I read that in a book recently and it smacked me like a sheet of cold water across my face. I was struck by the reality that with my multitasking bad habits, my obsession with documenting everything with photos and videos, my propensity to get caught up with work and to-do lists and whatever’s three steps ahead . . .”living in the moment” has completely escaped me.
Here’s what I’d add to that line in the book: Happiness just happened . . . and you missed it. And guess what? It’s your fault.
After all, it’s my time, it’s my life and it’s my grubby little fingers that type it all in to my calendar, that write it all down on scraps of papers with check boxes and run-on lists . . . the same fingers that scroll through my phone at every free second like I’ve lost the winning Lotto numbers and they’re somewhere in my phone.
At the end of the day, I’m usually the one that creates the totally over-planned, over-committed chaos that has become my day-to-day existence. The choices I make to be behind the camera versus in the action, to juggle a conference call in the few precious moments I’m totally alone with my baby, to check email during my toddler’s swim lesson– they’re all robing minutes away from each experience. And I’m letting them. But not any more.
While I haven’t completely finished it (guess who’s “too busy”?), this book (The Happiest Mom) has me thinking of all the ways I need to change my approach to life. Starting with . . .
- When I feed my baby, that’s all I’m doing. You don’t want to know how many times I did that juggling my crackberry, texting, tweeting, wondering if that last tweet made me loose followers (telling myself how lame that sounds, even if it’s in my own head), worrying if I finished that email. Wait. Let me look at my phone and check. ENOUGH. Just feed the baby. Me and him. That’s it.
- Giving my toddler Momma time. Uninterrupted. TV off, phone away, real time. At the park, on our couch, anywhere. I’m talking eye contact, real conversations (you know, of the 2-year-old kind), just me and him. It’s sad to think about how many conversations we have with our kids that all revolve around “Sure” and “Uh huh” and if they’re lucky, an occasional “Ohhh…really??” all the while texting, reading, web surfing, watching reality TV, wondering if it’s too early for a cocktail, etc., etc.
- Getting in the action instead of always having my face behind a camera or video recorder. I might have kick-ass pictures, but I’m not in any of them. And I’m not fully experiencing what’s happening when I’m too busy staging shots like I’m running a red carpet.
- Giving my husband my phone when we sit down to eat, so he can hold it hostage. I don’t want to be that couple . . . huddled around their phones reading Twitter, checking into Foursquare, playing video games. Let’s take it back circa 1970s where we actually had to talk to each other. Or, stare at each other. Anything but ignoring each other for our phones. This would also be a good time to have heart-to-heart with my 2 year old, so he’ll stop crashing his crayons together like the restaurant is his personal rally race.
- Banning talking about my clients or my work when I’m not actually working.
- Forgetting about everything else when I walk into the gym, besides how awesome it feels to be out of my house and at the gym.
- Not worrying about things that will have no bearing on my life five years from now. If no one will get hurt and/or I won’t care about it five years from now . . . it’s not worth distracting from the hundreds of things I could be doing with that time instead (see above).
I could go on for days.
If you took a good, honest, look at the things that prevent you from really soaking in the moments as they happen– what would you change?