“You look like you’re in a rush,” a guy’s voice said behind me as I was, well, rushing to my car.
The voice startled me. I hadn’t seen anyone around me on the short walk to the car. Well, maybe I had not noticed because my mind was spinning too fast, trying to work out the problems and challenges of the day and the near future.
My arms were full of papers, books and day planner, the oversized computer bag swung over my left shoulder.
The combination of summer heat and not quite enough hair styler was contributing to a quick build up of huge frizz. As I sped to the car I must have looked comical to say the least.
I looked up.
The sunglass, sports cap, casual summer clothing clad guy looked at me as he opened the door to his clean, white truck.
“I am,” I responded, not happy about the fact that my mental state was wearing on me physically, but tired of trying to cover it up. “Hope you have a good day- it’s beautiful out.” At least I could offer well wishes to this person who obviously was NOT rushing AND enjoying life.
He started talking. “I’ve been on vacation for 3 months. I know you are in a rush but let me tell you what I was telling some friends last night.”
He started talking about what he had been doing: working out, resting, and getting enough sleep.
His enthusiasm was obvious. He kept talking.
“You sound rejuvenated,” I commented.
“I am! I feel so good. It’s so important to stay healthy. I finally figured that out”
His focus shifted to himself to his profession- teaching and the connection between staying healthy, both physically and emotionally, to longevity in teaching and then the ability to enjoy retirement without being overloaded with health problems.
“You know when I was 22 I could work hard and not take care of myself. But 15 years later I realize I have to take care of myself. I think teachers should exercise during their prep periods. My colleagues don’t realize how much their poor health is impacting them.”
We talked for a few minutes more.
Actually, he talked and I listened. He was definitely in “the zone.” His passion and enthusiasm was admirable.
He talked for a minute more. Then he hopped energetically in his truck and took off.
I got in my car and stopped.
The stranger I just spoke to had discovered the work-life balance. He could remain passionate about his profession and his personal life. A key part of the discovery is an acknowledgement that:
1. The different parts of our lives are enmeshed together like the engine of a car. We can pull out a piece and focus on it, work on it, improve it, but each part, while separate, affects everything else.
2. When we neglect a key area of our lives, it will harm the other parts of our lives. It may take years for the sickness to spread, but spread it will. Point to note: how many people anticipate retirement, only to be hit with a multitude of health problems because of the lifestyle of their earlier years?
The passionate teacher I spoke to found the key to turning around his energy levels and perspective was to change his health. He changed his exercise and rest schedule and his world changed.
Not only that, but he was so motivated about the discovery that he wanted to share the message with his colleagues (and anyone else who would listen, including strangers in the parking lot!).
What about you? What part of your life, if you changed it, would recharge the rest of your life and get you closer to the person you want to be?