I had a flashback a few weeks ago about singing in the shower when I was much younger. I used to spend close to 30 minutes in the shower, belting out tunes and secretly thinking (and hoping) that I would be the next superstar. I would waiver between wanting to be the next Madonna, Cindy Lauper or Whitney Houston, Indian-style. After my shower shows, I would secretly re-enact being discovered, my hidden talent finally revealed to the world. Much to my chagrin and unfortunately for my teenage self, this was never my reality. But I started thinking about these small moments of solitude that I used to enjoy and how these moments are now stolen by none other than my smartphone.
I know, it’s sad, but it’s the truth. Not that I take the phone in the shower with me, but I’m finding that my mind doesn’t wonder anymore the way it used to. Any free moment these days is taken up by my phone, especially social media. It’s like a nervous tick! Being alone with my thoughts and feelings is slowly becoming a rare commodity.
I recall sitting in class, looking out the window, lost in thought. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that. I remember sitting in the back of the car, listening to old Telugu songs, tuning out to my own thoughts as I looked out the window. Now, on long car journeys, my kids are watching movies or shows on their iPads.
So this past weekend, with dear friends, I tried to stay present. That meant that I didn’t reach for my phone during lulls in conversation. That meant that as I spent yesterday at the Head of the Charles, I walked and biked, absorbed the sunshine on my skin and got lost in my thoughts. Last night, I played with my kids and engaged in some fun dinner conversation. And this morning, as I got in the shower, an old favorite came to mind and I slowly hummed the tune, returning to my younger self.
How do you stay present in the ever-increasing world of distraction?