Want more freedom?

Our pup, "Harley"

Our pup, “Harley”

My husband, David (and Harley), and I just returned from a mini vacation camping on the lake. You meet some interesting people camping; most of them very like-minded in their approach to life. I think it works that way with most hobbies; each attracting a certain kind of individual.

On the last night of our trip we found ourselves parked next to a couple who were celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary. In chatting with them we discovered that they were also self-employed. He’s a plumber and they’ve built what sounds like a pretty successful commercial plumbing business.

They lamented at how infrequently they are able to use their motorhome, because they are so busy. They went on to say that he had recently had a heart attack, has diabetes, and takes no less than 17 medications on a daily basis. He’s only 52.

I suggested that perhaps it was time they hire someone to groom to take over as a successor so they didn’t have to work so hard. He replied “I birthed them” meaning they have two sons (both over 30) as possible successors, and yet, he had all kinds of reasons why he couldn’t groom either one of them at this point in time.

I sat there in a little bit of a state of shock. Usually, when someone has a life event like a heart attack, it causes them to stop and reevaluate their life and what’s really important. Here were two people who were literally working themselves to death and still not willing to revaluate how they were living their life.

At the end of our life, I doubt any of us are going to think “Gee, I wish I had worked more”.

I couldn’t help but wonder just what it would take for them to make some different choices about the freedom in their life.

You make a choice every day as to how to spend your time. If you feel like your life is running you instead of you running it, perhaps it’s time to stop and reevaluate the choices you are making.

Here are some questions to ponder to get started:

  1. Do you have a hard time saying “no” to taking on projects or committees or other kinds of things that take away from your free time?
  2. Do you set limits with your children as to how many events and sports activities they are allowed to participate in that also impact your free time? I see so many parents literally running themselves ragged attending every sports game and driving their children here and there to the point that they have no life of their own on the weekends.  Setting limits with your children does not limit their freedom. On the contrary, you empower them with skills to choose how to spend their time with the funds and time allotted. As a child, I was given the choice of which things I wanted to participate in; to decide which were the most important to me. That decision-making process has served me very well.
  3. Do you plot your vacation time on the calendar at the beginning of each year? I plotted out more weeks on my calendar this year than ever before. So far, they’ve shifted a couple of times, but already, I’ve had more time off this year than I did all of last year combined. You don’t even have to plan to go anywhere; the idea is to put yourself first.
  4. Do you plan out your week with time for yourself? Again, it may shift, but if you don’t at least start with the intention, it will never happen. The intention will get you closer than you will ever get without giving it any thought.
  5. How much of your time is spent doing things that perhaps no longer serve you? For one week, consider keeping a log of how you spend your time during the day. It may be tedious, but I guarantee, at the end of the week you’ll be very clear about what can stay and what needs to go.
  6. How much of your time is spent doing repetitive kinds of projects that could be made easier by having a system or templates in place?

Having freedom in your life is a conscious choice. You, and only you, have the ultimate control.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to all of my peeps in the United States of America!

With good energy,

Debra Wilson Guttas