My days are just like yours, full of constant distractions and real time notifications. My phone sits less than an arm’s length away from me and it’s almost as if I have a nervous twitch to check it every couple of minutes. I toggle between email accounts, social media platforms, and texting…all while I’m watching my favorite show or even – gasp – socializing in real life. If you were to ask me, though, what I thought I might be missing if I just tossed my phone in my bag or unplugged my Internet connection, I’m not sure I could give you an astounding or groundbreaking response. I just fear that I might miss…something.
After once again tossing and turning at night all while cursing my brain to please-just-be-quiet-for-15-minutes-oh-my-GOD, I decided it was time to make a change. That change is called being present. Not just physically present, but mentally present in each thing I do. It’s one thing to be physically present and physically aware. But, it’s not enough.
I’m sure each and every one of us is guilty of this in some capacity. (Please tell me I’m not alone.) We have to rewind a show because we missed a few minutes while scrolling through Facebook, or we have to ask someone to repeat something…maybe even twice. I can guarantee most of you have had a few nights where your brain was focused on tomorrow’s activities instead of just trying to fall asleep. It’s ok to be guilty, so long as you’re aware and willing to dial back a bit.
Now how’s this for ridiculous timing? As I was thinking this post through, and also partially through writing it, my sister calls me into her room to have me listen to the lyrics to a song. (We both get very into song lyrics.) She said the lyrics reminded her of a friend of hers. I listened to the first few lines and got distracted immediately. I spotted expensive looking markers in her room and at that time, I needed to know everything about them. (Yes, I do have ADOS. Attention Deficit Oh Shiny!) She’s been looking for these markers for awhile, so I didn’t fixate on a random item. Mid-way through my interrogation of her, she asked if I had even been listening to what she called me in for. Shocking: I hadn’t. I started laughing to myself knowing that this was the post I was working on and paid attention on the second run through.
Hopefully now that I’m more aware on my lack of presence at times, I can focus on not just being there, but being present. Even when I see something shiny, like new markers.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I took all social media off my phone, and I still find myself scrolling through nothingness just to have something to do. However, my fiance and I have gone to phoneless meals, and we go totally screen free two hours before bed on weeknights. We are sleeping better, communicating more, having more fun, and being more productive. We are both trying to be more present, but we still have a long way to go.
I love this! It sounds like you and your fiance are doing a great job, Krystal. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you take a minute to just be. I like the idea of phoneless meals and staying screen free for two hours before bed – I may have to try those two things.