My 16-year old daughter Julia and I were at the grocery store. At one point, she stopped to smell a bag of marshmallows and began to tell me how awesome it smelled. Meanwhile, I was thinking about what to get next on my shopping list.
“Smell it Daddy.”
I grabbed what I needed from the shelf and, before I walked away, I humored her. I picked up a bag of marshmallow and breathed in. As I began to delight in that sweet, nostalgic aroma of campfires and fun, Julia profoundly captured the moment,
“Doesn’t that just smell like childhood?”
And to think, I almost walked by without smelling the marshmallows because I was task-focused and not moment-focused. Live, at least some, in-the-moment.
More important than any project we complete at work are the relationships we build along the way. At some point, I realized I was not only working with my colleagues, not only mentoring the team, not only serving our customers, not only collaborating with partners and suppliers, but that fundamentally (and philosophically), we were all doing life together. More with some than others, but en masse, we are all collectively intertwined and marching through time together as a generational segment of the life-parade.
To acknowledge this, is to smell the marshmallows at work.
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Andy, so, so true – living “mindfully” is a major goal for me this year – Instead of madly rushing through the never ending to do list, trying to slow down, focus on relationships more and live more in the moment. You know how when you rush when you eat, you barely remember what you ate or how it actually tasted. My son is now 30 and during the days of commuting, rushing, working hard and being a mom, the last 30 years seems like a blur. Trying to slow it down in this coming year and appreciate each day. Your professionalism and your friendship have made work a pleasure. All the best to you and your family in 2019! Alison
Alison – Thanks for the comment. I have really enjoyed working with you too. Seriously. Stay in touch!
Your post about “being in the moment” served as a useful reminder that it’s easy to be careless with our time. It’s the only thing we cannot find, make, buy, beg, borrow, or steal.
After a brief stay in a hospital about twenty years ago, I became a little obsessed with the concept of doing “the next right thing”. I had had a very close brush with death, and my being efficient with my remaining time – how ever much that might be – became the driving force in my life for a few weeks. As with most obsessions, it was exhausting. Also, it kept me from being able to be in the moment.
I have been developing a daily stretching and centeredness habit. It acts as a potent antidote to the hustle and bustle of daily life.
I said all of that to reinforce the fact I am enjoying your writing, and I urge you to continue.
Thanks Cai. Really good to hear from you. Been too long. Don’t be surprised if your name surfaces in a future blog post if I write about shenanigans in the college dorm. Odds are, if it happened, you were there.