Multitasking: How To Live in the Moment and Create Lasting Memories
There are moments in life you'll remember forever — days you want to bottle. Sometimes it's a major event like a wedding, or the culmination of a lifelong dream. Other times it's just the simplicity of a summer picnic.
One of my most memorable times was when my boys and I visited a friend's farm in a rural part of Tennessee. It was my kind of town — the kind with a population in the hundreds and areas with no cell phone service.
The little white farmhouse we stayed in had rickety wood floors, no television, and a beautiful view of the pond. There were tractors in the old barn and my two young boys loved sitting in the driver's seat.
The friends who owned the farmhouse were a sweet older couple with a thriving tree business in Dallas. For years, they worked together growing trees on their commercial farm to provide to major retail stores and landscaping projects. They also had several kids and grandkids, and when they invited us to visit their second home, I wondered how it was all going to go down. How would they juggle it all?
When we arrived on a Friday afternoon, I was in awe of the property which looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. We were surrounded by beautiful lush grass and rolling hills cascading to a small white farmhouse with a barn. Gigantic hay balls dotted the field and as soon as I saw them I knew we'd be climbing up on top of them.
My son caught his first fish in their pond and it was a fabulous moment. We laughed, took pictures, and he told his fish story for weeks following the visit. But even that moment wasn't the one I remember most. What I remember most was how in the moment the couple was.
The home had a land line phone. Do you remember those days? However, the owners never used it. After twenty-four hours with the couple enclosed in the small space, I couldn't help notice how neither had used a telephone of any kind, for any reason. No email, no texting, no calls. And it's that moment of togetherness that I'll always treasure, even more than climbing macchu picchu, taking the train under the sea in London, or other amazing adventures. They were in the moment — Focused completely on us and nothing else.
Think about how rare and powerful that quality is in today's world. If you can remain focused and in the moment, people will remember you. Nothing is more beautiful than a real human connection and that's how relationships grow.
Be in the moment. Sometimes it takes a drastic comparison to open our eyes to what matters most.
The week prior to our visit to the farm, I spent it with my own parents who were in a constant state of communication. Every meal we had together was interrupted by business calls and the sounds of text messages. It was impossible to have a conversation because they were always on their phone and it was frustrating.
In this Facebook era, we hav all become continual communicators. How many times have you been at a kid's birthday party or some other great event and someone around you snaps a photo or checks you in and it's uploaded instantly for the world to see? In minutes, the strange guy down the street knows more about your daily activities than your own mother.
But in all that communicating, texting, and Facebooking, it's easy to miss the moment. I saw it with my parents that weekend when they missed the things their grandkids said. I saw it in a friend recently, when I took him to feed the homeless and he stared at his cell phone the entire time. He didn't mean to miss the eye contact, personal conversation, and one-on-one connection with the homeless man sitting right in front of him, but he did. He missed it completely because he was so busy texting photos of himself at the homeless shelter to his friends.
I have missed moments too. Have you? Let's make today the last day that we miss those special moments. Be fully engaged. Make eye contact with everyone you see today and listen to what they say. Set aside your phone during conversations, even if the other person is on their phone. Consider a technology detox from the phone and computer for a full 24 hours (more if you can take it).
Make a memorable family moment that your kids will never forget. Be the one who is fully present, the one who looks, listens, and really hears what people have to say.
Have you ever detoxed from technology? How do you make sure that you have a healthy balance between time with your family and the time you spend with technology?
Photo courtesy of iStock.
Tammy Kling is a life coach, advocate for the homeless, and international author of books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founder of Write it Out, an organization that helps the homeless transform by journaling goals, hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and books. Tammy loves being a mom to two awesome boys, and is also an avid trail and mountain runner, and corporate writer.
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