I am a suck-the-life-out-of-my-day kind of woman. From the moment I get up in the morning until the moment my head hits the pillow I am on the go. I really do not know how to slow down. Some might think that is a bad thing and say I am relentless while others might think of it as being tenacious. Regardless of what others think, we all get to decide each day how we are going to approach our day.
“Each day, we make choices that influence the character of our experiences, and our decisions determine whether our paths are rousing or tedious, breathtaking or tiresome.”
I want my life to be rousing and breathtaking. I want to learn, grow, and be challenged. If you are bored you are not trying hard enough. How is it even possible to be bored today? There are endless ways to entertain ourselves, even if they are tedious and brain numbing. Sure, I have my days where the wires in my brain do not connect for some reason and all I want to do is veg out on some bad game apps on my iPhone. Candy Crush anyone? That, however, is the exception rather than the norm.
So, what in life rouses you? What takes your breath away? New ideas? Compassion? Empathy? What makes you in awe of the world? Remember, we can choose to make decisions in our lives that invigorate, inspire, and challenge us to look at life in new ways. We can do that every day. It’s our choice.
Yesterday was Father’s Day, and it was not until a friend ask to switch our brunch plans to later in the day that I remembered what day it was. Often Mother’s Day and Father’s Day tend to fly by without much thought. My dad has been gone for 15 years as of this year, and it gets harder and harder to think about what my life would be life if he were here.
Recently we were talking about fishing at work. A few co-workers are fishing fans, and I was remembering a time when we stayed at a lake near our house in Indiana. I believe the cottage was owned by a friend of my grandma’s and every once in a while we got to go and stay with her, which meant playing in the lake and fishing. Something tells me what felt like a big lake at the time would probably look a lot like a pond to me now, but it always felt special and kind of a big deal to me.
I remember one weekend we visited, on the Saturday morning for some reason I slept really late, when I went outside to see what everyone was up to, I found my sister and brother were out fishing with my dad (this photo shows me standing on the pier, my brother is next to me, then my sister, then my dad). For as long as they had been out fishing, no one had caught a single fish. I asked my dad if I could use the bamboo fishing rod, that for some reason I thought was so special. My sister and brother were using real fishing rods. I did not like putting the bait on the end, so I left that up to my dad, and I doubt I even put the line in, but what I did do (which is completely against my nature) was sit and hold that bamboo rod, and eventually I caught a fish, and then another and another. My brother and sister eventually got bored, and most likely annoyed that I was having such luck. They went inside or off somewhere else to play.
It was just me and my dad and my happy success. I do not remember if we kept the fish and had them for dinner or if we put them back. What I remember was that I thought there was something special with that bamboo fishing rod, and that I got to spend some time fishing with my dad.
You can see all the fish I caught in this photo. I wish the photographer had not cut me out of the photo. I would love to see the look on my face showing my bounty. I know I have been fishing a few more times since then, probably while camping, maybe even with my dad, but that Saturday morning was the one I will never forget. He was happy, relaxed, and content to just sit on the side of the dock with his feet in the water, and watch us have fun with the process. Life was not usually that good to him (or so he thought) and so this year, Dad, I hope whatever you are doing, you are happy, relaxed and content. Wish we could go fishing again.
Lately I have been thinking about the idea of asking another person for their full attention. How many times do you go into someone’s office and they do not give you their undivided attention? They might for a few minutes and then maybe they get distracted by their phone or computer and you wonder, is my meeting important to them? On the flip side, I also wonder if I give everyone my full and undivided attention? Are we all in the end just the same? Someone does not give us their attention and we in turn do that to someone else?
What would it look like if we were direct and transparent with everyone about our attention? What if we confronted others when we were not getting what we deserved? What would that look like? Would it mean that we actually called someone out when they stopped focusing on the conversation, tuned out, or got distracted? I am actually getting excited thinking about it. I would love if someone did that to me and held me accountable for when I was getting distracted. In turn I hope I would do that for others that do it to me.
Are our phones and computers, the emails, texts, and whatever other notifications really more important than the person that sits right in front of us? Sometimes they are. Sometimes emergencies happen or are boss alerts us to an urgent need, but many times we get bored, or clearly are easily distracted. I am not exempt from this — I need to focus on where my attention is just the same. Chris and I were just talking about it last night. There are times where I am doing too many things at once and my nature to multi-task means I might miss things along the way. However, in the same conversation we discussed that he had not given the needs of the conversation his clear attention. What he was thinking might not have been what he actually shared aloud and due to the lack of information there were key details that I needed that never got shared.
Our full attention is important in so many interactions. At the deepest level it shows that we care, and that the other person matters. I would say I do give a lot of my life my full attention, but I can see some clear areas that I could work on. Try it. See where you are not giving your full attention. Put your phone down, quit texting, and leave the emails. Be present for the other person, they deserve it.
I admit it, I am coming clean. I have recently become addicted to the plethora of online quizzes asking what tarot card would you be, what city are you meant to live in, or are you a narcissist?
Buzzfeed even has ones like: “What Kind of Bitch Are You?” or “What Does Your Engagement Ring Say About You?” The list is endless. Why do we care? Why do we click and spend 5-10 minutes to find out our fate? It is almost like we want a free visit to an astrologer, and if the results of the quiz are exemplary to who we think we are, then we might try another, and if they slander us we move on to other things. What is it about the online voyeuristic habits that make us even stop and take the quiz? I admit I even coerce Chris to take one or two here or there to compare to my results. Why, oh why do we even care?
Is it that we want validation? We want to know what someone else thinks of our future destiny? We do not really believe in the answer, but like being at the state fair we are willing to give the palm reader a small amount to read our hands and see what the future might behold for us. These quizzes have to be filled with bullshit algorithms. For example, one quiz (I cannot remember the topic) that I had Chris fill out, gave us the same result, yet it was male and female specific. Definitely something wrong with the results of that (all I remember is that we both got Zelda – go figure).
So is it a fad? Why have we become so addicted, and why do we even care? My Facebook feed is often full of friends who seem to fill their days with quizzes that they share with others (no judgement from me). Are we bored? Do they tell us something about ourselves that we do not know? What is it that has made us so addicted?