I am standing in line at Starbucks, in line for the bathroom. There are two bathrooms and I am the only one in line. A girl approaches me and quickly looks irritated, taking in the situation. “Line up?” she asks, slightly rolling her eyes. I nod and smile at her. It’s not that bad when there is only one person ahead of you to use the bathroom. She shrugs and reaches into her purse to pull out her phone. Immediately she is texting.
I resist the urge to do the same, but also know that my husband is currently is using my phone. I don’t have my phone within reach. I wonder about how easily we are distracted, or feel the need to be distracted, as I stand in line. For those two minutes I try to relax, to breathe and to remember there is nothing else I need to do right now, nothing that needs to be done right in that minute.
I spend a lot of my time worrying and planning what to do next. With kids and work and life there is a schedule of how we do things. I find I spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how to do the next thing, but also stressing about it in anticipation. On vacation, I find that six o’clock can roll around and I am barely aware of it. At home, this is my witching hour: the kids need to be fed before they implode, homework needs to be done, I need to get out and run (if I haven’t already), and I am already thinking about lunches for the next day and what the morning will bring.
These thoughts flash through my mind as I am standing in line for the Starbuck’s bathroom and I realize that we can make changes in our lives for ourselves. We don’t need to be on our phones all the time to distract ourselves. I am as much a victim of this as anyone, but I realize I have trained myself to do this. I have taught myself that at every spare minute I will check my phone/email/texts to fill in the time. I am not multi-tasking, I am creating a task as I do this.
I think that when you are out of your routine it’s the easiest and best time to make changes in your life. Nothing dramatic or drastic, but a shift or change in approach can work wonders to bring back with you to your everyday. For me, I realize that I don’t look at things very positively most of the time. Never mind everyone else, I could be more positive with myself for starters.
I was remembering today a friend who had decided to do a 10km walk to raise money for a charity. This was a few years ago, and I remember thinking that 10km was extraordinarily far and that walking it would probably take 4-5 hours, minimum. Today, in a shift of perspective, I can run 10km as a good, easy run before breakfast. I think it’s important to acknowledge how far we have come, regardless of how long it has taken to get us there. The point is, we *have* changed. We have chosen and we have improved ourselves.
I don’t need a mantra to recite to remind myself to be a certain way. I think it’s about just making a conscious decision as often as possible to see things a little differently. After a while, that small decision can become a habit. I can get easily frustrated and irritated, but maybe I don’t have to, or have to as easily. It’s like I made a decision to drive a little differently, like being in another country and driving on the other side of the road. Maybe it’s just time for me to drive against traffic.
*What would you like to change about how you view things? What attitude shift might make your life easier?