Going Offline

Last year, I posted about my plan for going offline to explore new things in 2018. In hindsight, I’m not sure how much of this goal was about learning something new, and how much was about stepping away from the computer. Regardless, I set three goals:

  • A colored pencil art class
  • A pottery class
  • Finally following up on my 11-year-old plan to take half a day off and see one movie a month.

The Results

In the end, I stepped out one day (ok, usually one half-day) each week to do something different. But that was a big step for me! Here’s how it went.

  • Colored pencil: I always thought that I wasn’t good at art. Turns out that I was right. I mean, the fact that we can identify my avocado as an avocado means that I made huge strides in that class thanks to the hands-on attention of my instructor. However, I was way out of my league. There were people in the class who were creating photorealistic drawings of their grandchildren, or celebrities. I struggled with a vegetable (or is it a fruit?).
  • Pottery: Pottery was fascinating. It’s really easy to make a shape with clay and a wheel. However, it’s insanely difficult to make the shape that you actually intend to make. I took the class three times. I have some weirdly deformed bowls. (We prefer to call that shape “organic” rather than deformed.) I have some decently-shaped items with defective glazing. I have small pots with holes in the bottom. Nonetheless, I liked it and will go back again later this spring.
  • Climbing: In October, while on a business trip, I took an intro to climbing class at Castle Climbing Centre in London. If you find yourself in London and have any interest in climbing, you have to go there. I mean, it’s a converted castle. That alone makes it worth the visit. I was appropriately terrified of top-roping, but it turns out that I adore bouldering. I wish there was someplace close to home that had good bouldering walls and patient instructors. I’d be all over that.
  • Crochet: Of course, anyone who spends any time with me knows that I crochet. A lot. It keeps my hands busy and keeps me off the internet at night. This year, I took a stab at sweaters. The photo to my right was my third attempt, a self-made variation on the My Favorite Crochet Pullover pattern from KT and the Squid. I had to do some customizing after realizing the obvious: the cowl neck was much too warm for California. But I’ve done some nice projects this year, including the Jazzy Barista shawl (pictured above) with amazing Dewy DK yarn from Expression Fiber Arts. Without a doubt, it’s the nicest yarn I’ve ever used.
  • Movies: Eh, still 0 for 12 on that one.

I think overall, it was a successful year. The time I spent going offline really helped to clear my head and make me more productive at work. I love learning new things, so it was really an ideal scenario. I haven’t kept up with it as much as I’d like this year, but I’m taking this opportunity to recommit to the idea.

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