I spent Saturday reading a new book by Arianna Huffington:
As more and more people are coming to realize, there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and capturing a corner office. Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success -- money and power -- has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers. In being connected to the world 24/7, we're losing our connection to what truly matters.
"...remember that while there will be plenty of signposts along your path directing you to make money and climb up the ladder, there will be almost no signposts reminding you to stay connected to the essence of who you are, to take care of yourself along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible."
I wish you were here so I could tell you how proud I am of you and how awed I am by the impact you made with your life. I know it was tough to worry about money all those years when you sacrificed financially to teach at RFM. But I think teaching also offers some really lovely blessings too -- one of which is the opportunity to rest and recharge during spring break, summer vacation and Christmas holidays.
Obviously I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that is challenging and pays me well. And one that lets me live comfortably in one of the world's most interesting cities! As many people have commented, Leigh Ann and I were both privileged to be able to work remotely from Quincy for extended stints while you were sick. But as I thought about what I wanted this year to be like, I realized my soul and my spirit are craving an longer stint of rest and recharge. My boss recognized I had an extraordinary year at work last year, even amid everything we were dealing with as a family. But I knew there was no way I could keep the wheels on the bus at work without taking a break.
So, I've asked for and received an unpaid leave of absence for the summer. It took some negotiating! Part of that was assuring my boss that I'll be fully present and fully engaged during the nine months I am there this year...and that I will indeed return in September. I'm not really sure what the time will look like, but I know it will involve traveling, reading, writing, resting and catching up with friends.
And...I'm excited about letting this time be a gift to some of our closest friends, so I'll be inviting them to stay in my apartment while I'm gone! It's a gift from you to them. Naturally teachers get first dibbs. ;)
One of the best things about Thrive was the fact it included a lot of memorable quotes like this one:
And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, "This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!"
And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important."
-- Ian Thomas
Thank you for teaching me what's important.
I can't wait to see what my summer holds. Just wish you were going to be along for the ride.