Ok, don’t get me wrong, I can definitely multitask with the best of them. I am always on the lookout for ways I can accomplish more than one thing at a time. I mean, how else can I get it all done? Talk on the phone and drive, check email while on conference calls, eat while reading reports…
See, I think that is another area where we have been sold a bill of goods. Let me ask you a question. When you see a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while, and they ask you “How are you? How’s the family? What’ve you been up to?”, how quick are you to answer “Busy, we have been sooo busy!” It is almost a badge of honor we wear. It proves that we are valuable, that we have worth, that we are productive. We feel that if we are not filling every moment of our time with a “productive” activity, we are wasting time.
When your 4 year old wants to show you what he found in the yard, you don’t need to be checking your blackberry. When your husband is telling you about his day, you don’t need to be reading your facebook comments. We need to learn to be present in the present. We need to practice being mindful of what is going on around us. We are so busy racing from one thing to the next we don’t take time to see what is going on around us. We are so busy speeding to get to our destination, we don’t take time to enjoy the journey. We forget that life is made up of many destinations, and that it is not just about making it to the destination, it is about enjoying the journey, one step at a time, one mile at a time, one relationship at a time.
Believe me; I am seeing this in full-blown color right now. My youngest just graduated from high school last week. How many times have I thought, “oh, if I can just hurry up and get them all out of school, and out of the house, how much easier it will be!” Well, that time is drawing near. Have I taken time to enjoy that journey? At times, I have. When we were homeschooling, I like to think I took lots of time to spend with my children, reading books, talking about real-life situations, taking them to new places. After they went to public school and I returned to work full-time, I think it became more difficult to enjoy the journey. I became more focused on the tasks at hand- “did you pass your Algebra test?” and “is your room clean?” or “did you take out the trash?” We didn’t take time to enjoy that new phase of their lives; we were too busy just trying to get the diploma!
I want to be sure that as my family moves into a new phase of our lives, a family with all adult children, that we aren’t so busy trying to cross things off our to-do list that we forget to enjoy this part of the journey. It will have some hills to climb, and maybe some mountains, and I am sure a storm or two will surface somewhere along the way. And while those may be difficult, there is something to be learned, something to be gained, by being in THAT moment.
At whatever phase you are in life, let me encourage you to start paying attention to the people and environment surrounding you. When you pour that first cup of coffee in the morning, instead of racing around gulping it down, or reading the news online, take a moment to really enjoy those first sips, smell it, feel its warmth flowing down your throat. When you are in the shower, instead of your mind racing thru all the things you need to do before leaving the house, FEEL the water hitting the top of your head, leaving you with that fresh, clean feeling. Enjoy these simple pleasures as you hurry through your day, it will help you be more grounded and connected. Do we have to give up multitasking? I mean, how will I ever get it all done? You know what? We won’t ever get it all done. We just have to decide that what we did was enough, and the world doesn’t stop turning and the sky didn’t fall on our heads. Be present in the moment!