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Success Harmony Newsletter
"ENJOY IT NOW"
of tax season, I was sorting through all sorts of receipts to sort out
business expenses from other expenses. This task isn't usually my favorite
thing to do, but when I came across the receipts from a week-long trip
across the United States with my Mom, I slowed down and actually took
a look at each receipt. Each piece of paper reminded me of a moment along
that trip and I realized that trip passed by much faster than it should
My Mom has
always wanted to take a cross-country trip through the United States.
A few months ago, we had the chance to take a cross country trip from
New York to California. Seven days on the road, almost 3000 miles. The
weather was great. We planned out the trip to cover around 500 miles each
day, less if we were really interested in exploring some spot along the
way. Each day, we planned two or three stops within 20 miles of the major
highways, and that gave us a chance to get a feel for each state we passed
through. We got up early and went to bed early. My cat went along for
the trip and passed the long hours in the car in deep sleep, curled up
on the lap of whoever was driving at the time. We saw gorgeous sunrises,
beautiful sunsets, fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains to die for.
We visited Abraham Lincoln's birthplace, petroglyph ruins in Arizona,
Einstein's stomping grounds in Princeton. On a plaque outside one of the
cafes along the famous Beale Street in Memphis, there was the best life
philosophy I've seen to date: "Eat. Drink. Boogie. Repeat."
only one problem with this trip. It appears that I was there, but wasn't
really there. My body came along for the trip, but my mind was elsewhere.
My husband and I were just in the midst of closing on a large, very complicated
transaction. The closing was to take place less than two weeks after the
trip and there were many details left to take care of, negotiations to
finish. As a result, I spent many of the otherwise idyllic hours on the
road yapping away on the cell phone or brainstorming on a strategy to
ensure that the deal wouldn't go off the rails. I don't know that I could
have really spent less time without jeopardizing the success of that transaction,
but I probably had the opportunity to set some of the worrying aside more
often and just enjoyed this opportunity to see places I might not ever
see again, and to spend time with my Mom. How many more opportunities
do we get as adults to take one uninterrupted week of time with our parents?
Oh, sure, wherever there is family, there is dysfunction. Mom and I certainly
had our fair share of quiet times in the car, the kind when the driver
resolutely stares at the road and the passenger finds fascination with
a speck of dirt on the passenger window that seems to keep her occupied
for hours on end. But even so, family is family. Friends can sometimes
be replaced, but family cannot. We take them for granted while they are
around, because there always seems to be another day to catch up on what
we miss out with them today.
In this hectic
pace of a life, I sometimes find that there are more questions than answers.
I may feel that there is just too little time in the day to accomplish
what needs to be done, and too often it's the time with friends and family
that seems to be the first thing to get set aside. They love us so they
will understand, it's easy to think. But will they? Or will they eventually
come to assume that they should move on to others who actually give them
the importance they deserve? What is then left at the end? A healthy bank
account but nobody to share it with? A vacation in a great spot but while
we have little energy to enjoy it? Kids who spend more time with their
video games than with their parents? No wonder so many kids and adults
are on mood-altering drugs, prescription or illicit. Just trying to escape,
aren't they? It doesn't seem quite right.
this cliché that everyone knows. "Stop and smell the roses."
Maybe it is just as simple as that. Except that I would add just one more
thing to the saying: "Stop, smell the roses, and notice the look
and smell for just long enough to enjoy it." It isn't enough for
the body to go through the motions of actions that are supposed to bring
us balance and joy. If our minds are still elsewhere, not even the best
massage in the world will ground us, not even the best conversation will
lead us away from the chatter of our to-do list in our mind. I've heard
it said that, when we die, our inbox won't be empty. So maybe we don't
need to be superheroes, trying to accomplish just one more thing at the
expense of a healthy meal or a time to connect with those we care about.
Whether it is just a short stop to scratch the cat behind the ears, a
short "I love you call" to someone who is overdue to hear it,
or the time to admire the colorful spring tulips blooming in the neighbors
garden, it may be just those moments that slow us down just enough to
remember why we do all the other things. With each moment enjoyed, there
comes the yearning for more moments like that. The more moments there
are, the closer they join together, the greater is the feeling of gratitude
for simply being alive.
On the next
cross-country trip, I might just keep the cell phone off. Look, doesn't
the cloud up there look like a unicorn?
is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot."
"In the presence
of greatness, pettiness disappears. In the absence of a great dream, pettiness
"A happy person is
not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with
a certain set of attitudes."