Do what you are doing

I’m so excited! I recently commissioned the lovely Simone of Heart of Grace Co to paint a framed Latin quote in watercolour to decorate my new bedroom, and I picked it up last night.

I’d been thinking of doing this for some time as this particular quote has come to mean quite a lot to me. I think it’s extremely useful advice for singles and married people, too:

Age quod agis

or

Do what you are doing

It means focus on the task at hand. Don’t get distracted. Literally, do what you are doing. Good advice for someone as easily distracted as sanguine little me.

I can’t even remember where I first heard this quote, but it tied in very nicely with what what has become a strong focus for me in recent years: mindfulness, or being in the present.

This is an area I’ve worked on fairly extensively with my psychologist. Mindfulness essentially means getting out of your head, not living in the past or the future but the now. Not agonising over what I should or shouldn’t have said to so-and-so, not mentally preparing a script for a conversation I’m about to have, and not jumping into a new task when I’m still halfway through the current one. I think this is partly a symptom of our modern age. With so much technology surrounding us at any given moment, our attention span is being lessened as our brains are rewired. It can be so easy nowadays to get distracted from the task at hand. It’s so important to stay present to whatever we are doing – for the sake of our friendships, our relationships, and our own mental health.

To be clear, this is not some secular, new-agey meditation practise; it can be as simple as breathing deeply for a few moments, stopping and focusing on each sense one at a time or going for a nature walk.

I’m naturally very prone to living in my head so mindfulness has been extremely useful for me to be more focussed in general, but particularly at work and in prayer. It’s also wonderful for calming down when stressed. I strongly recommend practising mindfulness, especially if you get distracted easily like me. I think this should be the slogan of easily-distracted Generation Y and Z.

Do what you are doing.

5 thoughts on “Do what you are doing

  1. Is “age” the informal command of the Latin-equivalent of the verb “to do”?

    I’m thinking of the Spanish “haz lo que haces.” “Haz” looks similar to “age”. Maybe someone who has studied Latin knows.

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    1. FKA Sean: Yep. Imperative of Latin “agere,” “to do.” My gut instinct is that “hacer” descends from this word, once you change a couple consonant sounds.

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    2. Spanish ‘hacer’ comes from Latin ‘facere’ and is equivalent to French ‘faire’ (a lot of Spanish words which start with an ‘f’ in other Romance tongues start with ‘h’). It’s related to our English word ‘fact’.

      ‘Agere’ would probably be closer to Spanish ‘actuar’, related to the English ‘to act’ and also ‘agent’.

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  2. The Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”) repeated over and over again is also a good way of grounding oneself. I believe Roman Catholics are a little big suspicious of Eastern Orthodox Hesychasm but I saw a video of the Catholic Bishop Robert Barron saying the practice of saying the Jesus Prayer is helpful, so it must be generally acceptable.

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