A Conversation with Julie Morgenstern
Author: Dustin Odham
February 8, 2021
Julie Morganstern gave me so much to think about, but her most powerful contribution to my life has been teaching me that I have so much more power than I realize. In fact, I have the power to slow down time.
Let’s start with why I started this blog. With my weekly podcast, Change Starts Here, I want to give my guests a platform to speak passionately and eloquently about their chosen topic — and have you almost forget I’m there. I want you to get as lost as I am in learning from these thoughtful and motivating individuals.
One downside of having such thoughtful guests, though, is that we almost always run out of time to talk through all of their insights. So, here we are.
Each week, I’ll use this outlet to share an insight or two that I received from the interview or my reading, viewing, absorbing or otherwise consuming of the guest’s work. I’ll share with you how I’ve decided to apply them to my life in the hope that you might find something that rings true in yours.
Seven years ago, my wife Ashley and I welcomed our oldest son, Luke, into the world. Including Luke, we now have three boys, with Noah, our spunky little 4-year-old, and James, our super smiley 6-month-old. For much of the past seven years, I have ended each day completely exhausted from work and life and wondering where the time is going.
I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that I love. I work for company that loves to support and serve its people. I am married to a woman who inspires me daily. And I have three young boys who bring a huge smile to my face at every turn. So, what’s the problem?
The problem is time. Time is moving way too quickly. I often rest my head on my pillow, take a look back at my day and think, “Where did the time go today?” Since Luke was born, I have fallen victim to the thinking that this is the way life has to be.
But not anymore.
I now know that I have the power to slow down time. In fact, we all have it. We simply have to do the easiest, yet hardest thing to do — be fully present for the moments of every single day. For most people, including me, the hardest thing to do is to be fully present. Why is that?
If you’re a parent like me, here are a few of the reasons it’s hard to be fully present (thank you for helping me uncover these, Julie):
- We are literally — I wish figuratively — juggling a million things personally and professionally.
- If I am fully present, then I am forced to deal with my own shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy, especially as a parent.
- Being present takes energy, and I am so tired.
- I (and even more so my amazing wife) hold ourselves to impossibly high standards.
- I am missing skills, knowledge and training on how to be a parent.
The parenting manual that is “Time to Parent” has helped me understand realities like:
- Kids only need about a minute of undivided attention for every year of age that they are.
- When giving kids undivided attention, it should most always be focused on relating to them instead of teaching them. Relating requires me to fully enter my kids’ world to play and learn from them. I will have plenty of time to teach them, but that can wait for another time.
- Set a roadmap for the evenings. This allows my wife and I the freedom to know that we will have time to come back to addressing the stresses of work, but from the time we get home to the time we get to bed, we aim to be fully present with our kids.
- As we transition home from a long day of work, we make sure we take time to get centered and to set our intentions for the evening. This allows us to come in the front door and to fully (or as best we can, anyway) embrace the energy of our three boys.
So, can I slow time down? Not really. But do I end each day knowing that I have savored almost every moment? Absolutely.
It’s not easy, but every day from here on out, I will fight for one thing and one thing only. I will fight to be fully present for every moment of every day. I believe this superpower can change everything.
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