July 01, 2014
To paraphrase the Four Seasons song—Oh, what a day, late June back in 2014. What a special time for me.
I celebrated a milestone birthday this week. I was not overly thrilled with hitting this milestone as it made me think about aging, getting old. I have never been overly concerned with aging. Over the past few years, except for a bout with Cancer, knee surgery, aches and pains, it never really bothered me. Then a few months ago, I started receiving information about Medicare. As I began to research my options, it finally hit me that I was getting old. I truly believe age is a mindset, however, for the first time it really started to bother me.
A couple of months ago I was working with a new client—a professional, who was frustrated with her career to the point of thinking it was not worth it. She had just finished a major case with one of her clients that took many days. Her other clients were being neglected, as well as her family. She felt particularly guilty about not spending time with her 5-year-old child. She took the first day after the project for herself and a day to spend with her daughter. On that day she became upset because she felt compelled to attack her email that had backed up, and as a result did not provide the attention to her daughter and did not get the enjoyment out of the day that she had hoped. My cure was to remind her that the day she dies, there will still be emails in her inbox, and that she needed to focus (employing a BE HERE NOW concept) on enjoying her time with her daughter. I told her I wanted her to schedule a day within the next two weeks to spend with her daughter—no work. And then schedule a day for herself, while her daughter was as school. A day just for her. She took my advice and thoroughly enjoyed both days, got reinvigorated, energized, and motivated.
Getting back to my day, I decided to follow my own prescription. Over the past month I have been very productive doing things for my clients and my business, taking a 4-day golf trip to spend with my sons, other family members, and friends, and enjoying the company of my oldest and his family visit for two days. Yes, all of these things were for me, however they involved a lot of people so as the big day approached, I decided to list all of the things I wanted to do—a day for me.
I made a list of 18 things I would like to do. With no intention of getting them all done, I planned the day and scheduled the activities, leaving flexibility to do something else that might come up. The day started with me going to a BNI meeting that I was unable to attend the previous two weeks due to golf and family. As I walked into the coffee shop that houses the meeting, I was greeted by the owner who said—“Isn’t today your birthday?” I acknowledged that it was and received my first present of the day in the way of a free drink. At the beginning of the meeting the President of the group (the wonders of Facebook—posting birthdates) had the group stand up and sing Happy Birthday to me. I was totally floored by this as I have not had 23 people sing to me since I was a child.
After the meeting, I proceeded to run a couple of errands, which included a car wash of my mid-life crisis convertible. I love driving with the top down, listening to 50’s and 60’s music, while the wind blows in my face—yes this was on the list. I stopped at Five Guys for a delicious cheeseburger. I love their hamburgers and since I only eat about one a month, I want to make it count. Then I went to buy myself a present—a new attaché case. Next was stopping by a bar to watch the US in the World Cup. I very, very seldom drink, but decided today would be a good day to hoist a couple. Then I traveled to Barnes and Noble to browse. I love browsing through book stores—seeing the latest baseball and history books as well as look at the bargain tables and anything else that might grab my attention. Usually my time for browsing is limited, but since this was my day, I relished the opportunity and took my time. Next stop was a guilty pleasure—frozen custard. Driving home with my top down, listening to music, I decided I would spend some time at the pool. After that, sitting in my whirlpool bath, reading a magazine. When my wife arrived from work she entered with a wonderful ice cream cake and presents to celebrate. Yes it was quite a day—for me. I did not get all 18 completed, but I did get 16. Oh, what a day, late June in 2014.
As the day for me progressed—I felt more alive, happy, and motivated than I have in a very long time. The point is we ALL need to take time for ourselves. We need to enjoy the things that make us happy. No doubt many, maybe most, would take the time for being with spouses, significant others, children, other family, which is great. We just cannot fail to take time for ourselves. Enjoy the little things, the big things. Recharge your batteries. Relax, have fun, and again take time for yourself—my guess is that you will be fully charged and ready to take on the world again the next day.
When is the last time you took a day for yourself?