even painting (both canvas and house), but alas I’m still found wanting in the shut-down department.

So this Christmas break I decided to do the complete opposite.

We chose to move house, finish a reno, plan a wedding and still get to the various family Christmas engagements with kidlings in tow and weirdly, the thing I’ve been seeking for all these years just snuck up on me.

As part of the move, all television connection was severed, and frankly with my technical skills it’s likely to stay that way for a long time to come.

I also didn’t have time to read a newspaper (sorry Ed.) and our trendy trannie is somewhere in a box, somewhere, out there.

A lost charger early in the piece also meant the phone was only used for calls and texts so even the sneaky email and twitter feeds were off limits.

The first couple of days I must admit I felt a little lost and found myself actually asking people `what’s news? What’s going on?’, but pretty soon I weirdly started letting go and falling into (at the risk of sounding like a 90s rock star) the “Moment”.

It was kind of great.

I discovered I was giving undivided attention to those around me and remaining blissfully unaware of the latest tragedy that led the news that night.

In fact when we arrived back into the transmission zone after a trip down to the mighty Mt Gambier and switched over in the car from CDs to radio, the first thing we heard was a news update led by a shooting, the awful death of a 7 year old girl on a quad bike and the fallout from a pack rape in India.

Frankly, what’s to miss?

Perhaps I’ve been living a rather strange life where I’ve fed almost parasitically on the lives and (mis)fortunes of others as presented to me by the various news editors around the world.

Perhaps I’ve been cheating my loved ones of my undivided consideration.

Perhaps I’ve just been swindling myself out of that wonderful silence and stillness.

I used to work alongside radio and media legend Grant Cameron and marveled when he told me he would get up at 3 something in the morning just so he could meditate and find some inner zen before heading out the door to get on brekkie radio by 6.

I love Grant and there’s not a bloke I respect more and he’s one of the best in the business, but when it came to this, I used to think he was bonkers.

Turns out, I needed my own silence to truly hear his words.

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    • iansand says:

      06:14am | 07/01/13

      It is something I always notice when I travel overseas.  After 3 or 4 weeks you get home, and (in spite of the agitation caused by the mythical news cycle) nothing significant has happened.

    • Katie says:

      08:25am | 07/01/13

      I think we’re all a little over-newed these days. While it’s wonderful to be able to find news from all different sources, I’ve often found myself checking online multiple times a day to see ‘if anything has changed’. Do I really need to? No, because it’s unlikely anything will have and, if it has, someone will probably tell me.

      PS: I think your article may be lacking quite a few commas, it was quite difficult to read in places.

    • Rowdy says:

      12:37pm | 07/01/13

      ......sorry, you were saying???

      And this…”....and our trendy trannie is somewhere in a box, somewhere, out there”

      ....certainly doesn’t conjure the same image today as it did circa 1960’s/early 70’s.


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