To The Daily Sun,
Recently I saw a cover picture on an issue of The New Yorker. It was entitled "Shelf Life." It got me to thinking about how many of us are waiting for the next big thing. We get so busy with the waiting that we forget to focus on the moments that we have or should have to enjoy. In order to do that, you need to learn how to dwell on what's important to you. That way, what's important to you has a longer shelf life. I have a few suggestions, as usual.
First, have breakfast before watching the morning news. That gives you a time to relate to yourself and anyone else who lives with you before the one-eyed monster delivers the weather, news and, of course, the car ads. The weather and the car ads are real but the news might be fake.
Secondly, you should reach out beyond your cell phone, TV and other electronic devices. I have intentionally kept my old-fashioned cell soI am not tempted to text anyone. My land line has an answering machine that I check once a day. Some day I may follow the trend and drop off that land line grid. My TV is a 32-inch model. It has no HD or Bluetooth capabilities. I do have one cutting edge tech piece called the Amazon Fire Stick. It allows me to watch a program without ads.
The streaming programs may be last year's, but they are new to me and that's the way I like it. I just listen to my friends gushing in real time and make a note to watch it to appear on Net Flick or Amazon Prime's program list the following year.
The third category of things that have longer than average self life are avocations or hobbies. Hobbies usually originate as activities that people focused on in their youth. I know, you say, most youth don't have any focus other than the opposite gender. My youth was focused on lots of things because I had a good, loving family that gave guidance and made sure it was followed. I carried a lot of memories into adulthood. Remembered were those many fishing trips with dad and working with plants on our farm. Neither of those activities had anything to do with my chosen career. That's as it should be because hobbies are supposed to relax you. To allow you to be in the moment and enjoying pleasure outside you chosen day job.
It seems that those who lacked the kind of youth I described seem to need a lot of noise and stimulation even when they trying to relax. They read while the ear-buds are blasting a flow of too loud music in their ears. Sometimes they only use one ear-bud because they have their Bluetooth in their other ear. Original thinking in that scenario has a shelf life of zero. No focus, no life, and no teachable moment is possible. Most of them are smart enough, but they never learned how to fully focus. The bad news is, shelf life considerations aside, the is no cure for an unfocused mind. It's kind of a preexisting condition with no assurance that it will have a cure. Each will have to be treated on a case-by-case basis. Some might be cured by going out walking by themselves or with a companion who makes interesting conversation. Others might go park in the Tanger Outlet Mall in Tilton
and, instead of shopping, go in the art gallery. It isn't the size of the place that calms you, it's the quality of what's on the walls. All of the works are from local artist who found focus in an avocation. By the way, everything is for sale and most days that they are open one or more of the artists are greeting you as you walk in. So, first get a hobby and then add some shelf life to it. While you are at it you might add some shelf life to yourself.
- Category: Letters
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