The “Do Over”
When I was eight years old, and the game got confusing, or the fun was interrupted by a parent my friends and I would scream….”do over”. I’m not sure that we are all crying “do over” these days, but if we aren’t …we are pretty close.
The “do over” is the kid word for hitting the reset button, and like so many that have survived the darkest and deepest economic times since the great depression it’s not surprising that we all haven’t wished for a second chance at our previous decisions.
We were caught up in the frantic need to do it better, deliver it faster, and be more efficient. We lost the ability to see the importance of balance. We ate our dinners at the drive up window. When we did eat at home…. it most always involved a microwave. We drank our first cup of coffee on the way to work with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other holding our blackberry. Many of us still probably do. We made bad decisions…. like texting our kids instead of talking to them. We left voicemails for more comprehensive discussions or if it really got critical, we emailed. We didn’t make time to sit down and talk, and if we did, it was never enough time.
Reproduced like bunnies…. up popped businesses that quenched our thirst for speed. Drive through dry cleaners, one hour photo and on line banking. Like a junkie addicted to heroin, we developed an addiction for efficiency.
Along the way we developed a taste for bigger and better things…. and up until a few years ago when we couldn’t afford something ….we bought it with borrowed money and no plan in place to pay it back. We stopped carrying cash and put everything on plastic…… and to incent us to “charge it” credit card companies created point systems and reward programs.
The concept of delayed gratification was buried deep in our rear view mirror.
We moved into bigger homes…to accommodate the toys that we purchased and in order to finance the additional square footage, granite countertops and Viking appliances banks developed exotic mortgage programs to make the price tag less painful. At the height of it all one bank actually advertised...”No income, No job, No problem” In the mad dash for financial security we lost our way.
We became hamsters on a spinning wheel….and we couldn’t get off…..if we did the world that we had created would have fallen apart. We never imagined that our life, and the world that we lived in would come crashing down as hard as it did. When it was all over and the economic tsunami washed ashore… a path of destruction and devastation was left in its wake. Businesses big and small were gone. Circuit City, Saturn, and AIG were wiped out and our banking system was on the verge of collapse. Hundreds of thousands of jobs went by the wayside and people were out of work. Many still are.
The recession has caused us all to stop and think, and its forced some of us to make different decisions. We don’t go out as much, and if we do, a lot of us don’t splurge on expensive wines and overpriced entrees. Instead of going to the movies, we rent one. The size of our television has become less important but the people sitting around it have become everything. Some of us are still in a rush, but we aren’t in a rush for the same reason.
This economy has forced us to make due with what we have. Credit is tight and banks are reluctant to lend. People buy what they can afford and less and less are putting it on plastic. Some don’t charge it anymore because they don’t want to; others don’t charge it because they can’t. People aren’t so cavalier about their money and most everyone you meet has real doubts about the future.
I am optimistic about the future and passionate about making the most of it. This is an exciting time. Change always brings opportunity and I look at this moment in time as an opportunity to hit the reset button.
So today I am formally announcing my “do over”
As of this very moment I will pursue my dreams with a renewed passion. I will focus on a new level of success in my business, but this will only be a part of my life. I will no longer allow my career to be my life. I will find balance in my life. I will make time to do what I love, and spend time with the people that I care about. I will slow down and think before I act. No, I am not on a ten step program and I haven’t lost my mind.
I will still go to the drive through window every morning and get my large cinnamon coffee with skim milk, and I will still make my way through the occasional drive through for lunch when I am short on time. But going forward I am going to slow down a bit. I am going to stop being in a rush. I am going to live in the moment. Maybe I won’t have as many “moments” ….but the ones I have will be quality and I will enjoy them.
I am going to fish more, play more tennis, and when I am not working I will no longer check my email or answer my phone. I will enjoy my free time. I will not allow anxiety and guilt to occupy my thoughts when I am away from work.
I will live in a nice home but the value of the house will be those who live there with me and not the size or location. I will buy appliances because they do the job…not ones that require me to get a second job to purchase them. I will have a nice car, but I won’t worry about what the car “says about me”. I will be a better friend, and if I spend too much time on any one area of my life…. it will be reaching out to those friends that have been so patient with me.
My father use to tell me that it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it. We all have a choice the moment our feet hit the floor each morning. It’s unclear whether the economic landscape will make any drastic improvements any time soon, but the economy doesn’t define me or you. My belly is full of humble pie and I am ready to move on and begin a new chapter in my life. How about you?
Jim Van Law, version 2.0……available in stores today.