I wasn’t able to focus on the things that mattered most.
I’ve been trying to stay off my phone lately, social media and the like. My reasoning is largely because I find myself unable to focus on certain tasks as long as I’d like. I also wasn’t making time for some of the more time-consuming interests I’ve collected (reading, gardening, herbalism, etc.) I don’t think I was overly consumed by social media or anything (I post only intermittently at best), but I did often find myself mindlessly scrolling when I had a few minutes of down-time. Down-time with three kids?! Ok so…it was likely due to escapism that any true “free time”. We all need a break at times, and it’s all too easy to just grab the nearest device and tune out.
We all need a break at times, and it’s all too easy to just grab the nearest device and tune out.
So, cut to the past week where I deleted all my social media apps and have occasionally caught myself scrolling through the app store in my “idle” time. Maybe I was slightly more addicted to the scrolling than I thought. One thing I’ve noticed so far (it’s only been a week, we’re not moving mountains yet) is that I have more time to think. More often than not, this amounts to thinking about all the things I want to do…but I’ve also found myself applying some of my newfound reading and learning to my daily life. This has been slightly more productive than my previous strategy of saying, “Hm, that sounds worth doing.” and then never getting to it.
I’ve also had more time to watch what’s going on around me. Whether it’s enjoying the gorgeous spring day we had yesterday or spending today indoors with our rambunctious kids and watching their various antics. Both days were fairly task-filled (some much needed pruning and planting yesterday, even more necessary meal-prep and cooking today), but the kids were sometimes helping or off doing their own thing (with various needs of refereeing).
Throughout the day there were moments where I wish I had my phone in hand to capture something, but I didn’t. It was completely bittersweet. The few seconds the 2-year-old’s eyes lit up when he remembered the punch line of a joke (and then recited it non-stop for the next 20 minutes), the 4-year-old when she grabbed my ear buds and tucked the end into her back pocket and danced around as if listening to music, the 6-year-old when she came in from outside flushed with the chill wind, what seemed like thousands of footwear changes the day before (girls man, was I seriously like that?!)…the moments just kept hitting me. In between cutting onions, making quiches and attempting not to skewer myself with thorns as we pulled snarls of overgrown shrubs into a pile, these snapshots just kept piling up.
Life is just busy.
I’ve been conscious (even before this recent bought of phone-free living) that we haven’t been capturing as many moments in photos and videos. Life is just busy. But we also weren’t enjoying those moments very thoroughly either. We often let these moments slip by without pausing to smile or just bask in the hilarity of it all. So many moments for connection and family building just fly by. Part of this is just the nature of raising kids, you can’t make time for it all. But it’s nice being a bit more conscious in enjoying these times while the kids are still small and still want to hang out with us (most of the time).
While I did yearn to memorialize these seconds, minutes, hours against the vague and hazy memories they will soon become…I also lived those moments more intensely. I gave myself space to just be.
So, it’s a bittersweet end to a productive and exhausting weekend. We don’t have much to show for it yet, but we firmly believe we’re playing the long game. These miniscule moments in life, the small steps we take at rewilding our garden…these are the things that will pay off big someday. That’s the intention, anyway. Check back in about 15 years…