Coffee Talk

Why Being Present is More Important than Ever

With most of the world going on lockdown in March, many of us, myself included, have been home for the last several months, only leaving when absolutely necessary.

Once upon a time, Pre-COVID, I would have gone to work from 9-5, catching the PATH at 8 am, and once a month I would go to an event with my Significant Other for his career. Most days I would return completely exhausted–emotionally and mentally drained–from all of the complex mathematical formulas that my brain has to run in order to piece together normal conversation. What is easy for others is not so easy for me, and as I said, I tend to be exhausted and I just want to stay home. During the once-a-month events, I would sit in the corner, and try to decompress, while my Significant Other was a social butterfly. During the last one, I realized that I walked out of there after not talking to a single living soul.

Now, I’m at home 24/7, and my days are filled with work from 9 am to 5pm. Conference calls, emails, chats, one-on-one calls, and then all of the additional work plus administrative tasks. Most days I have so much work that I don’t end at 5pm, and end up working late at night. But I have more mental acuity now than I have had in years. I still hardly talk to anyone anyways besides my Significant Other, because….well…I don’t really have friends in NYC..but more than anything I don’t want to take my chances with COVID-19. Instead, after work and finding more time (and energy!) to work out, which I haven’t been able to do before, I sit down to work on my personal computer…if I’m not working like the maniac that I can be.

Suddenly, all of summer has passed us by and we’re now looking into fall. And I’m realizing that we haven’t done anything fun or summer-like recently. That makes me a little sad, though I understand that with COVID-19 going around, and no vaccine in sight, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I would certainly like to have a long life ahead of me, and I am one of the higher risks for getting sick with it.

What I’m realizing now, more than anything, is that it’s important to be present. We are so fixated with and surrounded by technology that sometimes we forget to take a moment to connect with ourselves, our family and friends. The technology is good, so long as it serves its purpose to be used in the right way, but if all you’re doing is staring at screens, working more than the hours you are supposed to, that’s not the right way.

If all you’re doing is staring at the screens, you are missing out on the richness of the world. By not being present, you are missing out valuable information, potential connections, and details around you. By not being present, you are missing out on the opportunity to connect with your significant other, your family or your friends, and share your thoughts, ideas and communicate the issues.

And not having that connection–not leaving the computer and the screens aside to focus on what is right in front of you–is detrimental to your health.

So put things aside for an hour or two, and focus on your family, your mental, emotional and physical health. Do something you enjoy, and take that time to take a break from the stresses of the business.

After all, that job will be there in a few hours, and they can easily replace you–you can’t replace time or yourself.

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