[Open at the close] Joy of a scavenger hunt.
A reminder to pay attention.
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The kids fell sick at varying points over the last 2 weeks, leaving us quite drained. I was feeling frustrated from the lack of productivity, but after calming down, I realised that with some better scheduling, focus, and family support, I could still squeeze in some personal time.
I managed to get in a few good training sessions, complete some slides for a presentation, and upgrade my personal webpage. The week ended with a nice win by getting my first BJJ promotion.
This reminded me that difficult moments often seem worse at the start than they actually are. Eventually they will pass, or there is lots of opportunity within them. What is important is to stay calm and resilient.
This week, my reflection is a short note to Joy about reclaiming our attention in this age of distraction.
I was flipping this book called the “The Art of Noticing” the other day while your Mum was shopping. It was a series of little exercises one could do, to regain or improve our ability to pay attention and experience the world around us.
The first of these was to treat life as a scavenger hunt, to be on the lookout for a particular thing in the world. For the author, he looked for cctv cameras wherever he went, making him more observant about his surroundings, and finding out just how many cameras are watching us.
You probably won’t remember, but you’re currently on your own scavenger hunt. Yours is for the numerous signs we have in Singapore. Whenever we drive or walk, you would point out every single sign we see, and ask me what it is. You’ve started to figure them all out now - stop signs, pedestrian crossings, danger signs, no littering signs.
After reading that book, I realise that you’re doing a much better job at noticing the world than I am. If not for you pointing them out, I wouldn’t have registered the many signs we go past each day. Your questions about them get me thinking about why these signs are needed, why are they placed where they are. From these interactions, I start to learn and think more about my surroundings.
These moments help show how much my own attention and curiosity has waned as I get older. Likely, yours will also reduce as you get older.
It will only get easier and easier for everyone else to make or distribute things to try and capture your attention. There will be lots of people trying to tell you what you should be focusing on. Even now the digital world is starting its lure on you. By the time you read this there may even be a whole metaverse dedicated to stealing your attention.
That ability to pay attention to the world around you, on your own terms, not based on what anyone else shoves down your mind, is going to be precious. If you ever feel yourself losing it, this is my reminder that you always had this in you. Bring yourself back to your childhood, and make life a scavenger hunt again.
And while I remind you of this. I’m learning from you too. You’re reminding me that there’s much more to notice, and that there’s so much around me that I don't know about. Perhaps, in my efforts to help you learn more about the world we brought you into, you are the one teaching me.
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Take care and have a good week!