23 December 2017

A Time To Focus

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”
Henry David Thoreau

Each holiday season, in the midst of the chaos and disorder, I force myself to sit down and write. Usually with just a couple days before Christmas, I find myself tucked away in the office, the door tightly closed, and a hot cup of coffee in hand. There is no topic in mind, no prompt and no direction. It’s a moment for myself, just a moment because that is all I can spare. It is a time to reflect. A time to focus. Depending on our lives at the moment, my writing takes shape. Slowly molding itself into a story, words become feelings and feelings transform into meaning. I have written about gratitude, I have written about a sense of wander and slowing down, I have written about embracing the season, a cliché topic but one that always hits home for everyone.

But this year, I keep silently repeating the words “A time to focus,” over and over. I find myself saying these words in the shower, in the laundry room, when I’m driving and most often when I am in the kitchen.

The holidays should be a time to focus, but what exactly should we be focusing on? Slowing down? Living in the moment? Embracing family?

Well, yes. The answer is yes to all of the above, but our focus should reach deeper and spread much further than just the holiday season. Our focus should be a lifestyle change; a change for the better. Over the past few months I have found myself unintentionally pulling away from social media. It seems with every click I make I find myself landing on a page that is perfectly curated. Our moments are no longer candid. Our lives are styled and edited to perfection. Just by scrolling through Instagram I have found myself wanting more; a new designer purse, more cloths, new jewelry, fashion-forward clothing for my children and oh so many decorations for my home. I’ve caught myself dreaming of remodeling our house; a bigger kitchen, more light, taller windows, white walls, trendy wall paper, unique tile. Pinterest and Instagram will do this to you.

But wait, where is my focus? Because surely if I am allowing myself to become distracted by these wants and material objects of desire then my vision is out of focus. I don’t want to stream our life online and I certainly don’t want to be a mother whose main accessory is her phone. In fact, I want the opposite. I want simplicity, I want less.

My focus for the holiday season, no for the year, is on finding meaning in the small joys of life. It’s on stepping away from the distractions that blind us; like social media, materialism, nonessential desires and negativity. It’s amazing how the negativity in our life can build up within ourselves and wear us down. I choose to be positive and surround myself with like-minded people, because frankly, who really has time and energy for pessimistic people.

At the end of the day, I look at what I have in life. I have an almost teenager (yikes, need I say more), a young son who is easily influenced by those around him and a young daughter that I hope makes her mark on the world and shatters some glass ceilings. As a parent, I have my work cut out for me, but I plan to dive in and mentor my children to the best of my ability. In order to succeed, I must focus. Focus on becoming a role model, focus on slowing down in a hectic society, focus on embracing family and surrounding my loved ones with positive people, focus on moments not materialism.

And most importantly, focus on values. Because a family with solid values is a strong family.

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