The title of this issue’s editorial is pretty straight-forward. It’s a philosophy I’ve lived by for years. It has helped me through the most challenging times. And I hope it’ll help you.
Let me set up the scenario. For most of us, we work hard. Some work everyday. It takes a toll mentally and physically. Even machines can’t operate like that. Without maintenance, a machine – or a person – will break down. But I’m a firm believer that a breakdown can turn into a breakthrough. And a breakthrough came once when a person I admire told me, “Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need to take care of yourself. Because you’re all you’ve got.”
Like many other self-described workaholics, I made time to work everyday. Not relax – work. That was a choice. But a choice like that only makes you a hamster in a wheel – direction without destination.
Ok, some work requires massive amounts of dedication to be successful. And on your mind constantly are the people depending on you – your family, your colleagues, your community. This is how I view my work at the IE, and many of you can relate to this. Too many people depend on what we do to let up on it. So, we march forward.
But, as the title suggests, there’s a formula you can try to keep your spirits up each day. Fridays always have a different vibe – people are in a better mood looking forward to the weekend, the weather seems brighter; there’s an air of excitement and relief. Why can’t each day feel like that? Well it can, in small doses.
I do little things for myself and others each day that breathe life into me. And although that sounds deep, the methods aren’t. The smallest treat for yourself each day can go a long way to keeping you joyful, even in the toughest of times.
On any given day — weekday or weekend — I’ll treat myself to one thing: my favorite food for lunch, browse a bookstore and pick up a new novel, rent a movie only I’d like, call a friend a haven’t spoken to in awhile with the express purpose of making them laugh, make a gourmet dinner fit for a Saturday night on a Tuesday, loiter at a coffee shop and finally buy that one delectable pastry I’ve always wanted, or spend time with someone who gets overlooked when I’m busy – a significant other, family, friend, or co-worker. Others garden, paint, set aside quiet time alone, work-out at the gym, shop on-line – even clean their house. You pick your cup of tea. In the process, you’ll learn more about yourself and feel a sense of control in your own happiness in a life that is sometimes out of control.
Life is too short to work five days a week and wait until Saturday or Sunday to do something pleasant. We aren’t meant to define our happiness by weekdays. Each day can be treated as a gift, to be unwrapped and enjoyed. This rings especially true when you consider the challenges each day already presents. Take each day at a time. Like someone I know said, “Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need to take care of yourself. Because you’re all you’ve got.”