This is my cautionary tale for the mother, father, partner, and any individual who is busy. About 7 years ago I started my dream photo business and built it to success . . . but I did it all all wrong.
I lost the art of play. I didn't set boundaries. I didn't factor in what kind of lifestyle I wanted. I didn't really see my children and partner. Without me realizing - I was always in my to-do list, in my tomorrow, in the next project, in my worry, in my re-hashing a sent email, trapped in my mind and not living my life. I lost track of time. I did not understand the importance of being truly present and alive.
All the money in the world is not worth the years I missed of sleeping, proper eating, walks in the sunshine, laughter, and the memories I could have created with my family. I blinked and here we are, 7 years older. I finally shut my computer down a few months ago. When I did, it was as if I had been freed from a prison cell. I felt emotions more deeply. I saw color more vividly. I saw my family - I saw how truly beautiful they are. I saw the sunrise tip toe into my bedroom. I felt my furry companion purring at my side. I smelled the coffee beans before I ground them. I felt grass between my toes. I heard brilliant belly laughs. I took pleasure in pause and silence. When I awoke, I realized the deal I had made. A deal that took my breath away once I saw the terms. I traded time for pursuit. I squandered the most precious gift I had ever been gifted. I said goodbye to my children's childhood. I lost countless evenings spent wrapped in my lover's arms. I made a deal so painful that my only solace is in knowing I will never make that deal again, and that other's may learn from my mistake.
I rarely work in the evenings now. But if I must they tell me "it's okay, we're used to it." And then while holding back tears, all I want to do is rush to my children in the past, hold their smaller bodies in my arms that I didn’t take time to memorize, and tell them I’m so sorry. I want to mold my body in between his arms and and listen to every laugh that exits his body during late night tv. Then I’d turn to Jen 7 years ago and shake her. I'd wake her up. I'd tell her that everything you want is right in front of you. Be ambitious. Pursue your passions. Be a dreamer. Be a doer. But be balanced. Be a mother, a lover, a daughter, a friend first. Build everything with them at your side. Build it cautiously, without a single layer of regret. Build it differently.