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gratitude reminder: on getting away

When I decided to stop practicing law, it definitely wasn’t because I wanted to stop earning a living.  I loved the challenge of writing contracts, I loved public speaking, and I loved the occasional travel.  But what I didn’t love was the amount of time it kept me away from my family. It was time to make a change.

So I quit my job, and decided to make my living as a writer, working from home.  During the first year I wrote a book, and happily, its reception exceeded my expectations.  I wrote articles for various online sites and traditional media publications, and I traveled for public speaking opportunities.  But the best part is that it was all on my time, occurring on my agenda.  Exactly as I wanted it.

But then, I made a rookie mistake:  I stopped carefully guarding my schedule.

As a result, the last 6 weeks of my life have been maniacal.  I’ve been traveling out of town every single week, and when I’ve returned, I’ve been working really long days to stay on my writing deadlines.  During this time, my husband Marcus has also been working until the wee hours of the morning, because of an important project at work.  I was suddenly back to not ever seeing my family again.

So when Westin recently contacted me to experience their resort in Frisco, Texas, just outside of Dallas, I was thisclose to turning them down.

“You can bring your family,” they said.

“Sold,” I responded.

That’s how we found ourselves this Memorial Day weekend at the lovely Westin Stonebriar.  And as if the Universe wanted to make sure I earned this time off, last week was particularly intense:  after returning from my most recent speaking gig in Greensboro, North Carolina, I was met by my daughter Alex enduring the worst asthma attack she’s had in 18 months.  Then, my mother broke her foot:  with my father out of town, I stepped in to make sure she was taken care of.  Everything worked out beautifully, but couple these two events with a few critical deadlines that had to be met, and by the time we boarded our quick commuter flight to Dallas on Friday, I was on edge, to say the least.

Happily, however, once we arrived at the hotel and checked in, the stress began to melt away.  We’d arrived just in time  for the evening’s “dive-in movie” — a movie projected poolside.  It was one of Alex’s favourites, so once she was in her swimsuit, with dinner in front of her, she was in her bliss.

 

And then, when they brought my husband’s gin and tonic, and my sangria, courtesy of Westin Stonebriar’s Aqua Bar and Grill …

 

… we were, too.

As the evening grew darker, leaving nothing but the bright glow of sunset and the soft glow of the movie screen, I exhaled.  In a culture where ambition and aspiration and achievement are so highly valued, it can sometimes be easy to forget how priceless rest and recuperation and concentrated family time can be.

 

It was lovely to have the reminder.

 

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Huge thanks to Westin Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this campaign.  Click here to see more of the discussion.

 

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Read more from Karen Walrond on Bliss Your Heart and  Chookooloonks
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