I nearly fell over…
It was 3 days into our vacation. Four families hanging out in one giant oceanfront house on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. About 4 in the afternoon and, after a full day at the beach, the pool, the hair-braiding place, the kite-store and more, I’d settled into a corner of the upper deck to spend a little time jotting down ideas in my moleskine with the sound of the waves stoking my creative juices.
A few minutes in, the sliding glass door swings open and one of the girl’s, a friend of my daugher’s older sis, comes up behind me and says. “Don’t you ever stop working? You’re always on the computer or the phone or reading or writing.”
First impulse, anger. Because her perception was so far from reality.
Second impulse…my heart sank.
I wondered if there was truth to her perception. Because, if there was, then I’d inadvertently become “that” dad. The one who spends every moment tethered to a J-O-B that takes him away from his family, if not physically, then emotionally. Even on vacation.
Man, I hoped, I really hoped I hadn’t become him.
So, I set down my book and thought through each day on the beach. And, it turns out, while I’d spent a lot of time with the families, I was doing something a bit peculiar. Something the other dads weren’t doing. In fact, sitting on the couch typing this as the sun rises, I’m doing it again.
When the other dads weren’t playing around, grilling or otherwise hanging out with people, they’d steal away to sleep, watch TV or read a magazine or book. Often for hours a day. And, that’s cool. But, I did something different.
I stole away…to work.
And, that struck this one little girl as “odd.”
And, it is. But, here’s why at least in my case…odd is good.
Because I get paid to do what I’d do as a hobby on my downtime at the beach. I love to create. I love to write. I love to build. I love to connect with likeminded people. I love to help people bring their visions to fruition. That’s just plain fun for me. And, I’d rather spend my “downtime” doing them, than reading People Magazine, sleeping or otherwise frittering and wasting the hours in an offhand way (anyone get that reference?).
I’m not tethered to work…I’m blessed to work.
The fact that the very thing I call play in my downtime at the beach might end up translating to money in the bank shouldn’t mean I should stop doing it simply because it’s what the outside world calls work and “you’re not supposed to work when you’re on vacation.”
It’s what I love to do. It’s my funtime. My downtime. My playtime.
Whether other people deem it work or not doesn’t really matter.
I do it because it makes me come alive, not because I’m on someone else’s leash.
And, that’s a massive distinction.
I’m still up hours before everyone to do yoga and meditate. I still spend the better part of each day playing with the wonderful group of friends and kids who are sharing this week with us. And, when everyone else goes off for their own personal downtime, I go off…to work.
Not a curse. Not an intrusion. Not an obligation. But, a blessing.
Curious, what do YOU think?
Am I just making excuses?
Have you experienced anything similar?
[FYI – I shot the photo above on my iPhone as the sun rose yesterday in OBX. And, I guess since I’m using it on the blog…I must’ve been working then, too!]
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