I laughed slightly as I allowed myself to ponder the idea that it was only a matter of days before my apartment building was swallowed up by a hole the crumbling blocks around created for it. At the corner of the street was a crack and a brook of water bubbling forth, water that when it froze took car tires captive.
About halfway into the next was a hole large enough that a fountain of water sprung up. It was the kind of fountain that if it were July and not January would have little ones in their swimming trunks and bathing suits laughing, giggling, and splashing in city summer time fun. It was the kind of fountain that had the city’s water company come out and place huge concrete road blocks, yellow and black caution tape, and planks of wood over and around the hole from which the fountain sprang.
If you made it to the end of my block and made a left, yet another hole. No water, just a crater of sorts. I’m pretty sure it helped the block to bring in the New Year, and folks who wanted a new car probably got one because their tires and axles got jacked up courtesy of the crater.
Keep in that direction and go one more block…another hole. It’s the baby of the bunch, I’m sure. But if you aren’t paying attention, that’s your ankle, your knees, your face, and your tooth making it across the street without you.
I’m learning in life, if we’re not focused, we can become easily distracted by what is happening around us. If you were raised like I was, you were raised to pay attention to your surroundings; to be aware of where you are and what else is going on. Perhaps as you’ve gotten older you received some of the same messages in terms of paying attention. You’ve been encouraged to stay for the meeting after the meeting (the debrief of the meeting that was just minus a few folks). You were told to observe what your boss and her way with words when it comes to your work bff , to notice how her language suggest she has it little positive regard for your work bff so you may want to distance yourself, you know, to keep your job (the one you really don’t like and have been leaving for the last five years). You were told to maybe occasionally read Fred’s texts or his call log, just to be aware of the kind of company he keeps and who he communicates with. Besides, if there’s nothing to hide what’s the big deal? You told to stop renting and see how this one and that just bought a house, and houses are great investments, so you should be a house (even if you aren’t ready, don’t want one, or need one). Somehow a good habit, being aware, has us distracted. It has us losing friends, sabotaging relationships, and buying houses we don’t even want (and have no bff or boo to enjoy it with). The distraction ultimately costs us. We somehow end up with the holes in our relationships, goals, and paths to purpose.
We end up with the broken ankle, the misaligned axle, the frozen tires. Technically, all of which are repairable. All of which have costs- real costs. Distraction cost. Read that again. In fact, let me write that again- Distraction costs. What can seam innocent, easy enough, or smart at the onset can undermine, become a habit, and set us back.
My building is still standing. I don’t foresee the streets of west Philly swallowing it up. I am still standing. Well technically, I am sitting on this vinyl bench in my favorite Starbucks in Philly on a rainy unusually warm January afternoon, nevertheless, I am here knowing that I’ve paid the cost of distraction. It seemed cheaper than the cost of focus. It’s not. Just want to put that out there. I don’t care how hard it may be to focus, to say no, to live on a budget, to create some space in certain relationships (or let them go altogether), the cost of a distraction is always more and the ROI (return on investment) can’t even buy you a free cup of coffee.
You absolutely can make a comeback from going down a distraction rabbit hole, I just to encourage you to leave the hole alone altogether. Mind your business. You can make a note of the advice, knowledge, well meaning cautions tat people offer, but how does it directly impact your purpose, you goals, your dreams? If it doesn’t then keep it moving. You can’t afford to be distracted. You can’t afford to undue a friendship based on some one else’s opinion or relationship. You can’t afford to lose your romantic partner taking suggestions from folks who stay sabotaging their relationships and have trust issues with everyone including themselves. You can’t afford a house in an area that you don’t know you want to stay in or working a job that has high turnover and a revolving door approach to retention and is stingy with pay increases. Pay attention for the sake of your purpose. Even if the mayhem is near, stay focused. Pay attention for the sake of focusing on your destiny, your mission, your calling, not for discovering a new long, unnecessary, costly detour. Ain’t nobody got time for the scenic route to purpose. Enjoy the journey, trust the process, but don’t get distracted. xxoo