Just hours after arriving home from a brief vacation to Frankfort, Michigan. Oh by the way, if you spend any time up in Northern Michigan, it is one of those small towns that make this country great. A small town filled with small businesses and just plain good folks. People smile and say hello without asking for anything in return. Try that in the loop? No Thank you! When I first moved back to Chicago in 2010, I was scolded over and over again for walking the streets in the loop without earphones and willing to make eye contact. I was asked questions and hit up for money or food every few feet. My friends and coworkers would shake their head and plead for me to smarten up. Four years later, I keep my eyes low and avoid any approaching soul. But in Frankfort, eyes are actually up and accompanied with smiles - and of course along with nods and even brief conversations.
But I digress...during any drive home I found myself thinking of work and even new avenues for employment. I also began to think back at how many times I told my wife I can't go somewhere because I was too busy! Too BUSY to take a couple days off. I was actually coached on it during the last couple of years. COACHED to take MORE time off. A tear almost comes to my eye when I think about the time I skipped. These past few days, I was focused on soaking up as much time with my two kids (7 year old boy and a 6 year old girl) as possible. They are growing at lightning speeds and I'm beginning to understand why my mom, dad, step mom, step dad, aunt, uncle, grandfather, friend, friend's mom and on and one told me how quick life goes by. As a child, time is an unknown commodity - even moving but never fast enough. Or too fast. Never just right! So now, as I watch my kids, act like kids, I try to slow down time. I put down the iPhone (I try to at least) to make sure I'm not missing moments by trying to get a picture or a video. Or by playing a dumb game or checking my email. I am now focused on just trying to enjoy them!
Why is it that we American's continue a mindset that time needs to be scheduled down to the second. What happened to taking off early. Taking a day to just enjoy what we're working for. We don't do it! I didn't do it for the past 10 years. I've skipped moments. Told myself that I'm just doing my job by working the long hours to provide for my family. But what is it for? If you can't enjoy those moments too does it really matter? I've realized only during the last few months that they aren't worth it, unless you stop and slow down the time manually. That means unplugging, putting the phone down. Turning the TV off. Shutting the laptop down and willing to just be silly.
Build a Sand Castle like I did this week! There is nothing better than walking down a beach and seeing dozens of different families building small treasures. But like life. The water takes down all those masterpieces each night to reveal only a blank slate for the next round of young sand builders in the morning.
Life is precious. We need to start taking care of our home lives as much as we care for our work lives!
Take the day off, schedule an afternoon off - please do it for you! Heck watch a movie you've been wanting to see. Read a blog!
Please share your fears for taking time off...we'll get over them together!
Oh and when in Frankfort, Michigan drop in to The Bookstore in town - say "hello" to my incredible Aunt Barbara and Uncle Dwight Reed! Their store gives me inspiration on a daily basis! Tell them Jeremy sent you!
Talk to you soon!