I have a routine for just about everything. I set it up that way so that I don’t have to think about it. There are some pros and cons to this strategy.
On the one hand, I am able to get things done. On the other had it provides me time to think, which in itself, can be good and bad.
For me, I have fallen into the bad habit of getting into my head during this time. To think about all the things that I’m doing. To analyze them. To break them down and rebuild them. To know myself thoroughly.
Which sounds pretty good. At time it has been.
The problem is that this process filters everything through the lens of how I think things “should” be. Instead of just experiencing them in the moment, letting things happen, and discovering how they turn out.
A friend of mind told this story about being Rome and how his friend spent a chunk of time experiencing Rome through his camera. When he finally put the camera down he noticed things, for the first time that had been right under his nose.
When I’m in my head I am experiencing a counterfeit of reality.
This came to my attention a week or so ago when I was making breakfast and packing lunches for my kids. My wife came downstairs and the next 20 minutes were spent dancing, singing and telling inside jokes.
Before you roll your eyes about my idyllic marriage let me tell you that this is not normal. In fact I need to write a formal apology to all the women that I dated before getting married about my seriousness.
You see I am very serious. Too serious.
Serious to the point that this moment in time stood out. I tried to figure out why these moments didn’t happen more.
In standard Wade-search (my version of research) I tried to figure out what was going on. In the process, a friend of mine suggested that maybe I was too scared to feel. Too scared to be in the moment and feel what I was going through. Then came the aha.
She was right. I was filtering.
I am so worried about my performance and the judgment of others that I don’t allow my self to be in the moment and feel what’s going on right here, right now. I don’t participate because I something might happen that I’m not proud of. I have to be on.
That makes me serious.
Instead of enjoying a book for what it is, I look for meaning and application.
Instead of listening to a conversation, I am planning my rebuttal and the solution.
Instead of playing with my kids, I am worried about how they are going to process problems in their teens and wonder if I am going to be seen as a resource and not a monster.
Instead relaxing into a good nights sleep, I think about all the good I am going to do in the world…tomorrow.
The time that I’ve been given is way more precious that I give it credit for. It’s value comes from being in it, not from thinking about it.
On the reverse side of that I had an experience that triggered a deep spiral of analytical thought. I could feel my demeanor change from here to in my head. I could feel myself revert back to my angsty teenage self. I was instantly stuck.
The only way out of it was to open my mouth and talk to my wife. Now that I’ve had a glimpse of what life is like without the lens, I would much rather experience the real reality.
How do you focus on the here and now and not get caught up in the past and the future?