3. Being Present

“Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions.” – Marcus Aurelius

Distractions are prevalent in this world. They come in all forms. They distract from all things. Lately, the internet and the myriad of ways you can connect with people has been distracting me more than I would like. I’m tired of being pulled in all directions. I’m happy here, right here in my life. I want to focus my attention on the here and now. And I will.

I’ve come across more than one book lately that essentially say that in order to live a happy life you should cut out all the extraneous things. Whether those things be obligations, people, whatever, those are distractions that take your time away from the things that really matter to you. It’s somewhat difficult to cut out things while in law school – since most of my obligations are in fact required to graduate – but I am trying to keep a more careful mental inventory of what is truly important to me in my life.

Whenever I find myself becoming distracted again, whether it’s with games on my phone or browsing on Facebook, I don’t realize it until it’s been going on for a few days. However, I think (and I hope) that I am becoming better at recognizing when I am growing distracted in my life. I realize that I’m simply waiting impatiently for the next moment to get away to my phone… for what? So I can go check Instagram or look on Snapchat to see if anyone has added to their stories. But in realizing so, I’m getting better and better at pulling myself away from all those extraneous distractions and back into the present.

Currently, I’m sitting in the library with my love while he studies for an exam tomorrow and I’m taking a break from studying for my last exam in a few days. I’ve been on Facebook all evening. Honestly, I don’t really care about what’s going on through Facebook. A superficial part of me cares, but deeper down I know that when I look back on this evening, I’d much rather have read more of the three books sitting here next to me or have written a blog post. I want to have done so much more than simply being another anonymous face on this anonymous, soul-sucking social media existence that we have all embraced.

Whenever I think about or hear people talking about the great geniuses through history, the people who accomplished great things, the great thinkers,  and the great artists, I marvel at their ability to dedicate themselves so fully to their passions. But then my mind turns a corner and I stop marveling. These Greats throughout history didn’t have social media. They didn’t have the distractions of the internet; we have every bit of information and every connection with another individual we could possibly want at the tips of our fingers as our fingers lay poised over a keyboard.

But what if we stopped being online so much? What if we only used the internet when really necessary? These days, I feel like whenever I start paying more attention to Facebook there are so many voices from so many people that I somewhat know that they start crowding out the few voices that really do matter to me. My in-person relationships mean to much more to me than this or that random friend on Facebook. The relationships that matter to me are the ones I should actually focus on. There’s absolutely no excuse for me to ignore the people that matter the most to me just because I’m distracted by all the many other faces I scroll past every day.

This doesn’t mean I don’t value people. I do. I value other people a great deal. But you have to choose your priorities, and I want my priorities to be where my heart is. We can’t all be torn every which way at every moment of the day.

I guess I really have multiple points here all related to distractions.
(1) Prioritize your time.
(2) Prioritize the people in your life that really matter to you.
(3) Prioritize what accomplishments you want to have achieved at the end of the day.

In the end, we all have a limited amount of time. While it seems like this time could go on forever, if we look back on the past day, week, month, or year, there is so much or so little we can accomplish in that time, just depending on our choices. If I choose to really accomplish something with my life and truly make the most out of my life, I have to prioritize my time and fill it with the actions I want and the people I love. I want to be able to look back at the end of the day and really feel like each day was worth living.

The past five months have been some of the best months of my life, and that because I felt like I’ve been actually achieving something every day. No, I haven’t made leaps and bounds in single days, even though some days have held a lot. But if every day I accomplish a little less of the extraneous and accomplish a little more of actually living life, looking back, those bits and pieces of time really add up to something so much more than it would seem.

So here’s to trying to live online a little less and live a little more.

P.S. Yes, I see the irony of posting this as a blog post.  No, I don’t regret it one bit.

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