I was raised in a household where money and possessions were not considered a very important currency. Though we definitely had everything we wanted and more, there was a distinct striving that I always sensed from my father that was not based on material wealth. It was based on fun. One of my father’s many beliefs about life is he who dies after having the most fun wins.
I grew up watching my father spend a lot of his summers on the golf course wooing clients and winning tournaments. In the summer he was on the slopes. He discovered ways to find lots of clients in places where his family lived so he could do business and then see a few of his brothers and maybe a sister en route. To this day if I call home on a Friday afternoon he is most often home doing yardwork, running errands or taking my mother out for afternoon coffee or a bike ride. My father does fun very well.
Though I am definitely a combination of my father’s drive and confidence and my mother’s mindfulness and attention to detail; I have created a profession that allows me to be in numerous yoga classes a week, to get regular massages and to have at least two good afternoon naps a week. I’m not much of a golfer or skier but my father is very pleased with my arrangement. But as I develop my own routines as an adult and delve deeper and deeper into my professional practice I find that there is more to life than just having fun. There is also resting.
Between April and the end of September we will have attended 5 weddings (it was supposed to be 7 but one was postponed, and two overlapped). The weddings will take us to 4 states (not including travel which adds nearly half a dozen more) and Europe. The amount of fun this summer is very high. The need for rest is even higher.
So as I’ve said in previous posts I’m taking a light summer. In between weddings I can be found gardening, cleaning the house, napping or travel planning for the next wedding. I’m blogging less, sometimes skipping an entire week. I’m only teaching three classes and I’ve taken a handful of days out of the office for travel, to see friends and to do fun things.
However the other night while we were enjoying a delicious cake with friends, I mentioned that I need to get back to a regular work schedule in the fall. My business isn’t going to run itself. Both our friends and my husband rolled their eyes.
How off-duty has my summer actually been? Last week I went into the office on my day off to see extra patients. Yesterday on my day off I attended a professional training session to learn more about social media, I talked with patients and wrote prescriptions and caught up on email work. Some would say I worked almost all day.
It is sometimes difficult to reconcile that we have worked hard enough. One blog post a week may actually be good enough (and possibly preferable to a lot of my readers). One or two facebook posts a day may be good enough for my subscribers. Maybe I can change MY expectations and enjoy the fact that my business is easier to run because I’m getting good at it. I’ve learned the things I needed to and know where to centralize my time.
My father made a successful living all these years working when he wanted to work and how he wanted to work. He could of course make more money, we all could. But he would be hard pressed to have more fun, though if given the opportunity….
Here are my questions to you.
How do you define success? Will you know the signs when you get there? What level of fun do you want in your life? What level of rest do you need in your life? How well do you grant yourselves those two needs (not desires)? How reasonable are your expectations of yourself for the day, week or this next year or your life? Do they allow for balance and happiness? Do they allow for spontaneity if that is important? Do they allow for all the self-care you need to be successful?
I have a tendency to compare myself to successful businesses with lots of employees and outside consultants instead of remembering that it is just me, a computer, a treatment table and a few yoga mats. This fall instead of trying to log more work hours, I’m going to try to have more reasonable expectations for the time I want to work and allow myself to be proud of each landmark as I reach it.
Here is my challenge for you. What are your reasonable expectations for the rest of August taking into consideration how much you want to work, how much fun you want to have and how much downtime you actually need?
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