On the Fourth of July, I took my daughter to a park to meet with some friends, which was conveniently located in the center of nowhere. It took two hours, half of a tank of gas, and three stops to ask for directions to find this place that was 25 miles from my house. When we finally got there, my daughter met up with her friends and I chose to walk around the park. I ended up sitting on top of a wooden fence, watching young kids run into each other with lit sparklers. There was something about watching those kids running around in circles, with recklessness on the brink of serious injury, which took me back to a simpler time. As the grown-up fireworks began, I saw a number of large explosions on the ground resulting from rockets not able to take off. The recklessness doesn’t seem to go away; we just get bigger toys.
The following Monday morning was typically hectic, and I had to start my day at 100 miles an hour. I had a half-dozen clients to call, projects to organize, and two proposals to write. In writing my second proposal, I noticed that I left the client’s business card in my car. I rush out to get it and, halfway back to the building, I froze.
Maybe the Fourth of July brought it on, but I had this flashback of a time long gone; when there were no missed calls, no real world pressures or anywhere I had to be. It felt absolutely liberating, if only for a moment. After the proposal was sent out, I scheduled myself a lunch. It was the first lunch I had taken for myself in a long time; one without sitting at my desk or meeting with a client. Instead, I sat under a tree in a field across the street and had my lunch. For that hour, I didn’t think about my next meeting, my next oil change, my next anything. I lay back on the grass and, staring at the sky through the leaves, was transported to a time when doing so was the only appointment I had on my calendar. I took some time to live in that moment and came back to the office more energized than I had been for a long time.
Lately, I guess, we’re all under a bit of pressure, and rightfully so – trying to stay afloat in our careers, our finances, our families. These Consolidation-Now are all things that are important to us and are often hard to maintain. However, it feels pretty good to just stop and put it all aside, if only for a few minutes. You seem to come back to it with a better perspective and sense of control, seeing that maybe things are not as tough as you thought. It’s been said that you should never have lunch alone, meaning that lunch is a great opportunity to meet new people. Maybe, on occasion, it’s good not to. Sometimes, we need to get re-acquainted with ourselves.
You’re right on target, Patrick! So glad to hear you describe the benefits of spending some “alone time” with yourself.
Many people are afraid to eat alone, especially in public, like at a restaurant. They think they are afraid because of fears such as “everybody is looking at me”. The reality is that they’re afraid of being with themselves.
I used to be one of these people. Now I like to treat my “inner child” to lunch (or dinner, or even better, breakfast)! I get some of my best thinking done with me and myself. And it’s soooo much better than eating fast food in the car.
I’d like to start my saying THANK YOU! It is so sad how much I have gotten caught up in just being an adult. Everytime I get sick, the firt words out of my mouth are always “I dont have time to get sick right now”. How scary is that?!? Anywho, today I am going to treat myself to lunch away from the computer! So again, thank you!
Very powerful Patrick! I felt the hairs on my neck stand up quite a few times. “Do unto yourself as you would do on to Clients or simply people that you love/care about”.> It’s so much easier to give to others and demand so highly of ourselves. And just like Cindy, I love to give myself time to eat alone or read a newspaper over coffee or just to park the car 15 minutes before an appointment and just sit. We deserve our time too! Thanks again.