I was out walking with my wife last summer. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we were out along a path near our house. Coming the other way was a family with two teens, and as they passed us I noticed one’s T-shirt read:
Wish I Was Here
This made me laugh out loud. I’ve thought about these words often since then, not just because they’re funny, but because they are sad and true.
My wife jogged by a young mother on the same path recently. The mother was pushing a stroller with an infant, and shepherding a toddler on a bike as well as their dog. All three were looking to her for attention. And where was her gaze directed? The screen of her cell phone. Sad and true.
When we are doing something, anything at all, we have a near infinite number of ways to distract ourselves. We dwell on our thoughts, our mood, and our hopes and dreams. We are bothered by the ping of messages and the vibration of our smart watches. We are irritated by the rain and bothered by the Velcro on our coat getting ensnared in our scarf. We fill the silence and empty hours with music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
Next time I go outside, and before I set out on my way, I promise to take a couple of deep breaths and be thankful to be alive and well.
And if I can, I will try to stay with myself for a while. After all, no one knows me better, and though I can surely be a scold to myself, next time I will choose to be an agreeable companion.
Be mindful. Be well.