Saturday, June 25, 2016

The 5 Lessons I Learned Today Started With A Partially Dead Tree

I very seldom take an entire day off. For me, taking an "entire day off" translates to not doing any work from the time I wake up until the following morning.  It's been months since I've done this. In fact, taking an entire day off  happens only 2 or 3 times a year. The rest of the year, I work every single day. Holidays. Weekends. Birthday. During hurricanes before the power goes out.

Today, I took an entire day off. My initial plans were to take the morning and afternoon off, however, at the last minute, I decided to go all the way.

Our neighbor, who lives across the street, is 70 years old. We absolutely love and adore her and, over the years, she's become family to us. There was a tree in her yard that was about 75% dead. Years ago, it had been struck by lightening. As the years rolled along, little by little, the tree stopped producing leaves. It became weak.

Several large limbs had broken off last winter during some substantial wind storms. It was only a matter of time. If we were to be hit with down winds or a micro-burst during a summer storm, or a hurricane, there was a chance the tree would cave to the winds. Regardless of which direction the tree fell, there would be significant damage. It was a safety issue as well. Sadly, it needed to be taken down.

That tree has stood in her yard since, and well before, she bought the house in 1972.

The professional tree service arrived at 8 o'clock this morning. I got up at 6 to bake chocolate chip cookies. Lisa was up at 7. We wanted to sit in the yard with our neighbor as her tree was taken down and to spend the afternoon there to tackle a few things around her house, fire up the grill, take a dip in the pool and spend time with her.

Losing the tree was sad. We wanted to turn it into something positive.

That's exactly what we did. I lost track of time. I didn't care. Each time one of us ran across the street to check on the kids, gather stuff for our grilled lunch, and fetch and iced tea refills and towels, I was aware of the time.

I seriously didn't care.

At the end of the day, right around 6 o'clock, I returned home. Lisa lingered behind to finish mowing the lawn. I fed the kids, changed into my pajamas, sat on the sofa with the kids and scrolled through my social network feeds. I thought about getting some work done, but that didn't last too long.

When Lisa returned home an hour later, we ate a light supper. Two hours after that, we enjoyed family snuggle time on the sofa with a movie. Getting work done did not cross my mind.

What did cross my mind was a few lessons I learned today...

1. I need to reconsider some of my writing jobs. I spend more time than I care to admit searching for the latest trending topics in marketing. I also spend a great deal of time researching, and writing about my findings for a select target audience. I don't personally know this "select" target audience. I've seen photos of some and read write-ups about their "status" and "positions" and "accomplishments." In all honestly, they don't matter to me and they're certainly not people who I'd hang out with. They'd more than likely curl their lip at my lifestyle, family, home and my overall appearance. What really matters is the trending stuff around me. I often miss those. I need to change that.

2. The kids don't know the difference between us being across the street or 1,000 miles away. Even though we frequently checked on the kids, gave them snacks, took them out, engaged in playtime, and gave the kids extra snuggles, it wasn't the same. When we walked out the door to return across the street, in their mind, we were getting in our vehicle and driving hours and hours and miles and miles away.

3. You learn the best stuff just by living in the moment. I learned a lot today. Most of what I discovered was shared in confidence. I honor that. What I can say is I realized that if I were to die in the next week or so, the columns I write and publish about marketing, Omni-Channel, and whatever is trending in the world of digital technology, isn't going to matter. The people who matter to me, the people who have become family, don't read that crap. What matters is what happened today. The conversations, the laughs, the time well spent, and everything between. Those are the things that will be remembered.

4. I need to make a few small changes. All of the above has everything to do with this.

5. I need to exchange this for that. Spending 10+ hours a week researching and writing for a target audience that couldn't give two shits about me is a waste of my time. Those 10 hours could be spent doing something that genuinely matters and makes a difference.

I raise my coffee cup.

To a great day.

Time. Well. Spent.

No comments:

Post a Comment