Lately, I’ve felt like my life has been on auto pilot. It happens to many of us, especially parents. We get lost in our daily routine. It goes something like this: Wake up, make lunches for kids, take kid(s) to school, go to work, take kid(s) to practice, get home with about an hour, maybe an hour and a half to get kids to do their homework, shower, eat something that resembles dinner, then get them to bed. Then we collapse into a bed of our own, only to begin the whole routine again in a matter of hours — rinse and repeat. On a good day, we get to squeeze in a shower or meal of our own in there somewhere.
The daily routine becomes a weekly routine and, if we’re not careful, a monthly routine. It really starts to affect our whole life. I noticed that in the past few weeks when I sit down to write this very column. If you read it regularly, you know it comes from whatever is going on in my life at the moment. Well, in my life, at this moment, it’s the routine I mentioned before. After writing about kids’ sports 3 or 4 times the past 2 months, I started to think that my life, and my column, was starting to become redundant and boring. Well, maybe it was always boring, but it usually at least contains a variety of boring topics.
Then something happened: My cousin went on a cruise. He and his wife decided to take some time for themselves, away from the kids for a few days. When they came back, they were different people. They acted weird, all smiling and giddy. When I saw them all energetic and happy, I remember asking my cousin what the hell was wrong with him. Then I realized there wasn’t anything wrong with him, there was something wrong with me. I’m so wrapped up in my routine than I’ve started to take life way too seriously. With a full-time job with long hours, a side hustle, 3 kids and more, I’ve started to think less about the things that give me enjoyment. I’ve forgotten how to be happy. I’ve become an overwhelmed zombie, constantly worried about what deadline is coming up next. It’s not that my cousin and his wife were unhappy before. But, like most of us, they were fully enveloped in their routines. It reminded me how important it is to take time away from our routine to enjoy life.
It encouraged my wife and me to start being a little selfish, demanding some time for ourselves. She recently went on a much-needed camping trip with her girlfriends, and I’ve been playing on a softball team. Together, we’ve got an out-of-town trip planned for later this month.
I don’t want to make it seem like we just decided “hey, we’re doing this,” and then it’s done. With our busy schedules, it’s taking a lot of creativity to carve out our personal time. But it’s very worth it. I talk to a lot of people who can identify with our situation. The daily grind can be relentless. But if we don’t take time to enjoy life, then what’s the point of the grind itself? So, if you don’t already, I encourage you to carve out a little time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be something as big as a cruise or even a weekend camping trip. Maybe just an hour or two here or there to craft, play a sport, read a book or something. It may be difficult at first. But I am confident that you’ll realize almost immediately that it is worth it.
If you don’t take it from me, take it from Ferris: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”