Saturday, June 29, 2013

What Really Matters

Lately, work has been hell. I have been charged with leading a change-oriented committee that is pulling in 15 different directions, or better yet, perhaps would prefer to do nothing at all. It is, apparently, unthinkable that any department should give up a smidgen of their budget or change a procedure that has been in place since time immemorial (or at least since the last department chair). The report is due in a couple of weeks and at this point we have come to agreement on nothing whatsoever.

Meanwhile, two key managers are away on medical leave because the unrelenting stress has worn them down. A construction accident is impacting operations and will cost millions to repair. A "mean girl" is whispering denigrating things behind my back. There is a plot afoot to unseat one of the other managers via a nasty smear campaign. I have missed a key deadline and can't find any time in my calendar to get the overdue work done.

I have been working 10-12 hour days for the last year, and I am exhausted. Normally, I like my work, but I am close to thinking, "Take this job and shove it." I need a holiday.

So, I have booked a month's vacation in August. Meanwhile, I have taken 2 extra days off this long weekend to make 5 days in total. I am not checking my email or phone. I have flown away to to see my grandson, whose first birthday is this weekend.

After only 2 days away, I am starting to feel human again. I have visited briefly with my daughter, the artist. I am now at the home of my oldest daughter and son in law. I have held my dear little grandson in my arms and helped host his birthday party. I have made cream cheese icing, taken my grandson to the playground, paddled a canoe around the bay, and picnicked at the beach.

I love my little grandson so much. Today at the beach, he toddled off down the sand to watch two older boys building a fort with driftwood. One boy handed him a stick and showed him how to drum on a log with it. My little guy came toddling back to us holding a big stick of driftwood, and feeling very pleased with himself. On the way home, I sat in the back of the car with him and made silly noises and played peek-a-boo.

This is what matters. My wonderful little one-year-old grandson and his terrific parents; my two brilliant, beautiful daughters and my son in law who is such a doting husband and dad; my beloved Rob and my sweet hardworking son (who have taken advantage of my absence to eat a lot of meat and go mountain biking); our second grandson and all the rest of our family and friends -- this is what really matters.

I will keep this thought in mind. It is only one more month until August.

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