If you're older than 35, I'm sure when you were in elementary school, middle and maybe even high school, your teacher would call out each kid in the class name and you would simply answer.. present. This was an indication that you were present physically and for most of us, mentally as well. You were expected to be in your seat physically and mentally prepared for class. I recently watched a video about Millennials and they spoke of how they are as a group of people, how they are addicted to their phones, likes on Instagram and Facebook, when they are with their friends, in school, at restaurants, it's hard to look away from their smartphones enough to be present. Well, I thought to myself, heck, I think I'm a Millennial. True I don't have all the other symptoms, but this being present thing, I'm pretty sure I've got that. I'm not sure when it happened or how long I've had it, but it's here. Gone are the days of carrying on a conversation in the car, at the dinner table, in the grocery line. There once was a time when my beeper would go off and I would look for a phone booth, now, my eyes are fixated to my phone whether I'm checking likes on IG or checking my business FB page, text from random people, or just looking for no reason at the phone. I've checked out in grocery stores while talking on the phone, only to shh the cashier and silently apologize that I was on the phone (not present, and I'm sure no one was dying on the other end) I've started to feel more responsibility to the person on the phone than the to one right in front of me. I've been in meetings, conferences, talking to my kids, while talking and looking on my phone and even started to feel anxious when it's not near me. What would we do without our phones has been the start of many conversations as we say that to one another then immediately focus our attention on the old celly!
Well today I just want to practice being present. Present for the random conversations in line at the store, present for talking with kids, present for myself without scrolling through every push known to mankind that somehow has controlled how I communicate. I'm not saying that we should all bury our phones in a time capsule, break out the Sunday dinner and live like we were on the Waltons (one of my favorite shows by the way), but I can say if I can steal the phrase from the election and "Make America Great" again it would include being present in our OWN lives again. Some people are masters at being present, for me I try but my mind is usually 100 miles away doing 500 different things, kinda like a bag of marbles. For those of us that need a little reminder, here are a couple of ways to be more present.
Call a friend
Sit on your front porch and take a deep breathe
Look someone in the eye when they speak to you
Unplug every now and then (more often than not)
Eat dinner together and talk don't text
Charge your phones away from your room