Why I'm reclaiming my attention
👋 Welcome to the latest issue of The Jungle Gym – the newsletter that helps you build a more fulfilling career by integrating your work and life.
✨ If you’re a new reader, thanks for stopping by. Feel free to check out this introductory post, which explains what The Jungle Gym is all about.
📬 To get future issues delivered to your inbox, enter your email here:
Around the new year, I normally make a host of resolutions. Work out. Meditate. Read books. Eat healthier. But this year was different. For 2022, I just made one resolution– reprioritize reality.
Over these past two years, I’ve noticed my attention getting increasingly consumed by abstractions. Looking up crypto prices during dinner. Logging into Twitter during my morning walk. Answering Discord messages before I fall asleep. While these online activities can feel urgent, they aren’t the things our brains were designed to pay attention to.
I learned this from my son. As a seven-month-old, Cooper doesn’t care about things like subscriber growth or market movements. Coop cares about his first tooth that’s coming in and where his next bottle of milk is coming from. He prioritizes reality, which forces everyone around him to do the same.
While I get a lot amount of fulfillment from my online life, I have let it consume too much of my existence, pulling me away from the humans and places around me.
This hit home one week before Christmas, when I got a call from my brother. He told me that our nephew, Kif had died. Kif was just 21 years old. While he died a man, I could still picture him as a baby, not much older than Coop. I remembered the sweet sound of his singing voice, his obsession with bus routes, and his love of foreign languages.
After I got off the phone, I hugged Cooper and cried. I cried for my sister. I cried because it had been two years since I’d seen Kif in person. I cried realizing I hadn’t had a fully present moment with my son all day.
I wish I had gotten to spend more time with my nephew. I know that I don’t want to have similar regrets about other important people in my life.
I wish I could tell you that I have the five steps for reprioritizing reality, but in all honesty, I’m still figuring it out. I still check my phone too much. But, I have started intentionally putting it away during Cooper’s nighttime routine.
Little victories like these are how I’m planning to claim back my attention and give it to the people around me. No matter what forces are pulling my attention into abstractions, I resolve that this year I will reprioritize reality.
This issue is dedicated to Kif. I cherish the time we spent together. Your talent, dedication, and independent spirit made a lasting impression on every person you encountered. Love you, always, kiddo.
If you enjoyed this issue of the newsletter, I'd really appreciate it if you could forward it to a friend, family member, or colleague who you think might like it too.
Or, if you'd like to share it on one of your social networks, that’s always great as well.
Until next time,
Such a powerful message. Thank you for sharing.
Sorry for your loss, my friend. It's always tragic when those we love are taken away from us too soon.