Over a year ago, I wrote a note on my phone with thoughts on how I’d like our family’s life to look. I was feeling very reactionary, responding to things as they happened and not having a clear written set of goals for how we approach life. Since last April, I look at this list at least every week, and often daily. Here’s my (non-exhaustive) thoughts on how we’d like to live.
Be outside more. I love working, and I love resting, but I’d noticed we were not outside as much as we used to be. Now, I try to get out and hit a baseball with Charles, play some pickup basketball at the local park, or just sit on the deck to read instead of on the couch inside.
Pay attention to ourselves. This is physically, mentally, and Robyn and I’s relationship (emotion and expression). Physically it’s about eating better, being active / working out, getting enough rest. Mentally we should be learning, reading, and keeping our minds sharp by exercising our creativity. The most important relationship Robyn and I have is our own – we need to set aside time for each other.
Work should be secondary. Our family, and the things we create need to be primary. This doesn’t have to be proportionate to time always (right now we’re growing some companies, and putting in long days), but it needs to be known. I have a ton of fun in my business life, and enjoy taking projects from idea to success. It’s a challenge every time, and thrilling. But my family is my first priority always, and it’s important they know it. They are my smiles and my strength. Dinners together, time playing with the kids, weekends without the phone… separation of work and home has made both better. Companies may fail, or be sold, or you may move on. Your family is a constant.
Spend more time with Robyn talking, outside, the two of us. It’s easy after years of marriage (we’ve been married 8 years, and together 10 years) to take each other for granted. You think she knows what I’m feeling, and maybe she does, but she needs to hear it! And vice versa. Open lines of communication make for a comfortable, yet challenging (in a good way) relationship. Just talking at home can be distracting with so much to do, and hanging with the kids is important and great, but we’re in parent mood then. It’s good to be alone together out and about, even if that just means sitting on the deck with a coffee.
Create more. Music, food, the house. I write music, and go through periods in life where I let that slack. It’s important we CREATE as often as we CONSUME. Whether that’s cooking, creating your art, or building things around the house… create!
Experience more of what other people are creating. I’ve always loved people – how we feel, how we think, what we make. I want to spend more time paying attention to those things.
Attend more events. Community is not dead, and I want us to be a part of ours.
Use my hands more and a trackpad less. I love technology, don’t get me wrong. It’s a passion of mine, and through my companies we’re doing some exciting stuff. But I also want to make sure I’m building things at home, fixing stuff, etc. It is great to create something you can touch and feel.
Exercise every day. SWEAT every day. Even if it’s just getting out and walking around, we feel better when our bodies are taken care of.
Be more active in our search of truth, of God. When it comes to faith, I’ve had my dents and dings. Losing two sons in a year shakes you up, of course it does. But I believe strongly God is real, and we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s important for my family and I to pursue that relationship passionately, even when its just “I believe, help my unbelief.”
Spend smarter, on things that match all these thoughts. Where you put your money shows what you value. I’d like to make sure mine matches all this thoughts.
Stop being sarcastic and tearing down my friends and loved ones. I want to encourage and strengthen the people I love. Sarcasm is usually an easy laugh, but enough biting comments sit with you somewhere, I believe. I’d like us to be the people that build others up.
Be less cynical. I’ve felt so much sadness about Ezra and Price’s death, Charley’s delays, Charles’ hardship, and how it’s made Robyn and I more jaded. I still believe we can live fruitful, loving, remarkable lives with this sadness as a part of us. It won’t be who we are, rather an understanding of tragedy and a focus on bringing some kind of help, hope, and joy to the people we meet. The world is still beautiful through pain.
I wrote that 18 months ago or so. Looking at this often has helped my family to define our priorities, and helped me personally shape my interactions with people and how I frame my thoughts.