SHOPPING, THE ULTIMATE ICEBREAKER

Cousins from North Carolina recently came to Colorado to meet their local cousins and also the ones from Idaho. I was reminded that the best icebreaker for children of varying ages was shopping at the mall.

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Youngsters are driven to  the mall at an early age by splashy truck and doll commercials, which escalate  into  trendy outfits and then, tadaaaaaa, the expensive device commercials like iPhones, the nook and kindle. But devices were off the table this day. Apparently they were all waiting until the “appropriate age” for them, as well as the funding. But they had wrangled deals with their parents and had a small stash of dollars tucked inside their jeans.

And — get ready for this — wait for it, wait for it — they’re off!

But what are they shopping for?

Even the youngest of the shoppers, age 4, had been programmed by flashy commercials of the finest and latest brand new toys, trinkets and devices.  They were ready for exchange.

As I watched them, I saw some of the finest conversation and decision making.

For instance, one of the younger ones  found  out that the object costs not $20, but $21.99.  I was comforted by the way the older children — 11 and 13 — offered assistance to the younger ones who were learning about that charming three letter word – tax!

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As they traveled the brightly lit corridors filled with windows designed to lure them inside, I marveled at our amazing children. As I offered to pay the tax,  my oldest son reminded me that I needed to let them figure it out. That was their introduction to budgeting. Oh, yeah, I remember teaching him something like that a long time ago.

“Time is a created thing.”

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.’” – Lao Tzu

I do understand what this means, yet it’s got to be wrong. There’s nothing I’d rather do than blog – yet, last week, seven days went by and I looked up and realized I’d put it off for a harried schedule every day. And now it’s a week since I sat down and put to paper all of my current thoughts because of time constraints. Family and things happen. It’s life.

Or, was it a poor job of managing?

Or could it be I I took time to daydream a bit?

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(Thanks Pinterest)

Downtime maybe. But I didn’t mean to take downtime. Can your body take downtime when you are not looking?

I think maybe that happened.

For over five years I’d been writing every morning. When I sent the latest book off to a professional editor, I felt myself kickback. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I played with grandchildren, I had sleepovers. I cleaned my basement. That unintentional kicking back bled over into the other areas of my life giving me a sense of freedom. It felt good. Changing my pace, changing my momentary focus.

You can’t let life stand in the way of living.

MULTITASKING …

Recently I found myself driving down the street flipping back and forth from CNN radio to MSNBC keeping up with the current criminal trial in real time and evaluating the news coverage.

I was running late for an appointment – me the all time queen of arriving thirty minutes early. Plus, I was craving a Skinny Vanilla Latte and searching each corner for a Starbucks.

Traffic slowed. I then remembered a phone message from my dear friend. Needed to call her. I punched the “phone” button on my dashboard and then my friend’s preprogrammed number rang.

Traffic slowed, then surged forward, then slowed again, then resumed normal speed. I changed lanes.

Suddenly, a car turned directly in front of me in the intersection.  I slammed on my brakes luckily avoiding careening into her.

What in the world? My mind lashed out at the woman as she continued her turn. My eyes glanced up surprised to see that my own light had been red.  Feeling foolish was an understatement. I slowly drove away wrestling with how that had happened.

Apparently I had been watching the next traffic light ahead of me instead of focusing on the one directly in front of me.

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Had my multi tasking been the problem? Certainly part of it.  I had let my tired body be distracted by life and duties and obligations and appointments.

Juggling, throwing balls up in the air, trying to handle too much in the moment.

I had always pulled over to text or email and prided myself on that.  But after this experience, I’ve pledged to squash the feeling that I need to be accomplishing more – at least when I’m driving.

What’s the worse thing that has happened to you from multitasking? Let’s start a conversation!