Sitting outside on the back porch with my dog, trying to work, but he keeps nuzzling me and getting me to pet him. It’s a little challenging to pet my 80lb dog, who would love to be a lap dog, and type at the same time. I said, “come on, I’m out here. Isn’t that enough?” I was hoping my proximity would satisfy without requiring actual attention. Sound familiar?
At least for me, this is reminiscent of how I live out relationships at times (I know I’m not alone in this, so go ahead and admit it). Do you ever find yourself sitting in the room with your children scrolling through your phone, or maybe even doing something productive like working or reading, but they are still wanting actual attention? You catch yourself asking, “I’m here, isn’t that enough?” Well, is it? We spend so much time of our day half-present. We are physically there and paying some attention, but not fully. We are missing so much of life by being ½ present. I say we because I do this too. I think we all do sometimes, but maybe that sometimes is creeping into most of the time. Multitasking is viewed as a great skill to have, and it can help us get stuff done (or relieve boredom during mundane tasks, like watching Netflix while doing laundry). But take a step back and check, in this multitasking, which task is getting the main focus? Is my laundry getting sloppy because this show just got intense? Did I just put in too much salt because I’m singing and dancing in the kitchen instead of looking at that recipe? Are my kids asking for me but I just say “I don’t know” because I’m scrolling through Instagram?
When I was in college, I had a great moment where a professor told us to “be here now.” Those words struck me and encouraged an intentional presentness (spell check says this is not a word, but I disagree). Be here now. Take in the moment. Notice what is going on around you and in you, even if it is not pleasant. Notice, without judgement or over analyzing, just notice. Let those words draw you back when you catch yourself splitting attention between something that warrants attention and distractions. Be here now.