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The Importance of Taking Time Off

September 24, 2021

Free Cottages In The Middle Of Beach Stock Photo

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more benefits of time off. Sure, when I was younger, I liked going on vacation, but it was just a chance to blow off steam and have fun.  When my kids were little, it also allowed me to spend quality time with them. Now that I am older and the kids are grown, I’m starting to see the therapeutic benefits of taking a vacation for myself and not always pushing so hard.  I’ll never be one of those people who take many long vacations in a year. It’s just not the way I’m wired, but a week off occasionally is good for the soul.

I am fortunate that I have enjoyed my work for quite a long time now. Since I went out on my own in 2002, I’ve never looked back. Quite frankly, even the roles I had before then (after Business School) were both exciting and engaging and learning opportunities in their own way. I really can’t remember the last time I was depressed about coming to work on Monday morning. Now with the perspective of time, I can see what a blessing that is.

However, everyone needs to clear their head. If you focus too long on something without a break, you start to lose some perspective. I believe that by getting away and doing other things and reflecting, I always come back stronger with a fresh perspective.   It’s as if by taking a break from something you really start to understand how much you appreciate it and the people you do it with.  Maybe a brief absence does make the heart grow fonder.

It’s interesting being at the midpoint of life and participating in your country going through an existential crisis. There are very few times when life and death issues are so prevalent in one’s life. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Interacting with someone who may be infected but doesn’t even know it. Touching the wrong doorknob, etc. Even though I did my best to wear a mask and maintain social distancing, I still had to work and interact with others.  The Zoom bubble only worked for so long.  I will admit to being worried at times that my actions could potentially harm others, especially those I care about.  It is scary how quickly this new normal became our reality. Time really started to take on a different meaning. Thank goodness for the vaccine.  I can’t wait for the post-pandemic reality.

I know this is a bit of a meandering post, but it reflects how I’m feeling now.  I feel grateful that I can take some time off and visit a beautiful place. I feel blessed I get it to do it with people I love. I’m going to do my best not to work while on vacation. Not always easy, but I’m sure my grandson will have a say on this issue. We all need to remember what this thing called life is all about. Every book you’ll ever read on the topic will tell you it’s about forming healthy, loving, and supportive relationships with other people. These same books will also recommend doing meaningful work which plays to your strengths and talents. Lastly, there’s a lot written about the journey being more important than the destination. I agree with all of this and if you think about it, it is all about how you spend your time.

I hope you’ve had the opportunity to take some considerable time off this year or have something planned. I hope you’ve used (or will use) this time to reconnect with people you care about.  Use the time to rejuvenate yourself. I hope you appreciate the importance of getting off the treadmill. The goal should be connection, relaxation, and enjoyment.  If you’re lucky, work will always be there. If you’re even more fortunate, you will be looking forward to it when you return.  Embrace the special moments with others.  They are precious and limited in the wide scheme of things. Life isn’t just about what you do and how hard you do it.  There is much more to it than that.  As a wise friend of mine once said, “Start with the “Why” and live in the moment.