Black mirror

Christmas Presents

Black mirror

Fatherhood is an amazing thing. It is one of the many experiences in life which no one is prepared for. Much like medical school. You can be told all about it, but until you actually do it, you don’t truly understand it.

I am blessed to have a son through the wonders of science and I am going to make the most of my time with him as a toddler. That is why today I want to discuss the joys of being present.

I talk about mindfulness throughout this blog. It is a key component of my life. But even with all of that preaching, I was finding that in the first 2 years of my son’s life, I was not always present.

The black mirror of my phone drew me in. Answering a notification, whether it was an email ping or text, I was always drawn in. Hooked on this thing that did not even exist 10 years ago. At least not to the extent it is now. Terrible. Brutal. And distracting from my son.

My wife was good at pointing this out. She was on me like a hawk. Reminding me of how lucky we are to have him and how quickly his childhood will go by. I agreed and so I changed.

Now when I come home the cell phone goes up on the counter and I am there with my son. Fully present.

The first 10 minutes of coming home he runs around (as I follow) and he shows me all of the cool things he did today. Like a pinball, we are bouncing into all of the targets and making a ruckus. It is fun. A lot of fun and I would miss it all if hooked on my phone.

From home to work

Interestingly, my habits at home have bled into my work life. Now when I am in the clinic, I leave my cell phone in my office.

I am not even momentarily distracted by a vibration in my pocket while engaging a patient. I want to be present and focused. Listening to their concerns and making as good of a clinical decision as I can.

It has been transformative to my enjoyment of work and one I would recommend all clinicians (and in fact all workers) try.

Leave that cell phone, that black mirror, at your desk or in your drawer. Ignore it and not the people around you. You will find the world will wait for you and you will truly not miss anything.

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