I ate lunch with a colleague the other day at our T-Mobile US office in Atlanta. We didn’t work on stuff or surf technology while eating. We just broke bread (or salad, in this case) and talked.
At first blush, this sounds like a real “so what?” observation; but this almost never happens! Most of the time, unless I’m at some kind of business function, lunch is something I do while getting other things done. I’m eating food, but I’m also consuming and producing emails or learning resources, or even conducting phone calls (yeah, I go on mute when I’m taking a bite).
The common result is that I can usually tell you what I’ve had for lunch on recent days, but I can’t tell you much about the experience of eating itself. I’m not mindful of the source of the food or the gratitude that I’m able to afford it and consume it.
This is a habit I ingrained in my early 20s. I’ve eaten thousands of lunches at my desk since then, and quite a few breakfasts as well and a sprinkling of dinners.
Is “just eating when you eat” pragmatic in today’s overdrive, adrenaline-laden global economy?
Whether it’s pragmatic or not, it felt nice to just eat lunch with someone and talk. I think I noticed the salad and the confluence of all of its tasty ingredients more than usual. And I paid attention to the person before me. Noticing and paying attention are good habits to cultivate, I believe.