To Be in the Moment

An article written five years ago observed that being in the moment has been made obsolete by technology. Ironic, but true. Our laptops, smart phones, and game consoles were designed to connect us, and make us live in the present. And yes, they do — but it has also taken our attention away from the people around us and our natural environment. You only need to look at how people use their mobile phones while dining with others or watching movies in cinemas. What about the tourists who were too busy with their cameras to enjoy the scenery or grandeur of historical monuments? I’m one of them!

Last week my students had to write an essay about technology. One of them noted that there is so much technology in their household — from Smartbooks to iTouch, Blackberries to Wii — that there is hardly any conversation within the family even when everyone is at home. This struck a chord in me, because at the end of the day you will find my husband and I in front of our respective laptops while our 3-year old is either watching a cartoon movie or playing with his portable video game. So much for spending QT with our son.

For some reason, as soon as it’s 8:30 pm James would ask me to sit with him or cuddle on my lap. Sometimes Brian and I would argue on who has to entertain or distract him so the other can finish “working.” As stressed as I am with the yearbook deadline, I found that walking away from the laptop to watch Curious George while he gives a running commentary, “Look, a shark!” lets my brain rest and rejuvenates my spirit.

The lesson I learned is not to give lip service to the concept of “quality time.” If I’m going to be around my child and he wants my attention, I will savor that moment.

Once upon a time, around ten to twenty years ago, people believed that it was essential to be in the moment. People actually thought that the closer your lived in the present the more in touch with your senses you were. They truly believed that life was fleeting and therefore to experience life at it’s fullest it was necessary to experience all the sensory stimuli taking place around you.


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