Norton: Preoccupied with being preoccupied this holiday season
Whenever I am together with a group of family and friends and I notice people preoccupied with their phones, I ask them, “Are you texting me?” Or, if I happen to have everyone’s cellphone number, I will send them all a group text, “Are you texting me?” Both usually get a chuckle and now, if I happen to get caught doing something on my phone, someone invariably sends me that same text or just asks me if I am texting them.
Maybe a little truth in humor?
My example is a simple scenario and one that is unfortunately played out in more homes and at work than any of us cares to admit. Did the pandemic make it worse as we became bored and went in search of ways to entertain ourselves? And now that we are back to work or in some kind of hybrid work environment, is our preoccupation more of a habit that gets under the skin of those around us? Or are others too preoccupied as well, lost in whatever is happening on their own devices?
Maybe a little truth in reality?
Our kids will basically give us an “Oh, Dad” or “C’mon, Mom.” Our friends might just say, “Dude, I am just checking the score” or “You gotta see this TikTok.” Although, whenever someone invites me to look at a TikTok, I really have no idea what that’s all about, and I am not that interested in finding out either. I am sure next year there will be something that replaces it and will be so much cooler, something cool enough for a supercool guy like me to want to check out.
Maybe a little truth in lack of generational awareness?
During a recent dinner out with our associates, I couldn’t help but notice at the table next to us was a couple. They appeared to be married and I would guess somewhere in their 40s. They sat across from one another looking at their phones. No conversation. I thought that they might just be looking at the online menu. But after the server came and took their order, they remained glued to their phones. Perhaps their favorite mode of communication is texting one another, and that was what they could have been doing. As dinner came out, they placed their phones on the table next to their dishes and continued to scroll as they ate.
Maybe a little truth in my preoccupation with others being preoccupied?
Here we are, at the end of the year. The holiday season provides us with incredible opportunities to connect, really connect with our family and friends. Thanksgiving set the table for our attitude of gratitude, for the sharing of love and appreciation, and for remembering those who are so very important to us. And as we roll into December, we will celebrate Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, giving us even more time and opportunities to remember the true reason for the season, share family stories, exaggerate the myths and legends of friendship experiences that only get better with time, and just “be” with one another. We can talk about life and our future goals and dreams. We can remember loved ones who are no longer with us but whose memories fill the room with laughter and joy.
Maybe we can all become a little more occupied with not being so preoccupied?
What if we were intentional about being present in the present? What if we tried only using our phone to take pictures and wait until later to post them on social media? What if we used our phones and devices to only make calls and virtually see our family and friends who we could not be with us this holiday season? What if we took baby steps and just called for an hour of being technology free this holiday season?
I would love to hear your preoccupation story at email@example.com and when we can focus on those who are right in front of us with greater intentionality, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.