Processing engagements

During a recent trip to Old Sturbridge Village, I came upon this roped-off exhibit of a beautiful, portable, writing desk with written pages fanned across its top. I imagined how the owner and writer of those materials may have looked like. This gentleman seemed to fit the bill.

I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to hand-write many things. I’m at odds with my peers, being one who cherishes writing [letters, journaling, e.g.] with a fountain pen no less. It does require your attention. The efficiency of computers is a boon to creating content, from tweets to long essays and dissertations. The use of all types of computers is standard for our developed societies.

But why do we need to process things so quickly? It’s a rhetorical question, certainly, but not without practical considerations. We marvel at how fast technology processes both the simple and the very complex. However, you lose [at least for me] that joie de vivre of the moment. Being attentive in the moment is quite different from being momentarily attentive.

And I see too much of this momentary attentiveness in many. How so? In a restaurant, you can see some couples more attentive to their smart phones than each other. In parks, in museums, in the lobbies of theatres, offices and yes, even in our cars, the siren of that handheld is overwhelming. The device in our hand responds quickly, in “real” time, then with a thumb stroke, we’re onto another screen for something else.

For me though, I feel better connected when I’m engaged with just about any process that requires a bit more attention, time and effort. Yes, I admit an app can make things easier and interesting. But for me, the process of being engaged and attentive to tasks and to processing information just isn’t the same when a person is with me.

Sea Air

Summer vacation is a staple for one’s own sense of stability. In most cases, one or two days I’m doing work—either by choice or a directive from someone who signs the checks—even though it’s work I try to avoid from usurping vacation days. At the C-level of management, there’s always a part of your vacation that is, indeed, a “working vacation.”

Anyway, I make the effort to still my mind and settle the angst of all that is life. It’s not always related to work as there are things in life that can be much more demanding of time, energy and other resources.

I posted an article on my LinkedIn page, “A Short Guide to Finding Quiet,” and this post is related to that article. However, what I’m sharing here is far more personal. There are places that are quiet and then there are really quiet places, the kind you savor and want to bottle for another day.

Living in New England means you’re never far from the ocean. I like that. The sea air has therapeutic properties, but when coupled with with the kind of quiet that only Nature can produce, well, then the properties take on added qualities, qualities that make you breathe deeper, think slower if not kinder and move about in less harried fashion.

The sounds of a breeze cutting across tall sea grass, the distant cry of a gull, the “wooshing” sound of water rolling onto the beach, the rthymic slapping of a wake against the side of a boat. All are folded into “sea air.”

If your summer vacation isn’t near the ocean, then I’m sure there are quiet places that are unique to wherever you’re headed. You can make them your own too.