I long for a day in which nothing clamors for my attention. In which the things I must attend to stand patiently by, like good little soldiers, and await my gaze.
I’m feeling the overuse of the word “important.” I get many “important” or “urgent” emails that, in the larger scheme of things, are not really all that critical. I receive emails from my son’s school claiming “important” matters deserve my attention, only to find that the contents are nothing I’d consider even of mild importance.
Intentional white space is the name of the game at my house lately.
It began on a day I heard a woodpecker while walking the dog. On a quiet street, forcing my preoccupations to flee my mind at least temporarily, the tap-tap-tap of the woodpecker caught my attention. I remembered walking with my parents as a child, my mother teaching me which bird call was which.
And I began to think—do my sons ever hear things like this? Do they ever go long enough without earbuds or a screen or a class or work to hear a woodpecker? And if they heard one, would they even know what it was?
On that day, I began to work on our white space. While working long hours, there are days I resolutely close my laptop and unplug at a decent hour. I continue to clear anything unnecessary, no matter how small, from our home. I make sure my son has books to engage him and fewer scheduled activities.
It’s old school. It raises some eyebrows. Do we not want to be the next Olympic gold medalists/Rhodes scholars/wealthy country club members?
Turns out, we don’t. We want to love one another, pursue what lights a fire within us at our own pace, leave room for daydreaming. Make space for the laughter that rarely comes when we are cranky, overscheduled and full of our own importance.
The older I get, the less patience I have for ego. For self importance of any kind. For people who feel the need to tell me of the other important people they are connected to. I’ve interviewed CEOs and celebrities. It is rarely different from interviewing your average citizen for a man-on-the-street piece. At the end of the day, we all need sleep. And love. And none of us gets out of here alive, regardless of how many accolades we have to show for our days.
Perhaps, if we all make a little more white space for ourselves and our loved ones, we will discover that trying to race against and impress each other is really oh so silly.
And that the sound of a woodpecker in the still morning air is one of the truly important things in life. One which will not clamor for our attention, but will go patiently about its business whether we have the wisdom to take note or not.
I am choosing to take note.