I’m just curious. Since when is multi-tasking a virtue?
Somewhere down the line, we homemakers got help with laundry machines, electric mixers, and even telephones. And I’m not sure that all that time freed up really freed us up to do much of anything except *more*. I’ve looked at the photo of my husband’s great-grandmother, surrounded by her then eleven children, and truly the woman looks tired. But I figure with how hard it was just to keep diapers, grow and preserve food (because there weren’t fourteen grocery stores within a half mile), and just keep the dirt out of the house, the woman deserves the lament of lack of sleep.
So what’s the excuse now for falling into bed at the end of the day? Having to walk three miles to get anywhere? No, I believe it’s because most women these days have a “more is better” view of their day, and the only real lament there can be now is “the day is gone and I did NOTHING!”
Come now. Nothing? Truly? Unless you were sick in bed all day I am sure something was accomplished, and we might even argue the point that resting all day was accomplishing something: healing.
Multi-tasking is praised these days in all sorts of places. If you can text while sending off an email while updating your status or sending a tweet while the dishwasher hums and the children work on their schoolwork with the fragrance of supper escaping from the crockpot, well….we pat ourselves and each other on the back and celebrate with a few “free” hours to catch up on whatever haunts us as undone on those “lists” we make.
But what if presence, or intentionality, was more of a virtue? Actually being in one place, in the moment, with full and complete attention to the human being in front of you….instead of your mind wandering to the things left on your checklist or your eye to the clock or your ear perked to the dinging of your smartphone. What if you spent an entire hour outside on the porch watching the sunrise and heard nothing but autumn leaves slipping from the gnarled limbs? What if you had a day of unplugging everything (are you having heart palpitations)? What if the alarm clock didn’t go off in the morning and you closed your eyes at the crest of dark? What if a friend actually called you, on a tied-to-the-wall telephone, and took up a precious half hour?
I’m just curious. Multi-tasking is considered a virtue. But I wonder about the life we’ve lost in “accomplishing” so much, and I don’t even know if I have the time or the will to ponder that anymore.