Where I’m Choosing to Spend My Attention This Week
Hi, Practice families!
I turned forty last week. This is not typically the kind of thing one admits on the Internet, I know– but rather than sparking an existential mid-life crisis, this birthday triggered a lot of gratitude for me. And that gratitude made for a really great week. It made me reflect on something I’ve talked about here before– that attention is a resource, and we can shift our experience (and our reactivity/behavior!) by choosing how we spend our attention.
I’ll confess– the past few years haven’t been the easiest. We are in the trenches of early parenthood at my house– my 3 year old is equal parts piddly procrastinator and epic tantrum-thrower, the baby still isn’t sleeping through the night, and everyone is tired (and therefore kind of grumpy!). And the two years since we opened our doors at Practice have been a rollercoaster of trial and error on a very steep learning curve… leaving me often feeling overextended and out of my comfort zone. At home and at work, there are always too many things to be done and never enough time for the doing.
It’s easy to get sucked into focusing on the failures, challenges, and uncertainties.
And yet these things are always only part of the picture.
At 40, I find myself immensely grateful to be in a space of growth and learning, and to have the opportunity to be building a space for kids, teens, and families and offering supports and programs that I fiercely believe in. I find myself grateful for my healthy, happy kids, for my supportive husband, for the mom friends I message in the middle of the night or trade parenting horror stories with at pick-up. Grateful for everyone on the team I’ve built at Practice, and grateful for all of you who are part of this community and with us on this journey.
I found it pretty easy to focus my attention over the past week on all of these gifts– let’s face it, people show up when it’s your birthday, especially when it’s a big one. My big kid must have given me a zillion birthday hugs and kisses, and I lost count of the number of times he sang me ‘Happy Birthday.’ I heard from friends near and far. My team sent me gorgeous flowers. I took a day totally off work and made time every day for things I enjoyed… without feeling guilty about it, because hey, you only turn 40 once. And because I was in a space of gratitude (and practicing some serious self-care!), everything went more smoothly. The baby looked extra cute. The preschooler’s tantrums were less annoying (and he threw fewer of them, because I was more patient). It was easier to ride out inevitable bumps at work.
The trick is to try to access this same mindset or attitude at the times where the gifts are less evident… and to remember that even when the gifts are less evident, they are no less present. You just have to point your attention in the right direction.
Take a moment and think– what are you grateful for in this moment? How can you help yourself remember to attend to the gifts in your life this week? Your attention is a resource… think intentionally about how you want to spend that resource this week.
Wishing all of you luck as you practice this mindset over the coming week– and sending you lots of gratitude for being part of our community.