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Facebook has a way of reminding us of the good times and the bad. This morning one of my “On This Day” memories fell into the later category. It was a simple status update:

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I remember that day like it was yesterday, mostly because it is one of my major regrets, and one I think about every once in a while. It was the time I missed out on an amazing experience with my daughter, choosing a $1,200 assignment instead. What makes it worse: Less than three months after I posted this I got hurt and ended up lying in bed for the better part of a few years.

I went from this person:

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to THIS person:

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From running a 10k to feeling like my head was exploding and my entire world was moving 24/7. From a healthy 137 pounds to a sickly 118 pounds. From being a whirlwind to being a lump that didn’t move.

While I would do anything to get the past nearly three years back (especially the first two that were spent in constant pain and movement) the accident gave me clarity. It helped me see what is truly important. While work is important — the whole paying for shelter and food thing — health, family and fun are three things that are more important.

I don’t get confused about that fact anymore. When someone asks, like they did last week, if I can do a conference call on a Tuesday — the same Tuesday my younger daughter has her school plant sale — I tell them no, suggesting a different day and time. I finally realize, thanks to my injuries, that interviews can be rescheduled. Helping my daughter choose plants for grandma and me can’t.

Why is a plant sale more important than work? Because in life you have to do what makes you happy. Happy is something fragile and special and fleeting. We have to live through a ton of crappy for every moment of happy. So yes, while I love my work and yes, it makes me happy, it doesn’t leave imprints on my heart. Not like watching my child — and a bunch of her friends and classmates — debate the merits of a pink flower over a purple one. Not like a day at the museum with my then-10-year-old would have.

And so today, as you go about your day, I hope you’ll remember this blog and I hope you’ll choose happy. If you’re tempted to choose work, think of me sitting in my office three years ago today, moderating a webinar as my daughter joyfully ran through the Museum of Natural History geocaching with her friends. Remember the fact that I had to look up what the title of the webinar was and how much I got paid for it. Remember the fact that I missed out on something that was worth far, far more than what I got paid. Then make the best choice for you and your family. Sure, sometimes work does have to take priority. That said, unless you’re a surgeon or an astronaut there’s probably a way to reschedule that call or change shifts with someone else. Billable hours come and go. Moments spent with loved ones last a lifetime.

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