The Challenge Of Paying Attention Is Not Lost

The Challenge Of Paying Attention Is Not Lost

Being able to be present, truly present, is a phenomenon that has lost its appeal with all of the stimulation and temptation that the modern day brings.
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A few Sundays ago, I met a dear friend for dinner. We were looking forward to catching up and rambling on as we usually do until we both felt a slight shift in the evening. For whatever reason, that Sunday night turned out to be one of those rare nights where you feel perfectly in sync with the universe and all of its wonderment and energy. It was one of those nights where the fortifying feeling of youth makes you feel this immeasurable amount of joy and bliss but at the same time, years of experience and growth lend you the eyes to understand why a moment like this is so special. It was one of those nights where the candlelight from the dinner table flickers across the familiar face of a friend sitting in front of you. It was one of those nights where you feel as if you’re celebrating absolutely nothing yet everything at the same time. And if nothing else, you’re surely celebrating friendship because as time has shown, a true friendship is a ship that doesn’t sail into harbor often. It is in these moments that you suppress the knowledge that though many more of these beautiful moments lie ahead, there are an equal amount of hard, sad and lonely moments as well. However, the notion of the sad and lonely moments is fleeting and you find yourself back in that present moment, enjoying a random Sunday night, in the warmly lit ambiance of your favorite restaurant, accompanied by a matured friendship. You find yourself enjoying the act of tearing and sharing a freshly baked pastry that the waitress randomly dropped off at your table because they happened to make “extra” that night. “As if the night couldn’t feel anymore blissful” you think to yourself. “If only we could swim in this moment a little while longer” your friend says to you.

I believe the company in which we share these moments is what makes them so profound. We want to swim in the feeling of reveling in fact that for once, things seem to be okay in every possible way, even if just for a moment. We then experience this repression of a faint voice of reality floating in the back of our mind, tempting us with our obligations, responsibilities, sadness and schedules. However, if there is one thing that I’ve begun to tag as my “lesson for this year” it is that the best place to be at any moment, is nowhere.

Going nowhere is going to a place where you are able to be present, truly present in any given moment. This is a phenomenon that has lost its appeal with all of the stimulation and temptation that the modern day brings. Being able to listen, truly listen with intention, when partaking in a conversation is now a challenge rather than an instinctive action.

There’s a quote I heard earlier this week that has stuck with me and I feel it is immensely relevant to the depiction of this feeling. Pico Iyer wrote in his book The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere: “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”

Ernest Hemingway also attests to this delightful feeling when he writes "Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive."

I suppose that after experiencing that Sunday night and hearing this quote, I realized that there was no true physical shift in the evening itself. There was nothing truly remarkable or out of the ordinary happening either. The "shift" in the night was internal. The "shift" was caused by a dear friend, along with myself, subconsciously choosing to "pay attention" and that made all the difference.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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7 Friend Archetypes You'll Find In Each Friend Group, 100% Of The Time

I swear I've never met a friend group that didn't follow these exact guidelines.

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I used to think that my group of friends and I were just an "elite unit," if you will, of a bunch of different types of personalities merged together that worked really well. But, then I started meeting other groups of friends and I realized that literally everyone of them had a pretty similar setup. It differs from group to group, but this is a pretty solid lineup.

1. The One With the House

You know what I'm talking about. This is the one that is always able to have the group hang out at their house. It is the go-to, but also the fallback. If nothing is going on, that's where you'll end up, but if something IS going on, you'll probably still end up there by the end of the night. If the party is boring or the group is tired, someone will suggest heading back to this person's house, and without question you're on your way there.

2. The One that Either Has or Will Get Arrested

This is the one category that I'm almost positive every group of friends has someone in. For my group, this guy HAS been arrested. For most groups, this person hasn't yet, but everyone collectively agrees that some point in their life they'll be behind bars for at least a night. It's not that this one is a bad person, they're just stupid.

3. The Smart One

Valedictorian. Kinda nerdy. Everyone loves this one though. They are usually the one putting logical reasoning into the group. This is the person that says "Maybe we shouldn't try to race this cop guys." GENIUS level intellect. They are there for almost everything, but tend to opt out of the stupid stuff the rest of the group decides to do. This is why this one will probably be the most successful

4. The Reliable One

This one will always be there in case somebody needs something. Car broke down? Stuck on a bad date? They'll be there to pick you up or pretend to be your mom telling you your hamster just died to get you out of there. This person can sometimes get the short shaft though, since a lot of times the rest of the group doesn't share the same reliability. Make sure to take care of your reliable friend like they do for you.

5. The One that Disappears for Weeks at a Time

They're in the GM, you see them liking pictures on Instagram, but haven't heard from them for three weeks. Come on, everyone has gotten together like six times since then, where are you? Regardless of their failure to show up all the time, they are never really "kicked out" of the group, and when they do come around, it's almost like nothing happened.

6. The Quiet One that is Wild Only When They're With Everyone Else

Now I KNOW every friend group has this person. They're really quiet and shy with people they don't know, almost unapproachable, but when they get with the rest of the group, they go absolutely nuts. This one is usually just as crazy as the friend that's probably gonna get arrested, they just do a better job at hiding it. This person struggles to ask the waiter for a refill, but will definitely jump off of the roof into a 5 foot pool with no thought to it.

Lastly,

7. The Big One

This is more prominent in guy friend groups that girl friend groups, but I've still seen it in girl groups as well. They're built like a freaking house. This is the one that's always down to fight, and the one you want next to you in a bar fight. Other than this, they're just a normal part of the group. Probably was a good high school athlete or solid club sports guy now.

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