90s Livin’.

I came of age in the 90s.

And by ‘came of age’ I mean I survived the awkward annals of adolescence.

I was officially a teenager in Y2K.

(Did you have a Y2K closet? We totally did. I’m pretty sure my parents still use the kerosene lanterns, so at least it wasn’t a complete waste. Love you, Mom and Dad.)

Anyway, while I have no desire (none. zero. zilch.) to return to my teenage years (or really, even to my 20s) lately I’ve been reminiscing about the simplicity of those times.

And I’m speaking specifically to the focus I felt.

But let me back up a step.

If I were tested for Attention Deficit Disorder back then, I’m pretty sure I’d pass without a hitch. I was a good kid–a quiet student–but instead of listening to the lesson, I’d write notes to my friends or finish reading the library book I kept hidden in the deep mouth of my elementary school desk.

What I’m getting at is that I struggled in school, until the 10th grade when I “decided” I wanted to be smart. I wanted good grades. So I fought the urge to fuck around during class and actually started to listen.

So this focus I’m talking about? It was not the focus of some whiz-kid honor student.

I’m talking about having limited options. It was a forced focus, due to the resources of the time.

No cell phone.

Certainly no iPhone.

The internet was this dial-up experience that cancelled out the ability to talk on the phone that hung on the wall.

Because, come on.

Who needs to do two things at once?

(Let that sink in a moment.)

Who needs to do two things at once?

I know every generation scoffs at how “easy” the next one has it.

“Kids these days!”

So let me be clear, that I do not begrudge our technological advances. I have all of the gadgets, and love them.

I Mapquest the shit out of any road trip.

I get the urge for Queen? Eminem? Gordon Lightfoot?

Just ask Alexa.

It’s awesome. We all know it.

But the other day, as I was experiencing a moment of reverie, I was trying to identify my triggers for anxiety.

And I realized that a major one?

Comes from the overwhelming options all around me.

I get paralyzed because I could be (should be?)…

reading, writing, painting, cleaning, exercising, traveling, visiting, texting, crocheting, sleeping, talking, watching, singing, planting, posting, photographing, researching, video-gaming, planning, shopping, resting, listening…

You get the idea.

And in 2019, if you have wifi and a credit card, you have no excuse not to do it all.

So I’ve decided to kick it old-school.

One. thing. at. a. time.

One tab open on my laptop.

Do Not Disturb activated on my iPhone.

All notifications turned off.

Because when we went on Family Vacation in the 90s?

We went on vacation.

People left a message on the answering machine, and we checked when we got back.

Everybody survived.

“Emergencies” were accurately named, and never occurred.

So who’s with me?

I’m sure I’ll slip up here and there, but I’m really going to try to slow down. To focus on the task at hand.

Because as Grandma’s embroidered pillow said, Haste makes waste.

And sometimes less really is more.

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