Last year I hired a marketing consultant. Let’s call her Melanie.
Initially she was quite helpful, but lately she’s been harder and harder to reach. Every time I ask her how she is, I always get some variant of “I’m good, just super busy – I’m always working these days!”
At first, I fell prey to the mystique of Melanie’s life.
Her grueling work pace has given her a high six-figure career, and she often posts pictures of her in far-off exotic places. Sipping cocktails in Aruba. Canoeing through breathtaking caves in rural Vietnam. Skiing in the Swiss Alps.
It’s easy to grow jealous of the glamor of a life such as hers.
Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about it more closely. When she says she works all the time she means it – Melanie routinely works 16 hour days, 7 days a week. Even on vacation, she always has her phone and computer with her. She’s never truly “off.”
We live in an over-saturated world. We are inundated with news, ads, media, and other irresistible draws on our attention. The next time you’re waiting in line for something, look around. I guarantee you that more than 90% of your fellow line-waiters will be glued to their phone, oblivious to the world around them.
Melanie may have the income to do wonderful things….but I wonder how meaningful they truly are to her if she’s not fully present while she’s there.
I’d love to sip cocktails in Aruba, canoe through caves in Vietnam, or go skiing in the Swiss Alps. But when I do, I want to be fully present.
I’m no longer jealous of Melanie’s life. I don’t want to always respond to the question of how I’m doing with “super busy.”
I want to revel in the simplicity of the moment. To breathe in the exquisite tranquility of a peaceful night in. To immerse myself in the wondrous beauty of a starry sky. I want to cultivate deep and meaningful relationships, not simply superficially scratch the surface of their lives.
We all have different goals in life. Perhaps Melanie truly enjoys working all the time. But I know that when I get to the end of my life, I will not wish I had worked more. If I have regrets, they will be regrets that I didn’t love deeply enough, didn’t savor sweetly enough, didn’t enjoy the simplicity enough.
So thanks for reminding me of what truly matters, Melanie. Now I’m using every day to make sure I don’t live a life full of regrets.