April 2, 2014

2 Places At 1 Time

"I can't be two places at the same time!"

Have you said these words before? You probably have. If you're a parent, then you definitely have. But all of us at some point have felt there were demands on us that were unreasonable, like too many people were expecting us to be too many places at once. Or the same people wanting us to accomplish more at one time than should be expected of a human being. And regardless of what Einstein proposed or some loon in a quantum physics labs says, you can only be fully present right here, right now.

So this begs the question: Why aren't we?

I know full well that I can't physically get my son to baseball practice and check my stocks at the same time. But wait a second. Yes I can! (Like I'm a guy who "checks my stocks"!)

You know that you can't finish writing that email while you're also trying to carry on that business lunch. Wrong again, my friend! Yes you can.

We've been liberated, haven't we?

We used to be slaves, but now we've been set free by our mobility. 

We've gone from the boring existence of doing one thing at a time to being multitasking machines!

I now CAN play with my kids and be at work at the same time!

I now CAN be on a date with my wife, watching the game, reading the news, and commenting on a blogpost all at once. It's amazing, isn't it?

Yes. Amazing.

It's amazing that we've allowed ourselves to stop being fully present.

It's amazing that we've actually become more enslaved than ever before, addicted to having our brains trying to focus on 14 things simultaneously; addicted to knowing what 150 acquaintances are doing at this very moment; addicted to the idea that if I don't let the world know this moment is happening, then it might not actually be happening.

Do we even realize what we're doing?

Where along the way did we stop realizing that just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD?

Will your friends remember that picture of the sunset you took ten years from now? NO.
Will your wife remember that moment when you caught that sunset together and you forgot about everything else in the universe but her, including your phone? YES. Yes she will.

(I know it's a crazy proposition; an intimate moment with your wife...without your phone.)

If we know we can't be two places at one time, why do we keep trying to pull it off?

If the greatest gift we can give our children, our spouse, our friends, or our family is to be fully present, then why don't we go to war to be fully present?

I am very aware that on the one hand this blogpost is a hypocrite preaching to the choir. But this hypocrite has come to the realization over the last days, weeks, and months that this delusional attempt at being more efficient is actually resulting in me being less of anything and everything I really want to be.

A selfless husband.

A great dad.

A true friend.

I could go on. And on.

And even if I am preaching to the choir, that means nothing if all the choir is doing is shaking their heads in agreement, but doing nothing about it. The choir can shout "Amen" and "Preach it" all day long. Who cares? They won't hear the next thing you say because they'll be too busy tweeting the last thing you said.

I'm not suggesting we throw out our smartphones or burn our tablets.
But I am suggesting that we have become slaves to them. And when you realize that you are the one who sold yourself into this slavery and that you are the one who keeps tightening the chains, you also realize that there's only one person who can say "Enough is enough!" It's you.

Stop trying to be 2 places at 1 time.

Be here. Now.

You'll be glad you did.

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