Physical Therapy Doctor - December 2019


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December 2019


Multi-Tasking, Memory, and What Matters KEEP LIFE IN FOCUS

I have a bone to pick with “multi-tasking.” Whoever got it into our heads that you need to juggle multiple tasks and conversations at once to be

The memories people have of us outlive our bodies. When we lose a loved one, our recollection of the times we spent with them are a real, tangible comfort. But meaningful memories come from meaningful

successful owes humanity an apology. Maybe I’m biased because I have the opportunity to work with people from a generation where simple one-at-a-time interactions were the norm. But the more I look around, the more I see how interruption is a centerpiece of our culture today.

“Meaningful memories come from meaningful interactions — I just can’t see someone reminiscing about a Twitter thread.”

interactions — I just can’t see someone reminiscing about a Twitter thread. That’s why I’m thankful for the work I do. Working one on one with patients over the years has left me with so many great memories. I’ve never had to stop and check emails or Google

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, “multi-tasking” was the hot new buzzword. Adults would tell us we had to learn it if we wanted to be successful in this world. The age of the personal computer was going to reward those who could constantly shift their attention from one subject to the next. Boy, we didn’t know how wrong we were. I know this thanks to my sons. They are often getting their attention pulled away from whatever they’re doing thanks to their cell phones — and I don’t blame them. Imagine being a teenager with the whole world at your fingertips. Do you think you’d be able to focus on a textbook or a conversation with your “old man” when a little box in your hand could connect you instantly with any of your friends, favorite games, books, movies, or TV shows? I’d certainly have a hard time. I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon about the changing times, but I do think there’s a certain irony to how multi-tasking was sold to my generation. For kids to succeed today, they have to do the opposite of multi-task — the ones who can block out the millions of distractions and just do their school work will be light-years ahead of their peers. I could go on about the stress, anxiety, and possibly even depression this “always online” age is causing, but that’s a whole other article entirely. What I want to focus on is what multi-tasking is doing to our memories of one another.

something — when you’re doing physical therapy, you are in the moment. This brings a thought to mind from a funny TV show called “Parks and Recreation,” where Ron Swanson expresses how he can’t understand people buying paintings of nature. He says, “Why do people stay inside and look at a painting of nature? Why not just go outside and look at the real thing?” In other words, go live life and experience the real thing. The same goes for an in person conversation — there is no substitute. Keep life simple and keep it plainly in front of you. Over the years I’ve had several former patients pass on, and I miss them dearly. But I’ll always have the memories of the time we spent together, the inside joke we made, and the laughs we shared. I feel lucky to be in an industry that allows me to slow down and give people my undivided attention. I’ll always cherish the memories I’ve created here.

This is all to say, focus on what matters. You won’t regret it.

–Dr. Robert Morea 718.747.2019 ▪ THEPTDOCTOR.COM ▪ 1

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