Being forced to be offline for so long, with only the occasional dialup access, I've learned a few things.

1. No matter how much things change, not much really changes. Sure, over the past few weeks, there have been a ton of announcements about new products, etc. from the search engines, but for those of us in the SEO world, what has really changed? Nothing, really. Why then is it necessary to follow every single little thing that happens on a minute by minute basis? Answer: It is not necessary at all.

2. Most people still don't get it. The average Joe has no clue what we do.

Most of my family and friends still think I've just been playing on the Net all these years, and don't have a "real" job. So, being offline is no big deal. After all, I wasn't really working when I was online (they believe), so being offline makes no difference.

Then, there's those few people who got that I was actually making a living online, and now think that I need to apply for unemployment since I'm offline. They don't get that my sites continue to make money with or without me. Sure, I'd like to be able to be more in control of how much they make, by being on top of it all, but being offline doesn't cut off the flow completely. They don't get that.

3. I need to find a nice balance in my life. For the past few weeks, I've been mostly retired, spending lots of time watching the grass grow and the donkeys graze. I've missed my time on the Net, but I've also enjoyed having some real free time. When I get access again (supposedly on October 12th), I need to spend less time on the Net than I used to, and more time in semi-retirement. That is, after all, part of my goal in moving out here to the boonies. I think this time that I've been forced to live without the Net has helped to ease me into that transition.

Have you ever been forced to be offline for an extended period of time? What lessons did you learn from it?