I believe our lives are defined by the mantra that plays in our heads. Here’s mine: I don’t have time. If I just had more time. Why is there never enough time?
I know, I know. It’s a matter of priority and focus. But — and you women know what I’m talking about — somehow it’s ALL priority. My children, my husband, my parents, my family, and extended family, and church, and clients, and causes, and on, and on. There are a thousand details to be managed and executed, and if you “just let that one go,” chances are good there will be a great big hole in its place. (Case in point: DINNER. If it’s not a priority, there isn’t any.)
And thus I rant. Until this week. When I Took Time.
I didn’t mean to. I joined a group of fabulous women for a little holiday gathering at my friend Pam’s house. And I packed a bag, so as not to face a late night 30-minute drive across town.
The evening was lovely in every way. And when all the Fabulous Ladies (I am inspired by every one!) had left for home, my hostess and I settled in front of her warm fire, faces washed and PJs on, and spent two hours wandering aimlessly through each other’s lives.
There was no television to watch. There were no emails to check, no texts to respond to. (And there was no multi-tasking, unless you count “throw-log-on-fire-while-having-meaningful-conversation-with-dear-friend.”) Instead, we sat there, person to person, face to face, and talked—uninterrupted—for a glorious, soulful, peaceful two hours.
The next morning, I woke up renewed. By taking the time to participate in real human conversation, by talking, and listening, and focusing on an exchange of perspectives for which there was absolutely no agenda and for which there would be no “completed” checkmark, I relocated a part of me that had become lost amid a million swirling daily details.
It makes me think about the insatiable appetite of this digital world we live in. How ironic that digital technology gives us the ability to make endless connections, and in our quest to make the most of each of them, we are forgetting what it means to really connect.
And so I vow: Rather than obsessing over my inability to out-manage my demand-filled life, I will, instead, focus on the human being RIGHT THERE who is trying to simply have a conversation with me. And for that moment, I will let the rest go.
This post first appeared on R/blog in December 2010. I hope you don’t mind that I repeated it here. It gave me a chance to step away from the computer and enjoy my 2011 fireside chat with Pam.