In Lauren Graham’s memoir Talking As Fast As I Can, she writes about how she created a character she named Old Lady Jackson when she realized she was giving grandmotherly advice to some of her much younger co-stars on the Parenthood set.
At one point in the book, Old Lady Jackson chimes in about how we are missing what’s right in front of us because we are so addicted to our phones.
“If absolutely everything important is only happening on such a small screen, isn’t that a shame?” she writes in her Old Lady Jackson voice. “Especially when the world is so overwhelmingly large and surprising? Are you missing too much?”
She continues, “Will you do me a small favor, dears, and look up? Especially you New Yorkers and Londoners and other city dwellers who cross all those busy streets? How else will you take in the majesty of the buildings that have stood there for hundreds of years? How else will you run into an acquaintance on the street who might turn into a friend or a lover or even just recommend a good restaurant that no one has complained about on that app yet? If you never look out the window of the subway car, how will you see the boats gliding by on the East River, or have an idea that only you could have?”
You can read a bigger excerpt here. But you’ve probably already got the gist. If you have a smart phone, you are probably guilty of not looking up frequently enough.
I certainly am.
You know how some people keep a gratitude journal? They jot down three or five things they are thankful for in any given day. What if we were to retrain our brains by jotting down three to five things we noticed each day by looking up?
I have a family who lives next door to me who planted red, yellow, and pink flowers in their back yard. I really don’t know what kind of flowers they are they are, but they look like roses to me, so let’s go with that. In the past week, I’ve taken the time to look out my window and just stare at the flowers. They are beautiful and calming, and I have no idea how long they’ve been there.
This coming week, I’m resolving to look up more often. How about you?