About twenty minutes had passed and there was an abrupt silence so loud in the air I nearly had to cover my ears. Up until that moment there had been animated banter and passion filling the room around me, which had eventually turned into white noise in the background. The deafening silence broke and the man says to me, “Now how’s that for a statistic?” I paused to quickly think of something even remotely sensible to respond back with. I replied with something generic in agreement, something safe like “yeah, that’s amazing.”
How did I just miss that entire rant? He really had my attention at the beginning and I was eager to learn all about the topic of conversation, but somewhere in the midst of a one sided conversation my attention wandered and I became lost. I found myself buried in the illuminated screen at my finger tips. It was almost an involuntary response to pick up my phone and begin scrolling. Was I actually processing whatever insignificant information my eyes were quickly skimming over? Was any of it more important than the conversation I should have been engaged in right in front of my face? Definitely not.
I snapped back to reality and it seemed the conversation was approaching the end. I felt a sense of emptiness and guilt from having just robbed myself of what could have been a fun and informative conversation, but more importantly, a bonding experience with my father.
I can’t help but notice a disconnect from my surroundings day to day. The capacity of this sensation varies depending on where I am or what I am doing. I feel like I’m seldom ever fully present. Part of this is due to how my mind wanders, but an even greater part of it is due to the numerous distractions surrounding us in our daily lives. Phones, computers, video games, Netflix, the list goes on. I want to truly feel present every day. I don’t want to miss out on connections with people and I certainly don’t want to pass up meaningful experiences.
It made me think of a quote from a book I read recently. I believe it’s a motto we should all actively strive towards living by.
“We are surrounded every day by the wonders of life, wonders beyond comprehension that we simply take for granted. I decided that day that I would live my life-not simply exist.”
Something has to change.