There’s an ongoing game in my family where we ask each other, “Are you at here?” Let me explain.
I was with my parents and a few hundred (probably thousand) strangers at a festival downtown a few weeks ago. Between the art vendors, live music, and funny smelling fried things, there was a lot going on. I slowly wandered from booth to booth, completely in tune with every sensory feeling of the moment. Sights. Sounds. Smells.
I was also in tune to the fact that I kept walking by a donut shop, but that’s a tangent that has nothing to do with this blog post.
While my parents and I were busy being minnows in the sea of people, my mom looked around and noticed how nearly every person around us was looking at their phone.
Almost every single person.
Frustrated, my mom looked at me. “Are they even at here?” she asked, exasperated. “No, no they’re not.”
I laughed at the question, mostly because my mother is an intelligent woman who not only was an English major in college, but also has a strong grasp of grammar. You know when she says something grammatically incorrect, you better listen.
She could have asked, “Where are you?” to which the obvious reply would have been, “I’m at the festival.” But her point was beyond that—nobody was “at here” mentally or in spirit. They may have been physically standing in the middle of the festival, surrounded by artwork and live music and funny smelling fried food, but their minds were elsewhere. Rather, they were “at there,” focused on another conversation, another event, another moment…all while completely missing the moment they were walking through. (Quite literally.)
Do you really want to go through you entire life never being “at here”?
I get it—I’m guilty of it sometimes, too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, texting…all of these outlets are vying for my attention. And, I think there’s a time and place for those interfaces.
I also think there’s a certain time and place for being in a place at a certain time.
Think about it: How fulfilling would it be to go through life never really stopping to smell the roses…err, the funny smelling fried food? Always looking to the next conversation, the next event, the next moment, all while staring at a 3” x 5” screen (and probably running into a pole or two because you’re not watching where you’re walking.)
With that I ask, “Are you at here?” and thus invite you to join my family’s game. (How about winner gets donuts? Yes, I’m still thinking about donuts.)
That’s my challenge for you today: Be “at here.” Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, be in that moment. Soak in every element of every memory you make with your family so that when I text you, “Are you at here?”…
…you don’t reply for at least an hour or two. 🙂