The Next Distraction

Next! The root of all evil. Too many people are stuck in the mindset of next. The next relationship, job, car or day. Thinking ahead, gets us further behind. Let me explain.

I’ll start first by dropping dime on myself. While I am probably one of the most laid back people you would ever meet, I too am guilty of the “next” from time to time. The wife and I returned from a vacation last week, and what should have been an amazing time, left me with mixed feelings. While we take a 3 day weekend every month, this trip provided for me to have 6 days off. The first time my schedule allowed for me to be unavailable for an extended period of time. While we mostly travel at a snails pace, this trip I lined up a full agenda. And you know what? I ended up watching the clock the whole time and thinking of the next stop. Was the trip a waste? Absolutely not. Was it rushed? Oh yeah.

The “next” is problematic because it keeps us from enjoying the present moment. Or, if the present moment is not particularly pleasant, it keeps us from focusing on what is important. It really doesn’t matter the circumstances…the “next” is an attention robber. It could be something as simple as talking to your spouse, and you’re scrolling though your phone. Seems harmless. But how many times have your partner or yourself gone unheard because one of you is off to the “next” distraction? Believe it or not, this happens in any environment.

I am fortunate that I live in a beach town. I am surrounded by water and can be on the beach within two minutes. And would you believe that there are people so consumed with the “next” distraction, that they totally miss the magic at the beach? The sunset, the painted sky, the sounds of the seagulls or the lapping of the sound of the water. We have got to unplug. We have got to be present. Put the “next” distraction down. Lift your head up and just observe.

There is a saying that you get past your last relationship by getting into the next relationship. Ah…the power of the “next” is indeed enticing. But there is a hefty price tag that comes with it. You see, one day there will be an event so tragic, that you will not get to the “next”. One day will be your last. And if we’re not careful, we will realize that our life was nothing more than a string of “next” that robbed us of the “now”, and all that is left is the end.


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Vance Larson


I am a retired crisis counselor of 20 years who has spent the last decade working as both a Life…

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