Practicing presence in the age of over-awareness and technology exhaustion
What is the one thing you can never get back? Time.
We know that time is a precious, precious thing. Lately, I've been reminded of that even more as I watch my baby boy grow so quickly right before my eyes. It seems like yesterday he was soooo tiny and now he's a cute little chunk!
And even as I sit here and think "don't get any bigger, I just want to enjoy every minute of you being this little" I'm tempted to check my phone and spend my time looking at fleeting things on social media, rather than being present in my real life.
I think if we are honest, it's something we all struggle with.
We are living in the technology age, and social media tries to dictate so much of the time in our day. In fact, entrepreneur.com reported that the average person will spend NINE YEARS of their lives on their phone. NINE YEARS looking down at a phone rather than looking up at the people in front of you.
And I get it, phones and social media can be so wonderful for so many things. They allow us to stay connected to loved ones and support meaningful causes that we believe in.
But at the end of the day, the things we are looking at on social media are not as important as the people and events in our real lives.
So this lent season, I'm trying to be intentional and look up from the screen and be present for the people right in front of me who I love the most. I don't want to miss my husband telling me about his day at work, or my son's little giggle while he falls asleep. Because it's all things you can't get back.
So here's some tips for you on how to take a tech detox and practice presence:
DEFINE YOUR GOAL.
My goal is to enjoy what's happening right in front of me rather than scrolling through and endless feed. Your goal may be different, maybe you want to work on feelings of discontentment that sometimes accompanies social media. Or maybe you want to help ease the anxiety you feel after spending too much time on your phone. You may also be working on improving the quality of sleep you get at night, and trying to spend less time on your phone to help achieve this.
CREATE YOUR PLAN.
I went all in and deleted all of my social media accounts except Pinterest (because, blogging). You don't need to go to this extreme, though. In fact, it's much more important that what you do is attainable. Rather than deleting accounts / apps, you could set an amount of time your phone will allow you to spend on certain apps.
BRING PEOPLE IN.
Another key to success is to tell your close friends / family your goal. Talk to the people closest to you about your goal and why you have that goal. Research as shown that people who tell others their goals are more likely to achieve them.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE.
Remember, anytime we are trying to reshape habits in our lives it's a marathon, not a sprint. You will have days you do better, and days you do a little worse. You are human and you won't get it right every time. But keep on keeping on, because the end result is so worth it.
If this strikes a cord with you, I HIGHLY recommend the book Here, Now by Kate Merrick.
If you've ever heard Kate speak, she is a breath of fresh air and sunshine. And this book talks about how she learned the importance of presence while walking through tragedy.
Now look up and go spend some time with the ones in front of you!