8.19.2006

Wrapping up a week of vacation

For only the second time in my professional life, I took a break away from work longer than two days. I really needed this one, as a death march getting a product out the door that was four months behind schedule (on a 5 month time estimate) really took its toll on me.

I spent the last week in Evart, Michigan, which is where my mother grew up and my folks now own a nice piece of property - Emerald Lake just south of Evart. I did my best to stay away from work and spend some good quality time with the family, which I think I accomplished.

Spencer had a good time on the lake, of course, whether it was a paddleboat ride or fishing off the shore. And Garrett had his first sample of navigating around the lake house, enjoying bonfires at night, and plenty of spoiling from the grandparents.

The older I get, the more I look at life and wonder whether I am balancing my work and family life properly. That I look at it as two different lives means I am not balancing it perfectly. My challenge is how to bring the two into agreement. The things I know how to do that generate a larger income to provide for the family don't align with my desire to spend more quality time with my family.

This past week gave me ample room for reflection on my career and where it should go. Lots of questions, no answers, and lots of options for playing my hand moving forward.

2 comments:

Jay Heuer said...

:-D

Brian Erst said...

James -

Take more time with the family. Unless you've figured out a path toward f***-you money that takes less than five years to get to, the path to wealth will be there in 10 years as much as it is now.

What you won't get again, however, is your children as children. Once they get to be teens and have a real life outside the home, your daily presence with them will become less of an issue, but until then, every moment you spend with them now is a moment that brings riches far greater than any money will bring.

What are you trying to get money for? To have a better life with your wife and children, not just better toys. You learn very quickly that children couldn't care less about how much money is in the bank, or how many toys they have, or the quality of their clothing. They care about spending time with their mom and dad. Quantity time is quality time - don't ever believe otherwise.

I've gone from taking no more than the occasional 3-day weekend before having kids to having three full weeklong+ out of town vacations each year, plus several 3-4 day weekends. I'm at most of their baseball games and school functions, and rarely leave home before 8am or get home past 5:30pm. I'll do a little bit of work after they go to bed, but when I'm home, I'm either with them or easily available - and I've never made more money in my life. And even if I wasn't, I wouldn't trade money for time.

Everyone's situation is different, and I've made very specific choices to be where I'm at. Keep working hard - but enjoy yourself too.