Bitter Medicine

Tired of texting - Dallas Hartwig

Sometimes, a dose of your own medicine tastes pretty bitter.

A friend sent me this card last week amidst an ongoing, very frank conversation about my busy schedule and limited availability (physical, mental and emotional) for meaningful connection. Here’s the reality: I’m stupidbusy working on figuring out my future. I spent the last 7 years building a program and company (that I had to part ways with last year), and now I have to figure out what to do next. There is absolutely some inherent stress involved in reconfiguring my plans for the future. I’m optimistic and creatively engaged and in a really good headspace these days, but I’d be lying if I said that the stress of starting over hasn’t taken a toll on my ability to be present and engaged with people who matter. And that’s bit of a tough pill to swallow, especially considering that I’ve chosen to champion human relationships in the modern world.

I talk about setting aside time and space and emotional energy to connect meaningfully with people, and I do that to the best of my ability, but here’s a reality check for me: I haven’t always done that as well as I wish I had.

Two different friends have recently taken me to task for not “practicing what I preach.” I talk about setting aside time and space and emotional energy to connect meaningfully with people, and I do that to the best of my ability, but here’s a reality check for me: I haven’t always done that as well as I wish I had. I fly a lot. A LOT. When I don’t have custody of my son, I’m often on the road meeting with experts, attending conferences, and generally learning my ass off in order to build a new platform of ideas (that will eventually become a revenue stream, I hope).

Thankfully, I have the opportunity to interface with really, really incredible people, and I’m building out some awesome stuff going forward. So yeah, things are looking up. But here’s the core issue: I’ve let my perceived need to rebuild my life influence my willingness to be brutally vulnerable and to really connect with people who care about me. I’ve sometimes let fear run the show. I’ve neglected people, and I’ve hurt people in doing so. Ugh.

I generally do a pretty good job of not being distracted by my phone when I’m present with friends, and I’m getting progressively less interested in social media in general, but what’s become apparent to me is that the stuff going on in the background of my mind also takes a toll on my ability to be fully present and engaged. And even if I spend some uninterrupted “quality time” with someone, that stuff going on the background takes away from my ability to just be there. Fear of the unknown future has corroded my presence… and presence is everything in relationships.

It looks like I owe some apologies.

Dallas Hartwig is the co-creator of Whole9Life and the Whole30 program. New York Times bestselling author. Free-range human.