It is interesting how life changes us. I am not going to argue the issue is maturity. Or experience. Or any single factor. Life, collectively, just changes us. And at times that can mean something we once wore as a badge of honor becomes something unattractive to us. In fact, the inverse activity or thought processing of the badge may actually become what we find ourselves striving for.
Rather than talking in circles, let me give you two of my own life examples.
First, multi-tasking. I was raised to believe it was imperative, and even as recently as a 2017 job interview touted my ability to multitask with the best of them. Two. Three. Four or more. I can keep all the plates spinning. I can handle multiple things all at once. I found pride in living life like the moron I saw driving the other day with a cigarette in one hand, a burger in the other, and maneuvering in the driver compartment in a manner which suggested that the car had to be a stick shift! I was appalled, as most people witnessing it would be. Yet somehow it is considered successful, even normal, to live the day-in day-outs of life in the same manner.
Now, it is the opposite that I long for and am striving for. Single focus. The ability to do one thing at a time. In fact, you really want to find a person with some intense mental ability, ask them that at a job interview… “Are you capable of, with distractions coming from all directions, staying focused on a single task?” In this day of social media, cell phone notifications, and multi-screen workstations I can’t help but wonder if the greater skill is not the ability to do one thing at a time. To manage oneself on a one-track path. To be fully present in one place, with one thing or person, at a given time.
Second, with some correlations to the first, “to do” lists. I lived for them. The creation of them. The almost erotic joy of crossing something off of one. The euphoria of completing one and throwing it in the trash. There was great pride in generating items to throw down on the list at a high rate of speed and being able to shrink the overall length of the list at an even higher one. The fulfillment of a day, especially a weekend day, measured by how efficiently a “to do” list had been tackled and how long of one had succumbed to my sovereignty over it.
Now, they are necessary evils. Needed to keep me from forgetting things that my mind will no longer hold in place. But not my purpose. Not my objective. Not the guiding light for my Saturday. I prefer to find myself attempting to just be rather than identifying myself by what I have been able to do. That is not to knock people with a highly productive drive. My wife is one of those people. It just does not work for me any longer. It is a beat down rather than a build up. It takes me away from who I am and focuses me in on what I have accomplished. Which at my point in life, is sadly uninspiring.
None of this happens overnight. It is more of a metamorphosis. What I was. Recognizing what I would rather be. Breaking habits and thought patterns. Settling into a resolve that it is okay to see things differently. Establishing new ways of thinking. Making decisions that reflect a paradigm that has changed through the journey. Becoming someone different.
Badges of honor that have lost their luster. Have been replaced by a longing for a singleness of focus. By a being overdoing. Searching for a longevity of fulfillment rather than the short-term high of happiness.