Summer Fridays were never my thing because it meant I could stop working early. I was not a fan of lunch breaks either, but I did love the post-work social hours that ran way too late into some nights. Work hard, play hard.
Work is something that I grew addicted to at a young age. As a child, I operated a pretend office rather than play with dolls. Accompanying my grandmother to the local stationery store was one of my favorite outings, purchasing sales receipt books and other business supplies. Forget Barbie! Sitting at the cherry executive desk when my father worked part-time delivering office furniture was better than any trip to Disney World in my opinion. I felt a surge of adrenaline and pleasure, at the ready to strike a deal or two in my vivid imagination.
When I look back to my start in the corporate world, I recall how many important life events I missed because of work and I wonder – was it necessary? Or was I insecure and feared getting fired for saying ‘no’, not yet comfortable or confident in my roles?
As we age, we learn from our mistakes and grow through our experiences. We prioritize our activities, both work and play, and grow to appreciate the value of time, understanding how precious and fleeting it is.
Today, my manager told me to shutdown and go enjoy the day. It was a thank you for a successful year and a smart move as a leader. In the past, I’d have said thank you then kept right on working because there is always so much to do and God forbid I be human. Times have changed – and life is short.
Thanks to her, I had a lovely afternoon and evening with my parents, unexpected – unplanned. What a joy. Mother Nature was happy, shining down upon us, and the day was somewhat mild. There was something magical in the spontaneity of it all. It was precious.
When opportunity knocks, open the door. Don’t say no. Don’t say later. Look at it as a gift, then take advantage of the present. Accept it, and be grateful.
I sent a message to my manager this afternoon: “Thank you for a wonderful afternoon with my parents.” There is no raise, no promotion, no reward better than the opportunity given to me today. My heart is full.