Friday, June 18, 2010

Pieces of Us

There is an old saying that goes "last but not least" or "saving the best for last". Part of this sentiment implies that we have saved some fuel in our tanks, some power in our dynamo to finish better than we started, to give as much or more at the end than we did at the beginning. Today I want to view these old lines in terms of a few of my thoughts on relationships and what we bring of ourselves to them. Obviously my words have been sifted through the filter of my own experiences, both my successes and my failures.

Think about what we bring home to our families at the end of a typical day at "the office". If our day is viewed as a race, do we sprint along through our work day only to run out of steam by the time we are ready to go home? Do we have anything left to give to our spouse or our young ones? Do we save the best for last? Do we even view the time with our family as the best part of our day?

I can say for many years that I thought I was super-human. I thought I could sprint all the way from the starting gun to the checkered flag. Maybe for a little while I managed reasonably well, or so I thought. This feeling spurred me to continue to try to keep all of the diverse balls in my life up in the air simultaneously. However, the shark in the water is the deadlines that we are constantly given at work. No such deadlines typically exist at home. This makes it extremely easy to overtly or subconsciously tip the balance of our scales to put more effort into our career. This plays great at work, but over time takes its toll at home. Of course there is an insidious feedback loop inherent with success that comes our way. The more we accomplish at work, the more we are given to do. Bigger and more important projects with harder and more crucial deadlines. This requires more effort and more time and more of us. By the time we get home, all that is left for our families is pieces of us. Ultimately last becomes least.

The problem that many of us face is that we don't realize what has become of our relationships until it is too late, until the damage is done. I can hear my own words from long ago still ringing in my ears, "Oh that will never happen to me". If you see yourself in the above paragraphs, I pray that you carefully reflect on who or what really deserves your full effort and energy.