Having three young children at home, I don’t have a lot of spare time. But, when I do get some, I binge the heck out of Netflix and Amazon Prime! I recently finished (or got caught up on, rather) one of the best series I’ve seen in a long time. It’s called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This fabulous period piece (set in 1950s New York City) follows a housewife going through marital woes and deciding to become a stand-up comic. If you haven’t seen it yet, get to it! (But, maybe at least wait until you finish reading this blog.)
In any event, I was addicted. I kept tearing through episode after episode. As I did, it got me thinking. I couldn’t help juxtaposing life and work in the 1950s to today. There are some real lessons to be gleaned from this show. What was my biggest take away, you may ask? The importance of family vacations!
The Marvelous Lesson:
I’ve written about the struggles of taking “real” vacations many times. Unfortunately, I have many clients who seem afraid to take a vacation. These individuals never decompress and thus make themselves miserable. Much of the show’s second season is filmed in the Catskills. Back then families vacationed together for the entire summer. Often, they’d rent a cabin (think Dirty Dancing style) for the season where there’d be dances and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Most importantly, they’d relax for an entire three months a year. (Crazy, right?)
I’m not suggesting we skirt our work responsibilities for a summer. Times have changed and this isn’t feasible for most. However, I am suggesting we make the time to vacation.
Put that cell phone away! Put up that automatic email response! Spend precious time with your loved ones!
Believe it or not, when you get back to work, it will be waiting. In my experience, everyone survives just fine. It may take you a day or two to find your working legs again, but trust me the juice is worth the squeeze. Often time’s clients (and prospects alike) close the conference room door and tell me about their desired future. Sometimes, I’m the first person outside of their bathroom mirror to have heard these thoughts. It does give me a rather unique perspective. I’ve heard about how they want to stop working sooner than they originally thought. And, all too often, I’m told about a big vacation planned, but one never actually taken. (Alas, when they do, they wake up early to answer emails and take conference calls throughout.) It’s our human nature (i.e. our fears and insecurities) that force us from breaking away. The happiest people I know are those that find time to shut down. They put that same working energy into their playtime. Guess what happens when they emerge back at work? That’s right, they are more energized than before! I know what you’re thinking; it’s fine for the next guy, but not you. The funny thing is those who find time to get away actually are some of the most successful people I know. They are high-level executives, professionals, doctors, and lawyers who all deal with massive amounts of stress.
Our brains work so hard every day. Much like the rest of our body, it needs to rest and recharge, too. Have you ever tried working out every day for two weeks in a row? After a while, your body will simply shut down and not let you continue. It needs a day or two to heal and rejuvenate. Now imagine working every day for a year straight. (And, I do mean a year; I know many of us put in time on the weekends to some degree.) How can we bring the best of ourselves to work on a consistent basis without some kind of rest? The truth is we can’t. Another perk to booking vacations is the excitement. It gives us something to look forward to all year. I’m already excited about my family vacation to the Caribbean in October. Thinking about it energizes me. When I’m on these vacations, I realize I too need to “disconnect” better. But hey, I’m a work in progress.
What’s your excuse?
As you get to the end of this blog, I hope you aren’t making excuses. “This is fluff, Andrew.” Or, “You don’t understand my situation.” Perhaps, but here is what I do know and it’s something my 90 year old Zayda always told me: “Where there is a will, there is a way.” These are the things a true lifelong advisor can help you with. (To be honest, I thank a lot of my personal progress in this department to one of my partners, David Levy. He’s always encouraged me to take that extra vacation.) So, go watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and book that vacation! You’ll thank me on both accounts.