Life’s Distractions

I know that I haven’t written anything for several days now, because I have been distracted. The things that have distracted me this past week are pretty big and worrisome and I know most of us have been thinking about all the tragedies and loss of life that have happened since the bombing in Boston, the explosion in Texas and the earthquake in China. My thoughts and prayers are going out to all the survivors and families affected in each of these.

The events of the past week are big, but it is easy for me to become distracted. I am going full force on a project, then bam, I get a phone call or one of my kids needs my attention or it’s time to change the laundry and my first task goes uncompleted. Actually it doesn’t really take that much to distract me and I lose focus. I have been sidetracked at least half a dozen times already in this first paragraph.

I suspect losing focus happens to most of us. This disruption becomes scary or even dangerous when we are doing something that affects other people’s lives. It can be as complicated as flying an airplane or as simple as crossing a street, but if we allow ourselves to be preoccupied then our actions affect others. One of the biggest distractions I see today is electronic devices of all types but mostly cell phones. I see people walking around talking on their cell phones and they have no idea that they dropped something, someone is trying to get around them in the grocery store or the clerk is trying to speak to them. It’s even worse when you see those people in traffic talking or texting away completely oblivious to what their main focus should be. I have seen people driving cars, riding bikes, driving buses, walking, pushing baby strollers, running, etc. and are at any given moment seconds away from causing an accident or being in one simply because they aren’t paying attention.

Before cell phones were popular, I used to see people combing their hair, applying makeup, brushing their teeth, reading, doing crossword puzzles all while attempting to drive a car at the same time! I understand that we live in a fast paced society and there is a lot to be done. I don’t know any mother who hasn’t mastered the art of multi-tasking. We have to keep up with the demands of our families and society or we feel like failures. We are forced to schedule doctor’s appointments while waiting in line to pick up our children from school. It’s a shame that we can’t slow down more and enjoy each moment. I also realize that driving can be boring especially while waiting in traffic, but if we all put away the distractions and focused on driving, perhaps there would be less accidents that happen or almost happen and we would get where we need to go in a timelier manner.

I try to ask myself, what is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t answer that email or text immediately or if I am a few minutes late to any given appointment? I blow up the scenario until the outcome is almost comical and I realize that it is better to avoid the interference and drive carefully and arrive alive if I am driving.

I wish that more people, including me more often, would take a moment to figure out what is really important and focus on one thing at a time. That doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a load of laundry while you are cooking dinner, but if one task is something that can be life threatening, please give it your full attention.

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