Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
No Down Time


I missed the Israeli 6 Day War years ago. It happened during a 2 week family vacation on the Outer Banks. We always brought enough groceries with us to feed an army, so it was sometime during the second week before I went to the grocery store and saw the headlines.

In those days, we didn't even have a phone, let alone a TV, at the beach. We crowded into oceanfront homes with friends and enjoyed sun, surf fishing, and swimming.

The kids were young enough to enjoy each other's company and we adults sat around the dining table talking for hours and then read books into the wee hours.

As the years went by, we could afford grander homes with endless amenities. Features such as how many TVs, connected to cable, and VCRs a home had were in every ad. And there were phones now.


Where once we left behind the telephone number of the renting Realtor who would actually drive to the beach house in case of an emergency, now we had access to the world at large again, and the world had access to us.

The kids began to go off to jet ski, the women to shop, the men to golf. Everyone had a great time, but it was not the same.


What we had years ago was down time. For 2 weeks we were away from everything, everyone not only the intrusions of our daily lives 'back home,' but the stresses of the world at large. It was wonderful, it was renewing. It was a real vacation. It was down time.

Today, my cell phone and tiny laptop go with me everywhere, even on vacation. In one sense, they are Godsends. I can talk with my mother every day, my office can reach me while I'm on the Interstate, I can record my travel expenses right into Quicken while I'm on the road.

Life is very different than it was when I missed that 6 Day War. There are days when I think I'd be better off if I didn't hear hourly updates on how much the stock market dipped.


I wonder if part of the reason for today's stress epidemic is that we are never inaccessible, that we have no down time anymore.

This year I'm looking at a fairly remote location for a family vacation. I think it is time for the next generation of kids to fish and play till they are ready to fall asleep. It's time for me to read a few novels and forget about work. And my cell phone has an off button. I'll use it. Down time didn't leave me, I left it. I can bring it back.


Down time didn't leave me, I left it. I can bring it back.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.