If you have been searching your In-Box for this Musing, wondering what happened to me…fear not. I’ve been on vacation! After plotting to travel together for several years, one of my closest friends and I took off for California. For six blissful days, we did a lot of exploring, eating, talking, walking, and laughing. Sort of like “Thelma and Louise” but without the part about driving off a cliff. We had a ton of fun.
As you know, when you take a week off of work, the prior week and the return week can be a bit crazy. So, I was more than a little stressed when I got up at 3:45 a.m. to leave on my junket. After some deep breathing, I started to envision my trip awash in positive energy and wonderful people. I left a love note on Jim’s pillow before heading for the airport. As my attitude shifted into relax mode, the trip became an adventure in noticing all the good around me. Sure enough, the grandfatherly Fast Park van driver gallantly helped me with my luggage. The Southwest flight attendant who cracked jokes non-stop presented me with a barf bag stuffed with SWA peanuts, pretzels and cookies. On the bag he had scrawled “Thank you for your smile!” And, one of the first emails I got while waiting for my connecting flight to board was from a prospective new client. A great way to start the trip!
My trip was full of long conversations with my friend Patricia, covering everything from gardening to politics. We stayed in Davis, CA where my older son is an assistant professor of the Classics at UC Davis. I had the great pleasure of seeing him teach two classes. We celebrated all kinds of things (from birthdays to book deals to family stories) over delicious meals in interesting restaurants. Patricia and I walked all around the UC Berkeley campus one day, pretending we were coeds again. We explored San Francisco and her grandson took us to the highest point in the city, and also to a fantastic, tiny seafood restaurant in the Castro district. I got to have dinner at the home of a favorite cousin and meet his adorable kids. The fast pace of my typical work day was replaced by hours of walking, long conversations with loved ones, and leisurely meals cooked by someone else. One of the (literal) high points was a long hike up a mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe. The view was spectacular, the hike exhilarating. Emails, work, chores, the news….all faded into the background as I just relaxed.
The week away reminded me of the importance of changing gears. It was a time to reflect on what I really want in my life, and how I can design a life with more relaxation, while still doing interesting and meaningful coaching work. I hope that your summer includes some vacation time that will allow you to step back, refresh and recharge. I know that my time away will make me a better coach, partner and friend. Here’s to a fabulous, fun summer!
Sharon Keys Seal