Recently I have subscribed to Jeff Goins‘ blog, and have read some pretty inspirational and thoughtful posts week after week. There was one post in particular that stuck out in my mind from a while back that I’ve been meaning to write about but just haven’t gotten around to it. But the message behind it lines up pretty accurately with one of my main resolutions this year, so I felt this was the perfect time to finally get these thoughts out. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

What really matters

I’ve lost count of the how many photos I’ve seen on Facebook of kids with chocolate-smeared faces. But I remember the friends and family mourning the drowning of a young man down the road.

It’s those things that tug at our hearts we will remember most. It’s the tears we’ve shed with family. It’s the all night conversations we have with friends we see once every three years.

Here’s what I’m trying to say: I want my priorities back in line.

Day by day, I’m learning to re-prioritize. I’m making efforts to talk on the phone more versus texting. I’m closing the laptop when I’m finished with a project instead of staring into cyberspace. I’m allowing myself to be more vulnerable in my relationships. I’m choosing to live.

I’m not where I need to be, but I’m not where I used to be, either. Thank God. I want the word “busyness” out of my vocabulary. I want to be available. Focused. Present.

Now I really can’t say much more about this topic, and am definitely not as articulate as Jeff, but what I can say is how spot on this message is. Being in a new city, I’ve found myself sometimes wondering what’s going on back east in Richmond and Raleigh. What are all my old friends doing? What am I missing out on tonight? I’m constantly checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to the point that it’s become second nature to do so. And what I’m starting to realize is that I’m not taking full advantage of the opportunities that lie in front of me. I’m living in a new city, but I’m still trying to be in my old cities. And from an entire life of multi-tasking and stretching myself thin, I should know by now that it’s much better and more effective to put 100% of our energy into what we’re doing at that moment, or who we’re with at that particular time.

Cell phones, social media, and technology in general have transformed our lives for the better, but at the same time it’s distracted us from our priorities: the people in front of us and the beautiful things that happen every day.

So just like Jeff Goins, I want to put my priorities back in line. I want to shut my phone off during  meals with friends, and go for a walk in the city instead of catching up on trashy television. I want to stop worrying about what I’m missing out on, and instead create new memories with the new people I meet here in St. Louis. I want to stop sitting on my ass wondering what I should do, or who I should be, and just freaking live. Now isn’t the time to be stagnant. Now is the time to make the most of your time, by being present, being focused, and being available.

This is definitely something that can’t be fixed in a day, but it IS something that can be life changing. Now more than ever, I’ve realized that my life and all those around me are changing and growing up in the blink of an eye. Now more than ever, I’ve realized the value of relationships, and the importance of keeping in touch. And now more than ever, I’ve realized that in order to truly live, we need to be present. A few years from now we won’t remember that ridiculous YouTube video, or that random FB wall post a friend made. We won’t remember the number of likes we got on an Instagram picture, or how many people retweeted Honey BooBoos ridiculous tweet. What we will remember are those long conversations we have with loved ones, or those memorable nights out with friends. We’ll remember the times when we tried something completely out of our comfort zone, when we splurged on a road trip across country to visit an old friend, and when we sacrificed a day watching GameDay in order to volunteer at a local charity. We’ll remember the times we stepped away from the material things in life in order to focus on what’s more important to us.

I’m looking forward to 2013 and what I make of it. I’m not sure where it will lead to, but one thing I do know is that the answer isn’t on my phone or computer.

Here’s to a brand new year of a new outlook on life: one that is more present, focused, and available.

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