A can’t sit still culture ~ A guest post from Brittany

52aad1c8-0340-e286I have to move. I can’t sit still and do nothing. I have to wait in line..better check my email. I need to learn to multi-task so I can get more done.

The world today has quickly become a can’t sit still culture. People seem to be uncomfortable with just being. Why do we feel we have to have something to do all the time? Why are we so impatient?

It has become a world of instant gratification. Instant access, instant coffee, instant TV, and a meal in an instant in a microwave oven. Coinciding with this has been new technologies that allow us to bring our phone, computer, and TV with us wherever we go. The incidents of car accidents caused by distracted driving has skyrocketed.

In all of this, do we even stop to think of what we are missing out on? In a Pediatrician’s waiting room, more parents are tuned into their phones than into their kids, who are climbing all over everything to try to get their parents attention. In our homes everyone is not in the living room talking about their day. They are shut away in their respective rooms typing away at little keys and then we wonder why we are so stressed out…

It’s time to put the devices down and spend time with each other. Do something meaningful. Take a bubble bath. Light a candle. Tuck someone in. Smile at someone you don’t know. Write a letter. Read a book. Take a nap. Play a board game. Throw a baseball. Watch it rain. Tickle someone. Savor the taste. Feel the softness. Plant a tree. Take a walk. Just be.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter any pet toys that are overabundant in your home. ~ Do you buy a new toy to amuse you pet with on a regular basis when their old toys are still in reasonable condition. Slowly they build up and then you find yourself throwing away the oldest or less loved items whether they are worn out or not. Think of the money you could save.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown


Continue reading with these posts:

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Good reminder. I have been trying to be better about this, but it sure is tougher than I thought it would be.

  2. Brittany, this is a good reminder to all of us to take time for family and friends face-to-face. Thanks for the wakeup call.

    • You’re so welcome Deb! These are the important things. Send someone a text and they soon forget, visit with them and you can make memories to last a lifetime.

  3. Excellent post, Brittany.
    I am an old-fashioned gal who prefers what Deb J. and I refer to as “face to face” connections. I still put pen to paper. No birthdays, special occasions, invitations or holiday greetings will ever arrive from me via e-mail. Many have lost the “personal” connection and are so caught up in their electronic gadgets that they are socially awkward. I think technology should be used to enhance our life, not become our life. That’s the delicate balance that many don’t understand. I am grateful that my daughter was in high school at the beginnings of the technology boom, so she embraces and values much of the old fashioned way to do things as well. I often say, “I am so glad my childhood was before technology”.

    • Me too!
      I still send cards with my writing in them and stamps on the outside – LOL.
      Do you feel concerned about the kids that are growing up looking at screens while their parents drive? I am! When they are 16, they won’t even recognize what normal traffic flow looks like! Needless to say there are no games or videos playing while I drive, even if they are scrapping in the backseat. Bored and staring out the window is healthy… people need to learn how to handle boredom. My 17 year old boy got his driving licence no problem and I have no concerns about him using a cellphone while driving (he doesn’t have one). I couldn’t be prouder. I’m not adverse to technology, I just think it has it’s place AFTER real life skills are in place.

      • I agree creativeme. That is really a good reason for teens not to have a cell phone. What’s more important, after all, their safety or having a phone? I frequently am behind a motorist and am sure they must have been drinking as they keep speeding up and slowing down and weaving all over the road. Then I approach a red light and can see that they have their phone up texting. With teens it’s worse, they don’t have the wisdom to make wise choices and lots of adults are not setting the best example either.

    • Beautifully stated Kimberley, “I think technology should be used to enhance our life, not become our life.” You are so correct. It’s the balance that so many don’t understand. I still put pen to paper as well and it is so much more meaningful and puts me square in that moment of writing.

  4. Like most folks, I feel pressured to go-go-go and be doing something all the time.
    But when no one is watching I sometimes just sit out in my backyard and just watch my chickens scratch and peck, or sit on the front porch and watch all the busy traffic shoot by (not as relaxing, but still grounding). At times like that I generally have a goofy smile on my face because I get a real kick out of just looking at the pretty details that go by minute by minute. Blink – and things change, not much sometimes, but the changes are there.
    Inside the house I find it harder to give myself permission to just take up space, there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done, even if it’s self inflicted like wanting to catch up on some TV shows.
    Every evening (with very few exceptions) we eat at the kitchen table as a family for dinner with NO electric distractions – no TV, or little screens or even the radio. Even if it has to be rushed or at a weird hour because of schedules. Dinner is the time to get nourishment together and catch up with each other. We don’t even always have to talk, the proximity and familiar act of eating together is enough to connect. Thankfully my husband is on the same page on this. We genuinely believe eating together is a sacred habit for family health and look forward to it every night.

    • When I was young, my mother turned off the ringer on the phone when we would sit down to eat. I do the same. Family time is so important and so fleeting..they truly are grown before you know it. Taking moments to just sit and watch is like pushing reset on your brain. It boosts brain functioning to let it relax and just observe. If you have to, with the need for free time to do nothing in mind, literally say that you are going to do nothing but read a book for 30 minutes or soak in a bubble bath. Remind yourself that it is rejuvenating. Remind yourself that it is good for you. Allow yourself that time.

  5. And did you notice that only a few of these suggestions require “stuff” – a baseball, a book, a board game, a candle. Simple things – simple pleasures.

  6. Brittany, this was an excellent post. I had an old friend who used to say he liked to sit down and do nothing slowly. People have forgotten how to do this!!! It really bothers me that young people are not even taught to be courteous or friendly anymore. They are rude, with their faces in their phones, and can barely say hello.

    I am so glad to see comments from people who send REAL PAPER CARDS and LETTERS, too. I thought I was the last one left in the world who does that. Ha!!! However, I AM simplifying that hobby, too, and getting it down to a more manageable number of recipients.

    • Good for you Brenda. You are right, people are so tuned out. Have you ever been standing there and someone in the store is looking in your direction and says “Hey, how are you doing?!”, and you go to respond and realize they are talking on one of those little phone ear pieces? It’s disconcerting. I think if we want to make a change for the next generation, then parents will have to stop caving to the societal pressure to be like everyone else (and give their kids what everyone else has) and make an effort to spend time with their kids doing fun activities.

  7. I totally love this post and couldn’t agree more. My personal opinion is that we’re all complicit in our “always busy” problem, and on some level I think it’s because when you stop and allow yourself to just be, suddenly all of those little insecurities & uncomfortable emotions that none of us really wants to deal with come bubbling to the surface. It’s a lot easier to distract yourself with being constantly “busy” than it is to face some of the tougher aspects of our own humanity. Just my opinion.

    And in terms of today’s mini-mission… if anyone out there needs extra incentive to declutter the cat toys, let me just say that all of those fur mice and feather things hanging out in the dark recesses at the bottom of the kitty toy basket make an excellent breeding ground for carpet beetles – ask me how I know!

  8. Lol, oh no. Carpet beetles..yikes!

    I think you have nailed the crux of why so many people like to stay busy. It goes back to before all this new technology. I think everyone knows someone who is “on the go” or “busy” all the time. Quiet moments are times to just think and introspection usually accompanies that. Many people don’t want to stop and think about what might be wrong with their marriage or why their kids don’t feel connected to them. It’s like we are glossing over life and then wander why our relationships are failing. Getting to the heart of the matter is very freeing but we cannot reach that point if we never settle down long enough to really think about it.

    • Brittany, I also am tired of being busy often doing things I don’t want to do and feeling that I “should” be busy. I fare much better with downtime.

      This inability to be idle reminded me of study results that came out over the summer regarding an experiment carried out at University of Virginia. The study went through different stages of having people be alone with their thoughts (sometimes they were given particular things to think about and other times not) and then rate the experience and progressed to putting people alone in a room for 15 minutes to think. In the room, the participants had the option of pressing a button to deliver a mild shock to themselves. Of the participants who said previously that they would pay to not be shocked, two-thirds of the men shocked themselves and one-fourth of the women did. Apparently it was less painful to shock themselves than to be alone with their thoughts! It was written up all over, but here’s one link to it:

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/science/2014/07/03/idle/J2LpEcTdZzLykRCTnZ80fL/story.html

  9. Yeah, our 4 little dogs play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time. Guess i’ll be turning their 20% into thier 80% as well. Good mini mission today. Guilty! 🙂

  10. This is very thought-provoking Brittany – thank you. I saw a satirical piece on the Colbert Report on TV a few days ago where Stephen was being satirical about an app called Checky (if I remember correctly) which you use to keep track of the number of times that you look at/check your phone in a day. Funny, but rather sad as well. I’ve also read of camps or retreats that people go on where they have to be completely without their devices and almost relearn how to connect with others and to enjoy activities that don’t involve phones, tablets etc.

    • The existence of an app to tell you how many times you check your phone is very ironic, isn’t it. People are losing touch with how to communicate with others and it is sad to see. They stay closed off in their own little worlds. My hope is that it will lose it’s novelty and people will wake up from their technology induced stupor. However, signs are everywhere that many people have had enough. They are opting to live simple lives and low tech lives and hopefully this will continue to gain steam and take hold.

  11. Hi Brittany,
    I loved this post! (I am a little bit obsessed with this topic, as I have a category at my blog about unplugging!). I included it in my round-up of “joyful reads for the weekend”–the link is here: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2014/10/joyful-reads-for-the-weekend-vol-34-lessons-for-life.html. Thanks for adding to the very good advice out there about being in the moment and paying attention to the really important things!
    Best,
    Joy

  12. Technology has brought us many wonderful things including the freedoms I take for granted today, but they come with a great cost. I am so tired of hearing people’s phone conversations when in public and seeing people sit around a table on their phones rather than enjoying the moment and the company they are with. Life may be different today because of technology but I don’t think it is better.

    • Hi Lois, firstly, sorry it has taken me so long to approve this comment. I have been on vacation of six weeks. During that time I have encountered many instances of what you are talking about here. People with their heads in their phones and not paying enough attention to the here and now. Having used lots of public transport during my vacation I have to wonder how people once endured getting from A to B before the cell phone was invented. I have even found that a camera can be a big distraction on vacation. Therefore I vowed not to bother photographically document much during this vacation. Past experience tells me that I will likely never look back at the photos anyway.