I am constantly surprised at my inability to be present.
But I believe it to be a result of the environment I find myself in. Let’s blame society for this one.
I’m only a little bit kidding. We are so conditioned jump from stimuli to stimuli, never fully comprehending everything going on. As we speak I am cooking for the week, writing, doing laundry and sort of watching Mythbusters and sort of chatting with Ray the Roommate. How tasty is that meal going to be? Is my writing going to be as detailed or comprehensive as I’d like? Am I actually going to fold that laundry once it finishes in the drier? Am I learning anything from Mythbusters or really contributing to the conversation with Ray? Answer to all: probably not.
For me, I think the multi-tasking I do that leads to being less than present in all the activities has been more of a result of building a wall. I’m terrified of not being the best or doing my best so I try to do as many things at once to a mediocre degree. If I perform mediocre tasks, at least I can say I didn’t really try as hard as I could have because I was juggling many tasks. A defence mechanism from really succeeding and making connections.
I think the first step is recognition, so here are the ways I’ve been able to avoid being present:
Spend excessive amounts of time on the extended cellular limb. Anyone call? Text? Email? Facebook comment, tag or message me? Like an Instagram photo? DM on IG? Re-tweet, quote? Request a connection on LinkedIn? If we aren’t being connected with directly over a cellular device, we are reading an article, watching Netflix, listening to Spotify. We are consuming all the things at all the times, no wonder the ease at which we find ourselves being pulled away from reality when absolutely everything is scary accessible.
Daydream. This is definitely more of a “me” problem and not so much a “society” problem. I tend to lack the ability to switch focus easily. Running around at work with a task in mind I often forget to acknowledge people in my rush to get to the task at hand. As an easily distracted daydreamer, I try to keep my focus on one thing at a time which often leads to missing out on helpful conversations with co-workers.
Stare off into the distance not thinking about anything in particular. Not daydreaming, but also not meditating because meditating would require one to be present.
Nap. This is how to avoid most things in life, not just being present.
Mastered the look of disinterest and supreme apathy so nobody bothers trying to converse or bring me back into this world.
I know this isn’t a productive way to live, so here it is, a commitment to try multi-tasking less, working on adapting to changing focus and being more present.