Will I become one of those parents that…..?

I’ll often pop out of the office for a few minutes at lunchtime to get some fresh air and exercise; working in the heart of London means there is always a wealth of things to see and observe – especially along the Southbank. Today was especially busy, there were the usual tourists, the lunchtime joggers, fellow office workers, ladies that leisure, dog walkers, and then a plentiful supply of kids and parents with it being half term.

Whilst so many people walk hurriedly along face down, staring at their phones – I love to observe and explore my surroundings. With so many kids running around, and having recently become a parent myself I couldn’t help but notice all the little idiosyncrasies of those exploring the big smoke on their day out. With only a 3 month old and little parenting experience, I found myself questioning whether I would become one of those parents that allowed their kids to behave in a certain way, or demand a certain thing. I’m not saying any of this is right or wrong, but more just an observation of behaviour that will no doubt become a reality in the years ahead. Many of which brought a smile to my face 😀

And so whilst out for no more than 10 or 15 minutes, I asked myself will I become one of those parents that:

· Having insisted on bringing their scooter with them and no doubt promising to ride it themselves – yet now being pulled along proudly by parents on their little chariot.

· Push chairs being dutifully pushed along at a snails pace with the seat filled with bags, coats and shopping – a stubborn child determined to walk themselves.

· A parent sat on a bench holding a coat, clearly having lost the battle with her son’s insistence that he isn’t cold; it’s definitely not warm enough to be in just a T-shirt!

· A loud petition for an ice cream for all to hear whilst passing an ice cream van – an initial ‘NO’ turning into a ‘YES’

· A group of youths sat down at a table for lunch, all happily engrossed in their smartphones with no need to look at or communicate with each other.

One day no doubt I’ll be the parent being observed – pulling along the scooter chariot whilst tucking into an ice cream, my kid will be wearing their coat though haha!

“Don’t yell at your kids! Lean in real close and whisper, it’s much scarier.”

Finding those quiet moments of escapism

I’m pleased to report that my take on Dry January continues to be successful; it’s now been just over two weeks.  I haven’t missed it, but I did however miss the announcement of a good friends’ daughter being born – luckily my wife fills me in from time to time on the meaningful.

I’ve been reading about escapism and mindfulness recently and it’s interesting that the former can have negative connotations.  For instance, our attempt at escapism may in fact be us trying to avoid responsibility or reality; often in the form of procrastination.  This will vary for everyone but being immersed in our iPhone or iPad, constant thumbing through social media news feeds, video games, rubbish TV, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong after a tough day at work or a bad night with the baby, these are much needed and essential sometimes!

However, these activities and many others are now our norm and reality.  You only have to walk down the road and realise that 9 out of 10 people are walking head down, looking at their phone.  So escapism and mindfulness is attempting to take time off and away from these activities; rather allowing the mind and our consciousness to expand and not be preoccupied and therefore limited.

“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”

 Jiddu Krishnamurti

I’m fortunate enough to work in a London office only a stones throw away from the Tate Modern.  Where possible I always try to get away from my desk at lunch time to get some fresh air and I’ll often pop into the Tate for some inspiration (escapism) whilst surrounded by creativity.

Last Friday in fact I popped in for just 15 mins to explore a section and came across: Babel 2001 – a Tower of radios by Cildo Meireles….


A beautiful blend of old and new radios all tuned to different stations and playing to represent the world of information overload we live in. This really resonated with me and it was great to find a piece of artwork so aptly aligned with my recent thoughts.

With the constant battle for our attention, it’s high time to tune out the noise and find those quiet moments of escapism.

 

Wearable Tech – life with Fitbit!

Like many people I started the new year on a bit of a health mission, and after a few wobbles I’m happy to report that I haven’t fallen off the wagon yet!  What has helped spur me on, and also added a healthy bit of competition between my wife and I is a Fitbit.  It’s a fantastic piece of wearable tech that helps track your daily activity such as steps, active minutes, calories and your sleeping patterns would you believe.  I’ve started taking the stairs rather than the lift at work, I’m attending the gym a lot more and going for long walks in the park with my dear wife at the weekend – it has really revolutionised my daily exercise and health routine.

In fact, at the very start when we both got them – our competitive pride and determination to complete more steps than each other resulted in one evening us both running on the spot at 1am in the morning rather than getting into bed and going to sleep.  It was almost an hour before I decided to take one for the team and get into bed.  The things we have to do sometimes as husbands!

The internet of things, of which wearable tech is just one aspect of the ‘wearables, shareables, connectables and drivables’ future phenomenon is a fascinating development and promises to be simply blow our minds.  It’s exciting to see the pioneering concepts of Google Glass, contact lenses that can measure blood sugar levels for diabetes sufferers, connected cars, smart refridgerators – I could go on and on.  But in the meantime, I’ll wear my Fitbit with pride – and smile every time my wife (a teacher) shares a story where a child at school asks what is on her wrist, and upon hearing what is it, jokes, “Ah miss, I thought it was an asbo!”