If your personality is anything like mine, you probably struggle with staying in the moment. Yes, physically I may be present, but mentally I am somewhere else. Why is that? What causes me to just take ME or rather my mind to another place? Maybe, I am not interested in the current conversation at hand… or is it because I see no value or point being present in that moment?
To put things into context, I have been dealing with this to some degree all my life and could never really put a finger on it. I want to say, that it became evident more after my parents’ divorce when I simply stopped caring about everyone and everything. I mean it’s anticipated damage will happen to the kids when their whole foundation in life thus far is pulled out from under them. To the extent as to how much damage, how they react and deal with it varies greatly from kid to kid. I grew up in the ideal Christian family home, went to church as a family, was active in sports and other activities. Sounds great right?! Well then, my mom goes out and has an affair with my youth minister at the church, which then proceeded to turn my life in a complete 180 degrees. I stopped caring about myself, people and life. Yes, I was extremely depressed through those years to the point where it was physically manifesting itself, through my weight gain and overall appearance. It took years for me to get over this and forgive my mom and to this day every now and then that depression gets triggered by something and hits me like a train.
Jumping back to the present, I still struggle to have conversations with people that involve things I really don’t care or see value in. If that becomes the case, my subconscious programmed responses take over and my conscious mind goes somewhere I’d rather be. Is that a bad thing for me to do? Yes and no. To the extent as to how often it seems to happen to me, Yes, it is a bad thing. However, sometimes people just want to be left alone and need a mental escape, even though they are there physically. Since for such a long period of my life (~10 years), I wanted to be left alone so I would converse in a way that would allow me to give closed-door responses. What I mean by this is that they might inquire about something or ask me a question, so when giving my response I would deliver it in a way where they couldn’t ask a follow-up question. BAM! Conversation dead. YES! Now I could move on to what I wanted to think about, which during that time was pretty much nothing.
I don’t want to be left alone anymore, I want to be able to sharpen and be able to form new friendships. My biggest take away when I started reflecting on this started with me questioning, “Why can’t I live in the moment?” I found that answer…. Because I am being selfish. When I realized that a lot of things started to make more sense. Yes, to some degree this selfishness spawned from my parents’ divorce and the events that followed, but I allowed it too. Instead of owning up to what was really going on when I wasn’t in the moment, I would rationalize and excuse away my actions.
Want to know the ironic part about me finding this answer? I wasn’t able to realize this till I had a relationship with someone where they had a daughter. I am now able to watch someone, that looks up to me as her dad, be able to grow up and become their own person. If you aren’t in the moment when you have kids, who knows what kind of impact that will have on them later on. Is that fair to them? Hell no! Their only priorities in life so far are to learn, experience things and make memories. Well, you can’t make any of those memories with your kids if you aren’t present in the moment. Ten years down the road, they might not even remember you were at that birthday party because you weren’t interacting and having fun with them.
Soooo show interest, DO activities with them and most of all just have fun in the moment. Yes, as adults we have numerous responsibilities that kids are totally unaware of, well KEEP it that way. Don’t bring those responsibilities into the time where you get to spend with your kids. Trust me those responsibilities will detach you from that moment you are spending with them and take you elsewhere.
Am I perfect at this? Nope. Not at all. In fact, it is probably one of the hardest things right now for me to do even though I want to. You see though you can’t just want to be in the moment when it is convenient for you… No. You have to be in the moment when its convenient for others, especially your kids. The former mindset is that of a selfish person while the latter mindset is what all of us should strive for. Depending on how old your kids are now, the older they become, the fewer opportunities you will have to spend time with them. Why? Your kids are now, being in the moment of their own lives, building relationships and experiencing life. Do yourself a favor and be in the moment with your kids and the other people you come into contact in your life.