Time | From a Fairy Godmother

Time is such a funny thing! Over 10 years ago, I was given a pink Kate Spade clock as a Christmas gift.  Back then I appreciated the beauty of the clock and the novelty of a new accessory for my desk.  Today that same clock sits on my desk at home.  I still love it very much, but for different reasons.  I am so acutely aware of how time is flashing right before my very eyes.  I remember in my early twenties wishing and praying for the next big promotion, followed by the next big move.  Now all I want to do is put the breaks on, breath in all the fresh air I can, and enjoy every moment of life. 

Nancy Ray Photography

Nancy Ray Photography

This last week I took a whirlwind trip back to my hometown, Springfield, Illinois.  Wow, what a trip it was!!  I was home to meet my 7-week-old niece, hold her as she was baptized in same dress I wore more than 30 years ago, at the Catholic Church I went to as a little girl. We celebrated Father's Day, and had a big party at my parent's house. I laughed, and helped my dad with a million projects.  I drank coffee on the porch with my mom, and I was there to celebrate when they announced my dad as the new VP at the hospital where he works.  It was such a wonderful, fulfilling trip! I wish I could take the battery out of my clock and stop time, so I could cherish those moments just a bit more.

Eight days after I graduated from college, I moved to San Antonio, Texas and started my professional career immediately.  And so began my, "I'm too busy mentality."  For 10+ years, I skipped everything from holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, to invaluable family time, like vacations, celebrations and funerals. You name it and I pretty much skipped it.  My mentality was work, work, work, and it'll pay off.   All I could think about was the next raise, the next title, and the balance in my bank account; I became possessed.  And then it happened without warning.  I burned out... BAD!  I literally crashed and burned; I hated my job more than anything else in the world. So, I quit and move to Puerto Rico with Jack.  There may be a bit more to the story but I know you're busy (you can read the full story here and here, if you want). Funny side note for anyone who knows me: I literally only owned 1 pair of jeans at this time and not a single pair of shorts.  I had a closet full of designer suits and expensive high heels, but didn't know the meaning of leisurewear because I was always working. It was really ridiculous!  I'm apparently making up for lost time because I pretty much live in jeans now! But I digress….

Living in Puerto Rico taught me so much! I was finally able to slow down, take a breath, and let life happen.  I enjoyed leisurely walks around the lagoon and on the beach with Jack.  We ate dinner on sidewalks, laughed, drank wine, and people watched.  I started running, riding my bike, and taking care of my body again.  I never felt better!  If I'd stayed working in corporate job and passed up the opportunity to move to Puerto Rico, I'm pretty sure I would have had a heart attack before age 30, or ended up in an early grave. I'm still far from "cured" and still have a long way to go, but I am so much better than I used to be about making time for family and for myself. 

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As I sat on the plane ride home from Illinois, I reflected on the memories that I made in 6 short days.  Moments like that are missing for 10 years in my life and there are no "do overs."  On Father's Day, I accompanied my dad to his father's grave.  I'm ashamed to say I have no adult memories of going to that cemetery, the same place where my uncle was buried just a few years ago. It was such a harsh reminder that our time here on this Earth is limited.  I don't want to miss another moment!  As I scroll through the hundreds of photos I took of my niece, I think about her future and the roller coaster of decisions she will have to make as she grows up.  I think about my responsibility as her godmother, and the role I promised to take in helping to spiritually guide her.  And because I'm me and I can't help myself, I think about her wedding. 

If there is one piece of advice I'd give to Adelaide it would, ironically, be the same advice we give our clients. 

“Invest in the important things in life and avoid stuff for the sake of stuff.”

I want her to have memories of spending time with loved ones at great parties filled with laughter, delicious food, warmth and comfort.  I hope she can tune out the background noise of bullies, temptation and feelings of inadequacy and only hear beautiful music.  I want her to experience the beauty and magic of original art.  I want time to stop for her.  As I write all my wishes for her, I realize the best thing I can do is lead her by my example.  So in this moment in time, I promise to be better not only for me, but also for a sweet little girl who will one day face many decisions of her own!

It's my sincere wish that anyone tuning in be reminded of the value of time and make a little extra for those who are most important in your life! Cheers to family dinners, coffee with friends, walks through the gardens and snuggles with babies!  I can promise you I’m already planning my next trip back this year!

Betsy