Unplanned time off

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Well, after over 20 years of spending hours a day at a computer keyboard (albeit a more ergonomic one), it’s all finally caught up to me. This week, out of nowhere. Typing, or doing most anything, has become painful and I need to give my arms a rest for a bit. How long? I have no idea, but at least another week or two.

This is at once frustrating — after all I eke out this livelihood by writing, not to mention staying connected with news and friends through this keyboard interface — and revelatory. It’s forcing me to stop, breathe, reconsider my habits and priorities. I do all the things I can think of that don’t involve my arms — long walks, baths, reading, conversations in person with friends who I never get to see often enough. Sometimes I get bored, and that’s a novel feeling and a weirdly productive one.

I’ve been rethinking my work, also, figuring out what I can pay someone else to do, what tasks to collaborate on. It turns out that to keep working but use my brain rather than my fingers, I need to scale up rather than down. You’ll be seeing some signs of that here in the next couple of weeks — most visibly, some guest posts are in the works, and I’ll be working with a talented guest editor for the next issue of my zine. It’s exciting. And it needed to happen anyway.

Another mixed blessing of this injury is being able to fulfill my wish to be less constantly connected to the Internet. I quit Facebook and try to take regular days off. I was inspired by Disconnected, a documentary about a group of college students who tried to go a month without a computer. You can watch it below the jump:

This is more than I should have just typed, but this is my one bout of text production in days (just because it’s doing me some good to give it up doesn’t mean I don’t miss it badly). Also, I’m soliciting advice: if you’ve dealt with repetitive stress injuries, I’d love to hear how you coped, how you got better, and how you kept it from happening again.

And finally: What on earth can one do without using one’s arms? I’m beginning to run out of ideas.