On a recent fall afternoon, Chasity, my friend and mentor, came over with her two children. Our kids ate cookies and played, while we sat on the porch, drank wine, and caught up on business and the secrets to a happy life.
I admire so much about my friend, and I find myself leaning in when she speaks—not wanting to miss a word. She’s made such an impact on how I live my life, I thought I would share some of my favorite “secrets” she told me in hopes they may help you live a happier, richer life.
Date the one you love.
I first met Chasity back in 2013 when I attended a retreat she hosted for executive women. We did an exercise where she asked us to write out our personal “10 Commandments.” Before we started, she shared hers. The one on her list that really stuck out for me was this: Date my husband. It was October, and I was getting married the following month. I remember thinking Yes! I always want to date my husband. Tomorrow marks our fourth anniversary, and I can proudly say I follow this commandment. We make dating part of our weekly routine, and it makes us better partners, better parents and happier humans.
Chasity and I are in different parenting stages. She empathized with the tricky phase I am in, and assured me that this too shall pass. She just wrapped the best summer ever with her family. She intentionally summers hard. And she does this because she is down to five summers before her oldest child graduates from high school. Five summers. (She said it, and I welled up with tears knowing someday I’d be down to five summers—hating the thought.) On a recent getaway weekend with her husband, they mapped out all the places they wanted to explore with their children. They have the next two years of vacation time mapped out on their calendars. Being intentional now ensures that they create the memories they long to make as a family. They’ll make these last five summers count.
Invest your time wisely.
A lot of things that have become cultural norms drive me bonkers. They become time sucks that don’t align with how I want to invest my time. Birthday parties for young children are top of my list. Rubber chicken luncheons or dinners for causes I’m not personally invested in are next on my list. I mentioned to Chasity that I decline party invites and other non-essential activities on a regular basis to protect my family time (just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you should say yes, right?). I am at my best when I am under programmed—a concept not widely talked about in our society. She promised me that there will be an uptick in invitations in the years to come but that politely declining the non-essential is key to managing family time. Sure, other people might wonder why you’re not at all places at all times, zipping from one obligation to the next. But that’s ok. Think of time as currency, and invest it in what brings you and your family the highest returns.
I’ll throw out a challenge to all of you: Carve out 10 minutes this week to consider your personal 10 Commandments. Are you being true to them? Is there something you need to tweak? Send me an email; I’d love to hear.
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