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Fir treeI’ve spent the best part of the last four days offline. It’s been eye-opening.

A family wedding on one side of the country, an unexpected hospital admission (not me), followed by an eventual 8 hour journey and anxious waiting, has meant work – and the Internet has had to take a back seat this week.

Until Sunday night, this wasn’t going to be the case. It was only when I actually managed to get online and tried to figure out the logistics of doing the work I needed to do, without access to the Internet, that I realised I had to take a step back. Actually, another wise person made me realise it. I believe the actual words were: “Take the week off. There are more important things than the Internet.” (Told you they were wise words.)

It was one of those “epiphany moments”. In a flash, I understood that so much of my life depends on being online and being “connected” that when other things get in the way (someone I love falling ill, being in hospital, being in a place with no Internet, etc etc) I can’t cope. I’m ashamed that it took someone else to remind me about the important things, to help me gain a bit of perspective.

Thing is, not only do I hate letting people down – be they clients, friends, blog readers – but I hate feeling like I’m missing out.

I’ve become so used to taking a quick pic and bunging it on Instagram if I’m doing something mildly interesting (drinking a glass of wine / eating chocolate / being drawn on by my child) that the thought of not doing that was how I imagine a smoker may feel about giving up cigarettes.

I was reading a piece in The Guardian by Stuart Heritage recently about going without TV for two days a week. He discovered he suffers from “FOMO” – Fear Of Missing Out. And it’s something I realised I suffer from too. What’s Twitter talking about? What’s my Facebook feed look like today? Who’s eating what on Instagram? I have a serious social media FOMO problem.

It’s not just that though. There’s something more.

When I finally arrived at my parents’ place in Devon (more house stuff to sort – don’t ask) the first thing I wanted to do was take a picture of the view outside the window and put it on Facebook. It was like I couldn’t properly enjoy it without sharing it with the rest of the world. That’s when something my dad said in jest rang true: “There’s nothing like the loneliness of unshared experience”. It’s a quote, apparently. But oh – what a brilliant quote it is.

Perhaps if you blog, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, this is something that strikes a chord with you too. When was the last time you were doing something really lovely, or your kid said something funny, or you were eating a tasty pudding, or just looking at a beautiful view – and you didn’t share it online?

I can tell you when mine was: today. But that’s only because I couldn’t get online.

So tell me, are experiences as good if you can’t share them?