“It’s not selfish to do one thing a week that puts the light on in your eyes, it’s smart.” – Sam Horn
When I announced at a National Press Club event that I was taking my business on the road for a Year by the Water, most people burst into applause and said, “Take me with you!”
However, two people pulled me aside to express their concern.
One obviously thought something must be wrong for me to make such a “drastic” move. She asked, “Are you having a midlife crisis?”
I laughed and told her, “No, I’m having midlife clarity. I’m really clear that if I don’t do this now, I may not get the chance to do it later and it’s too important to put off.”
An executive pulled me aside and said, “Sam, you better put a lid on this story. If you take yourself off the grid, your business may not be waiting for you when you get back. You know, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
Hmm. Could that be true? Was I jeopardizing everything I’d worked for the last twenty years?
I’m happy to say just the opposite has happened. Not only did my business not “go away,” it is flourishing and even more fulfilling.
I will always be glad I set my dream in motion instead of setting it aside until … someday.
How about you?
What is something you want to do – something that is calling you – but you’re putting it off because you think you don’t have enough time or money or there will be a better time later?
What if you could do more of what you wanted now instead of waiting for a someday that may never come?
Chances are, you can.
Please note: I’m not suggesting you quit your job or walk away from your responsibilities. I’m suggesting you clarify ONE THING that could put the light on in your eyes.
One way to clarify what that ONE THING might might be is to fill out the Happiness Box.
Another way is to imagine what you’d do if you could play hooky for a day.
Why hooky? Well, did you see the John Hughes’ movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
Ferris skips school to have a grand adventure with his friends. When they ask, “What are we going to do?” he says, “The question isn’t what are we going to do. The question is, what aren’t we going to do?”
When considering how to spend your day of hooky, it may be easier to start with what you aren’t going to do.
Ferris didn’t want to spend a beautiful spring day inside the week before graduation. He wanted to create an experience he and his friends would always remember before they all went their separate ways.
How about you? What is an experience you’d always remember? A getaway you’d always be grateful for?
Are you thinking, “Sam, there’s no way I can take a day off. There’s too much to do.”
That’s what college student Jenelle told me, “I’m taking a full load of courses and waitressing. If I’m not in class, I’m studying or at work. I don’t have a free afternoon, much less a free day.”
Got it. If that’s the case with you, plan a hooky hour.
What would give you a well-deserved break from your have-tos?
What is something that wouldn’t cost much (or anything at all) you could do in an hour or two?
A man named Carl said, “You know what I miss? Gardening. My parents put me in charge of our family garden when I was ten. I felt so grown up that they had entrusted me with that. I spent hours in that garden and loved every minute of it. Then I left for college and got a job here in the city. I didn’t realize until right now how much gardening meant to me and how much I miss it.”
I told him, “When you have something that makes you feel that good, it’s like having the answers to the happiness test. There’s no mystery about what you could do to like your life a little more. Just find a garden and start spending some time in it.”
He said, “Sam, I live in an apartment building downtown. That’s not going to happen.”
“Get creative. I bet there’s a community garden somewhere near you or a botanical garden that welcomes volunteers. Could you check that out?”
Guess what? Carl now spends a Saturday morning or two every month in the greenhouse of a friend who’s a commercial landscaper. He told me, “This is ideal. I get to dig my hands in the soil and work with plants whenever I want and it doesn’t cost a thing. I’m back in my happy place.”
Please note: what you do when you play hooky doesn’t have to be “big.” It could be reading a book, taking your dog to the dog park, or laying in a field and gazing at the sky.
The goal is simply to do something for YOU.
What would make your soul sing? Your heart sigh?
Why is it so important to do this?
Many people I meet are so busy taking care of everyone else, they rarely do anything “just” for themselves.
That’s a prescription for burnout. That’s a prescription for resentment and regret.
It’s not selfish to balance constant “have-to’s” with an occasional “want to,” it’s smart.
As Esther Hicks said, “My happiness is on me; so you’re off the hook.”
There’s no present like the time, and no time like the present, to put yourself back in your own story.
And you can do that by playing hooky – even for an hour – once a week.
It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s mid-life clarity.