Not too long ago I had a dream that really changed my life. It was a scary dream, but the message was so profound. In the dream, my daughter and I were home alone. I was in my bedroom and she was in the living room. I heard voices coming from outside of my window. Male voices that didn’t belong to my son or my husband.
I peeped out and saw three men, one middle-aged and the other two maybe teenagers or early 20s. Apparently, I wasn’t doing a very good job peeping because the middle-aged man saw me. I ran from the window and rushed to every window and door in the house to make sure they were locked. They were. We were safe. Or so I thought.
I eased to the window again, pulled the curtain back, and looked out. The men were still standing there talking. At that point, it didn’t matter because we were locked inside. We were safe. I soon found out that wasn’t true.
When I turned around, there stood the middle-aged man. In my bedroom. Standing next a few feet away.
I started crying. Something about his presence made it obvious that he wasn’t there to chat. “Am I going to die?” I whispered between sobs.
He nodded casually like I’d asked if he’d like something to drink.
At that moment, I could only think of one thing. If he kills me, I’ll never get to hug my daughter again.
“Can I please hug my daughter first?” I pleaded.
I’d like to think that he granted my request, but I wouldn’t know because I woke up before anything could happen. Everything about that dream felt real. The thing that stood out to me was my request. At that moment, when I knew without a doubt I was about to leave, all I wanted was to hold my daughter one last time.
I didn’t think about the books that were unfinished.
I didn’t think about the trips I never took.
I didn’t think about the parties I never threw or the social events I never attended.
All I thought about was my daughter, the one person in my family I had access to at that moment.
I spend so much time in front of my computer either writing or teaching. Even when my work day is over, my laptop and I move from my workstation to the recliner to join my family in the living room. My body is there, but my attention isn’t. It’s split between my computer and my phone.
That dream caused me to reflect on how much time I devote to things that won’t matter at the end of my life. Now, I’m practicing the art of being in the moment. When we’re watching a movie as a family, I’m watching. I’m engaged. Not on my phone. Not checking emails, but giving myself fully and completely to the people who matter the most. Am I always successful? Nope! Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m not supposed to be writing or reading emails or looking at Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?
I hope this message resonates with someone. I hope it makes you stop and perform your own time audit. Where are you spending most of your time? What’s getting the attention your family deserves? Who or what is getting the best part or you, not the leftover, tired, and drained part that’s still available at the end of the day.
Time management is impossible. You can’t manage what you can’t control. Instead, we should practice “self-management.” Learn how to live in the moment again. Spend more time in your own life instead of everyone else’s.
Maybe you’ve already come to that realization and made the needed change. If so, tell us about it. What made you decide to spend more time with family than social media or work? Was it challenging?