I’ve been thinking lately about attention. What we pay attention to, how, why. What happens to our capacity to attend closely to something or someone.
Friends sometimes ask why I’m not more engaged in social media, why I don’t use FB or Twitter or LinkedIn at this stage in my professional life. It’s probably not practical, but it’s the truth — I only have so much attention to go around these days, and I feel like each day is a battle to preserve what powers of concentration I am allowed in order to do good, effective, thoughtful work and to listen to people … whether people in my daily life or the people in the story I’m working on. Adding one or two more “platforms” (I’m growing weary of that word) to the existing daily flood of emails and phone calls and text messages seems like it would just put me over the edge. My brain would contract permanent hiccoughs and would never be able to focus on something for more than ten seconds at a time. I’m not willing to do that. I think we are all as addicted to our smart phones as we would be if we were smoking. It’s the same neuropathic reward system — the rush of endorphins. What little time I do have, I want to be in charge of what I attend to, what I listen to, whom I spend time with. (Forgive all the prepositions I’m using to end sentences. It’s Saturday.) I don’t want other people telling me what I should be looking at or reading. I want to choose.