A friend signed an email to me with this quote the other day. I saw it and thought, “That’s cute, but I don’t have time to be still.” And who does anyway?

My friend, Anda, recently posted a series of photographs she took over a ten-day period of her daily life. Her ability to make the mundane superb is remarkable, and it inspired me to want to take on the same challenge, but immediately my gut told me that I would never be able to complete such a task. Not because I mind lugging a camera around for a few days or because I face a lack of things to photograph, but because I know I wouldn’t be able to stop long enough to really see the beauty and opportunities around me.

As I write this, I am doing about four things at once. I’ve come to realize that I don’t really know how to function on a singular-task-at-a-time basis anymore, a sad side effect of my Millennial upbringing. This morning I was reading an Op-Ed by the always entertaining James Victore on The 99% called Accepting Less to Have More. In the piece Victore writes:

 There is no longer a time and a place for a phone call. The emails, chats, texts, games, pads, pods, and clouds have become a leash jerking us out of our quiet time. They demand our attention, but limit our focus, leaving us no time for reflection, contemplation, study, or the solitude necessary for deep thought and not just a temporary and shallow retreat.

Our brains are being rewired. There is no longer a difference between “urgent” and “important.”  We’re learning new habits and sadly forgetting the instincts we were born with. We hand off our iPhones to toddlers, so that we are relieved from the duty of parenting. Thus our kids never learn to handle boredom. We are led off the path and, worse, we gladly pay monthly for this servitude

Ring a bell to anyone? When was the last time you sat quietly and just took in your surroundings without a screen in front of you? My mentality has always been to work harder to get higher and better and more, but I’m starting to realize that doing that only does myself and those around me a huge disservice. Working and pushing yourself to do more, without taking time out for solitude, reflection and the building of personal relationships, only makes you crazy and tired, which really doesn’t bode well for you or anyone around you. Staring at a computer screen all day will only turn your brain to mush and stunt your creativity and mental flexibility. It’s easy to deflect your energy and focus onto something passive like a computer or a phone, but it’s far more difficult to force yourself to take a moment just to breathe. I feel confident I’m not alone in my struggles against all the noise in the world, and though it’s a seemingly uphill battle, I have to believe it’s a winnable one.

“Accepting less means less clutter and meaningless stuff in our lives. Less distractions, less debt, less greed and craving, less servitude to work.

 Never settle. Never give in. But accept less.” – James Victore