Obvious State

My Account


Seine, Paris Seine, Paris Seine, Paris Seine, Paris Seine, Paris Seine, Paris On my way home from work yesterday, I walked through NYC's Bryant Park. I love Bryant Park. It's green, it's calming, there's a charming carousel and a babbling fountain - you know, things that are supposed to relax us. But yesterday, a majority of the people were anything but relaxed. Many were tapping away on their phones or otherwise engaged with a digital device. They were not only seemingly oblivious to the charms of the park, but in most cases to the people with whom they sat. My jaunt through the park was brief, but I continued to think about the implications of being plugged in for the majority of one's waking hours. I started to assess my own habits, and anyone who knows me will confirm that if I'm awake, I'm not too far from my computer. The exception to this is when I'm in Paris. When I'm abroad, I maintain a US work schedule. I work from about 4pm - midnight Paris time, which is 10am-6pm NYC time. I spend all day (while the US is sleeping) away from my computer, taking photos, lounging (for real!) and generally enjoying the slower pace. My clients in the US are sleeping, my friends are sleeping, my family is sleeping, and I have absolutely no reason to be near my computer. At 4pm (10am ET), I head back to our apartment and start working. By that time in Paris, I am fairly tired, have had a full day, and am happy to sit down and do some work. In many cases it's an ideal schedule. No pressure lounging all day, engaged with work and friends all night. What I can't figure out is why here in the US, I don't seem to have any time to lounge. It's part self-imposed, part unwillingness to disconnect, and part blurry borders between work and life. It's crazy to me that I have to skip time zones to unwind.


Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Susan

I feel the same…I am only able to truly disconnect when I am away from home. Whether I'm abroad or just away…

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Avid Reader

I have a hard time unwinding at home too. We feel such a responsibility to be available and connected 100% of the time in our culture.

p.s. I love both Paris and Bryant Park, so thanks for the happy reminders of days spent lounging in those places.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Lindsey

I think you just pitched to yourself one of many reasons to move to France definitively. Although I warn you, once you make Paris your permanent home, you fall into similar rhythms. On that note, best to stay a visitor :)

I hear you on the not being able to unwind bit however I feel it here in Paris and when I go to Philly to visit family, I don't feel I need the computer as much.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Jennifer

I have such a hard time unplugging too. Even when I get away for a weekend without internet I feel guilty for not immediately responding to emails and have to force myself not to check my phone. As grateful as I am to be self-employed and work from home, I do sometimes get jealous of people who can leave the office and know the work day is done. I rarely let my brain shut off work mode even when I finally shut my laptop.

Your Paris schedule does sound great! I work best in the afternoon and evening anyway.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by lindsey

your blog helps me to escape a little each day!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Wahzat Gayle

yeah it is crazy

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by The Armchair Parisian

Isn't that the truth. The computer is a big part of my work life and I do whatever I can to get away from it as often as possible. I don't Twitter, I don't Facebook (I know, I must be the only one left under the age of 80 who doesn't). I got an iPhone for my BDay in January and find that I check my email at random times when I am away from my home computer and am not at all sure I like that! A new habit to break…

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nichole


I usually sleep from around midnight -7am Paris time.

It really is my ideal schedule. ;)

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Everton Terrace

I am wondering when you sleep in Paris? I try to unplug on the weekends and I'm finding it helpful to actually turn my phone off around 5 p.m. My husband has his on so if there is an actual emergency, they will call him, otherwise, I have found, it can wait.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Sion @ paris (im)perfect

It's funny, because once you move to Paris, it becomes home and it's harder to unwind. I'm in New York right now – visiting – and have just now sat down to the computer at 4 PM – and will step away from it again soon. But back home in Paris, I'm on the computer all the time! The grass is always greener… :) Now, let's go lounge.

Leave a comment

Join our mailing list for news and offers