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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A Thank You To My Boyfriend's Family

Because you are so important to him, you are important to me.
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This one isn't easy to sit down and write because nothing I could say would do all of you justice in the way that I would hope I could. These are just words, but I hope that I am able to always show my thank you to you by treating him like the prince he is.

I can replay the moment of meeting each and every one of you all over and over in my head like it was yesterday. I was so extremely nervous every single time and I was trying to gather all the "right" things to say that would leave a good, first-lasting impression and that at the end of the day, you all would like me.

I think one of the most important basis and hopes in my relationship is that my significant other's family likes who I am. This is so important to me because whatever is important to him is equally important to me and your thoughts of me are crucial to our relationship.

The second I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed—overwhelmed with such a love. I had no idea at that point in time just how much you would all mean to me and how thankful I am for all of you!

Thank you for constantly making me laugh and feel at home.

Whenever I'm coming over for a family gathering or just to hang out, I know right off that I am walking into a world of laughter and good times are right beside that. You are all so entertaining and always have a good story to tell me. I can't name one time where I didn't feel like I was home.

And I appreciate the sweet, embarrassing photos and stories about my boyfriend that you all share with me! Even if it is by a photo, I have a glimpse of what his life has always been like thanks to each and every one of you individually.

Thank you for sharing your special moments in life with me.

You don't ever have to, but you invite me anyway. Whether it's just a family gathering, a birthday, or a holiday, I am thankful to have spent those times celebrating these moments in life alongside such amazing people. It's humbling and heartwarming to be a part of memories so unforgettable that you all share and that you have welcomed me to be a part of. They are days that I will never forget and have a place in my heart forever.

Thank you for always being there for him.

Since we have started dating, I have watched the way that you guys love him. I have watched the individual relationships and moments that you share with him make a difference in who he is. I have seen you all love and support him, no matter what he was doing.

With everything that comes along in life, this has been a simple reminder of an unconditional, loving, sacrificing family that is also the best support system. You are not only impacting him, but me, too.

Thank you for welcoming me in like your own.

Whenever you have to brave up and meet your significant other's family, I can say, for myself, that I didn't know what to expect. As I'm sure, none of you did when meeting me. Today, I catch myself wondering why I even worried in the first place. You all have welcomed me in your own ways and made me feel right at home. It is not always easy to do that with just anyone, but you have all taken the time to get to know me. And now I know that if I ever needed anything, I can call one of you.

Thank you for letting me date him.

I am most thankful for this. Thank you for sharing him with me and giving me a chance to show you all how important he is to me. I never thought that I would luck out and meet someone as special, kind, and wonderful as he is, but I did.

You have supported our relationship, given me a chance to love him, and welcomed me to new adventures in love and family. I have the upmost gratitude for each of you. You are the most wonderful, welcoming, and loving family. I am overjoyed to be able to experience just a glimpse of this life with him and with all of you.

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5 Times Being The Dad Friend Doesn't Leave You Wondering What Happened Last Night

Ah, the noblest of positions.

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For some reason, it seems that this role is often associated with the boring friend or the friend that doesn't go out often. This doesn't have to be true. There are a lot of perks when you are the responsible friend.

1. You are always in control.

All of your other friends who are making dumb decisions ultimately look to you to make the tough calls throughout the night, regardless of whether they like them or not.

2. Your friends will always appreciate you keeping them alive.

They might be mad in the moment at you telling them to not jump off of a roof, but when everything settles, they are usually pretty appreciative of your efforts. Always remember, no man, or woman, left behind. If you end the night with everyone alive, you did a job well done.

3. It makes you look a lot better.

If you do it the right way, people around you will notice that you are the responsible one. You might even get a few acknowledgments of your efforts. Nothing is cooler than looking like the dude that has everything under control. And if you can't get everything under control, nothing looks better than trying to keep your friends from death.

4. You always remember exactly what happened.

The classic "what happened last night" question is nonexistent because you are able to tell the whole group all of the dumb, hilarious things that they did. Nothing is better than actually remembering first hand the memories that you and your buddies will talk about for years.

5. When you want to leave, everyone is leaving.

Whether you drove or not, once you are able to wrangle everyone up, there's an understanding that when the dad friend thinks it's a good time to leave, it's probably a good time to leave.

Being the "dad friend" doesn't mean that you aren't able to have any fun, it's just a different kind of fun. If you are this type of friend, I salute you, and for those of you who aren't, be sure to thank your dad friend next time you get the chance.

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