Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming response to last week’s blog piece. I wanted to write something significant to my new baby, and your positivity has been incredible.
It is truly a blessed season that we’ve entered as a family and it’s not a cliché at all when I say that we count our blessings and take nothing for granted. We have a healthy and happy baby and I have a happy and healthy wife. Everything else is just peripheral…
Ever had a break up, a bad one, and it’s taken you some time to get over it? It seems like forever before you’re ok, but eventually, you see the person down the line somewhere, and the feelings are gone. It’s a momentous occasion and you realise how far you’ve come.
My first game back of footy was exactly like that.
AFL footy game was being played out in front of me but I couldn’t connect with what was transpiring on the field. The build-up, the excitement from the commentators both before and during the game, the importance of the match in terms of the finals aspirations for both teams, the efforts from the players, the noise of the fans… I just wasn’t with it.
I was healed.
Or so I thought.
Soon after my first weekend back of sport, I kind of decided that the blog would come to an end. It’s still my intention to wrap things up, but there is a significantly strong pull and allure in the world of sport that is nipping at my heels already.
A little context
Last week, I did not go in to work at all. A baby was born and I was needed on the frontline. I was rapt with this development. I had a son, he was awesome, mum was coping, my family was home, what else could I want??
It took me a little while to realise how distracted I was. The fact that mum wascoping meant that I could be pro-active elsewhere around the house; do washing, clean up, walk the dog, do the kitchen, prep meals for Mrs YWS and change nappies.
But even though that list may seem impressive, it’s nothing compared to the constancy of it for a mum. 50 push-ups a week aren’t going to compete with what Mrs YWS is equipped for in terms of providing for little Josh’s needs! I can be present and on-call if needed, but there’s so much that a dad can do.
This meant I had a fair bit of free time and while I didn’t break my early rules of more than 2 games of anything a week, there’s always the internet.
You see, at the moment, while the AFL football season is in full swing, the NBA Conference Finals have also just ended and now it’s time for the NBA Finals. Throughout last week, almost the last two weeks really, there’s been a game on every day. You think the Australian media is insatiable when it comes to devouring sports!? It’s nothing compared to the depth of analysis and saturation that the SportsCenter culture provides.
So, there are innumerable quality recaps, round table discussions, hypothesising and predicting that I can bring up on my screen here. Without limits, and I had very few last week, time can just fly by. I missed an epic NBA Finals last year and I want to really enjoy this year’s.
Needed a hug!
It wasn’t until last Friday had rolled through and a busy day had almost ended that I realised that I hadn’t had a decent cuddle with my son that day at all. I had been in and out of the house, but still, I was due to be back at work within a few days. Where were my priorities?
I decided then to shut off the screens on Saturday – don’t use the net on my iPhone and don’t boot up the computer all day.
It worked a charm.
Instead of waiting to be asked to do this or that for Josh, I was right there, in the room, and knew what needed to be done before words were spoken. That sounds like a big nappy awaits – I’m on it. It’s nearing lunchtime – what do you need? Your arms look tired – it’s my turn to hold him!
And even if it wasn’t about doing something, sometimes it was just about being there. Just being in the room for him to hear my voice and to talk to Mrs YWS… It’s an option I don’t have now I’m back at work.
The past couple of weeks, the battery on my iPhone was lasting well less than a day. This was frustrating – I only got the thing at the start of the year. You normally get a little while longer before the battery life goes to pot.
Having hardly used the phone all day, I went to switch it off before I went to bed Saturday night, unless it had died already. When I looked at it, 77% of the battery life remained. 77%! How much had I been using this thing previously?! You tell me… Too much, obviously.
The ability to be connected 24/7 had clearly made its mark within the first couple of weeks of being back at sport.
For many of us, that 24/7 connection makes it mark on us in numerous different ways. Whether it be immersing ourselves in online news, social media, the non-stop revolving news cycle, the ability to shop 24/7, if not in person, then certainly online.
I laugh when people talk about what a cultured city Melbourne is and how we need to have stores open all day Sunday and into the night on many nights. It’s probably more the retailing giants trying to convince us that we need all this time to buy all this stuff that we don’t need.
I was lucky enough to spend time in two of the coolest cities in the world last year – Berlin and Copenhagen. Most of their stores are well and truly shut by late afternoon Saturday. And Sunday? You’ve got to be kidding!? Hang with your family. Go outside. Get a life!
I had set limits on actual game watching, but as for screen time, including my phone, no limits had (yet) been set. Well, that changed on Saturday. I need and desperately want to not have togo to these extreme lengths to get these issues under control. Moderation. Moderation. Moderation. But until that evolves naturally, and apparently it hasn’t happened yet, then rules and boundaries can only protect me.
Where else do we need them? How else can you ensure that you make the space in your life to engage with what’s important by limiting your connectedness to that which is not transcendent? I had 12 months to prepare for this time and still within a few short weeks I was on the back foot again.
Sport, shopping, music, social media; they all can have a part to play in a healthy, balanced life. If we aren’t intentional about limiting their influence in our lives, they can quickly and voraciously consume you.
And so the blog continues…