After hours of waiting in the airport eating stale food and listening to announcements about my flight being delayed, I was looking forward to getting on that plane and reading my book, I needed to disconnect. I had found my seat, then a sweet lady sat next to me, we both acknowledged each other with a smile. The easiest way to get in trouble is by making eye contact and smiling -at the same time. She started telling me about how her best friend betrayed her and how this TV show was really bad, her dog was sick, she needed a tooth crown and something about the neighbor having lots of partners I couldn’t hear. Soon she realized I was not good at making small conversation so she switched to the guy sitting next to her. He was not good at making small conversation. So she kept on talking and bouncing between two people lacking this social skill. I wiggled my book to signal her about my intentions. It didn’t work. Then I remembered that somewhere in LA I had gotten a pair of these:
Noise canceling Bose headphones. Put them on, turn them on and let the magic happens. By the way, the lady never stopped talking, I know this because her lips kept on moving during the entire flight.
We live in a world that can’t be quiet. Noise pollution will detour you from achieving your goals. There are three words I keep in mind: disconnect and focus. Disconnect from what?
Foursquare: I used to be a Foursquare junkie. If you don’t know what foursquare is skip this and go to the next paragraph. At one point I held down mayorships on 18 different venues, all at the same time including a nudist colony in Scottsdale -which I never cared to visit. I would wake up at night whenever my phone buzzed to learn that tragedy! Rebecca C. had just ousted me as the mayor of Navajo Elementary School. I held down mayorship of the super popular (foursquare wording) Circle K. At one point I collected nearly 200 points in one day. That was a lot of work getting all those points and keeping up with my many mayorships. It was exhausting. I wanted to win, but win what? Who cares if I’m the mayor of Circle K? Will they give me free coffee and donuts? Will there be world peace because I’m a mayor of the LOVE statue at the Civic Center? Will Bank of America bail me out from foreclosure on my North Bay Village condo because I’m their foursquare mayor? No, no and no. Recently a Foursquare friend invited me to join Forecast: “It’s like foursquare but for the future”. No thanks. I deleted my foursquare account.
Facebook: I now check Facebook no more than two or three times a day just for a few minutes and then log out. I used to be a facebook junkie too but I don’t feel the urge anymore to find out who brushed their teeth, whose baby walked and who had a bowel movement. I’m happy that people can share their lives this way but I don’t need to know this stuff. Also the iPhone and silly video games: another distraction. I would get a message from Bakery Story at three in the morning telling me that my Chocolate Stuffed Cream Strawberry Muffins Cupcakes were ready to serve. Serve now! -said the message. I’m a people pleaser -even in the virtual world- I had to serve my food at three in the morning. But guess what? Bakery Story is gone too.
Dating: I stopped dating: A few months ago I went online and opened profiles on Plenty of Fish, Match.com and Jdate. But this too became another distraction. Red dress or black dress, high heels or boots, sushi or Italian, Corona or Saporo, kiss or no kiss. Hit re-play next morning and wait for the call. Ok, he called, another date, another round of dilemmas. One word for dating: stressful. This is something I’m willing to go through in the future but not now. So the last guy I went out with I knew he was going to be my last first date for a while. PoF account is now deleted and the other two profiles remain hidden. My writing was finally coming together so I felt strongly about pouring myself into my blog, Yoga, public speaking. I wanted to make this a priority.
TV-Internet: This was an easy one for me. I don’t watch TV. The last time I did was 2008 -the presidential debates. Back in Venezuela I had an old TV that got dusty and stayed unplugged for the two years I lived in that room. As of today I don’t own one. However you don’t have to go to these extremes, just make sure TV doesn’t consume you. Make it a goal to watch a max. of one hour or whatever a day -set boundaries. Also Internet, I’ve decided not to touch a computer after 6pm (PC, laptop, or iPhone) I don’t always succeed at this but I try.
News: I had a hunger for news. At certain point I had The New York Times and The Arizona Republic delivered to my door. I had Goggle Chrome set up to open CNN and Al Jazeera pages and a bunch of other news media outlets. But I’ve traded all those for the funniest and most inspiring presentations -TED and this guy‘s blog. We are vases, you can fill your vase with clean water or muddy water, your choice. I choose to fill mine with what inspires me, keeps me going and kicks me in the butt.
Stay away from staying awake: I’m a night owl. Right after 10pm I start feeling groovy, I’m ready to go and change the world! However, this routine is not productive and very unhealthy. Going to bed early is a battle for me but I accomplish this by freaking out myself to the point that bed looks appealing. How? I meditate. When I meditate I get all stressed out, so I can’t wait to go to bed. A typical meditation session goes like this:
- Set up a timer for 20 minutes
- Try hard not to count whatever minutes are left
- Count whatever minutes are left
- She did this to me
- An itch
- I said that to him
- Can’t feel my legs!
- What’s taking so long?!?
- Fast heart palpitations
- Back to breathing
This cycle repeats for about 20 minutes. When the gong goes off I get up, give thanks it’s over and go STRAIGHT to bed. No distractions. No monkeying around.