By Connie Mish
MARLBOROUGH, October 2012
My daughter is 6 years old and since she can remember mom has been “too busy” for just about everything. I’ve learned through experience that this is what happens when you begin your quest to provide the American Dream for your children. You chase that elusive place where all is paid off and you can finally sit in that chair you’ve worked so hard to build. If you are anything like me you’ve had that moment where you cant ignore that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on the most important thing in life; the lives you’ve created and are responsible for guiding.
We stifle creativity at a young age by cooping up our children into a single classroom where they are expected to learn life and its principles by reading words from a book instead of utilizing the world. We teach colors from a book instead of walking outside. As a child I was never indoors, I was always in the woods, exploring and climbing trees. In reflection, I was a bit of a tomboy. I don’t think I ever owned a Barbie doll back in the day when “Pink & Pretty” was the hit sensation for the girls. My daughter on the other hand has more shoes than I and enjoys everything that is girly and speeds up life. In an effort to assist her in breaking away from the iTouch the iPad and everything else I related, I purchased a book to help her explore the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. If you’ve ever gone through the book Speaking Earth by Maureen Lynah you know that this book isn’t a hand it off to your child and walk away kind of book. I quickly realized that this book was no less than a hand in hand, side-by-side experience for my daughter and me. I found myself outside, smelling leaves and feeling tree bark, describing it all and discussing what we can do to nurture and protect our precious earth. Meanwhile, I’m counting the seconds until my next conference call. Seeing her smiling face and listening to her express her love of all things non-Barbie and shoe related made me realize that I had a much higher calling than a conference call.
Walking into the office the next morning, the sun was shining and I could feel the pleasant warmth on my face. I always soak up that feeling while I have it because within two minutes I’m in the office with barely a window to be seen, artificial light all around me and an ever present negativity surrounding deadlines and the drive to push out reports for the Board of Directors prior to the release of the quarterly financials to the public. Meanwhile, the thought remains that I could be sitting by my pool tending to my herb garden and discussing life’s mysteries with my children. When they call me after school they always describe how beautiful it is outside and have absolutely no comprehension of why any person would choose to sit inside on a beautiful sunny day! As adults we know that the bills need to be paid and we continually place our hobbies, dreams, and wishes on hold in order to reach that next rung on the ladder to pay that next tax bill or mortgage payment. Meeting our obligations is the life in which we are now entangled.
What the research shows
You spend your life building up to this moment where you have the house and the white picket fence and then you realize that those are all the wrong ideals. Next up, is naturally a little self-discovery, re-invention, mid-life crisis, or by whatever name you choose to place on it, it’s a re-evaluation of your path. According to a controversial book by sociologists Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert called The New Individualism: The Emotional Cost of Globalization, the craze to constantly reinvent ourselves is a dangerous addiction and can ruin lives and even lead to suicide. Wow. I suppose that may be true if you realized your life had been wasted and you weren’t sure how to guide your own path in the direction you truly wanted to go in. I’m certainly no expert, but I will agree that when you wake up one morning feeling as though you made all the right choices by society's standards and are more miserably unfulfilled than you ever imagined, that might make you feel a bit lost and confused.
So now what?
Part of being successful is gaining an understanding of what you, your body, and your family needs to thrive as opposed to survive. What the typical person does is fall into the groove of going to work, hitting the gym, working some more, heading home just in time for your kids to go to bed, sitting yourself down on the couch, grabbing some grub, going to bed, and getting up and doing it all over again. What’s left? Nothing. Worse, we are all now completely connected 24/7. This advance in technology provided by the company fell under the guise of giving you more flexibility, but what actually occurred is that you are working more and even when you aren’t at work, you’re working. The first step is taking control of your time. If you get a salary then use it and stand up and walk outside. Stop thinking like the “sheeples” of the world who feel guilty about each second they aren’t in the office and go with the herd because its what everyone is supposed to do. They are squeezing every last drop of your productivity by filling you with guilt and fear. The reality of the situation is that corporations are now placing life insurance policies on your head because they know that this lifestyle is killing you.
You know it’s killing you too!
#1 Get outside! Go to lunch and sit outside. Take a walk.
#2 Network outside of your company in ways that make you comfortable.
#3 Attend trainings and conferences outside the four walls of your office.
#4 Share! Allow people to learn from your strengths and passions and connect with them outside your office.
#5 Plan meals and special time with your children and/or siblings, etc. who rely on you to teach them how not to make the same mistakes you’re currently making and how to follow in the footsteps of your successes as well.
#6 Breathe: in through your nose and out through your mouth. Sounds dramatic, yes, but I assure you that since the time of our ancestors our natural oxygen supply has decreased significantly and we are consistently taking shallow breaths. Meeting your oxygen needs is critical to your body and brain performing at optimal levels.
#7 Prioritize. We all have different priorities, but if you don’t write them down then they typically don’t get followed. Once you have them written down, make small changes in your routine each day to ensure you follow your path of priorities.
#8 Take back your time. In following your list of priorities you will constantly run into obstacles that throw up speed bumps and outright roadblocks. Remember, no one can take your time away from you unless you allow him or her too.
#9 Get back to basics. Make a list of things that you used to love as a child and reflect on how you felt when you did them. If you are bold make an effort to experience them again. I enjoyed climbing trees, so I took my children outside and showed them how to climb one. I’m not sure they will ever climb one but they gained great amusement from watching me.
#10 Love. Love yourself for having enough courage to make positive changes and love others who fumble through their journey as well.
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