Smiles and Staycations

David mentioned last week that I’ve been smiling more lately.

This is one of those things people say to you that can be more worrisome than happy-making. At least, it is for me. If I were more Zen, I could likely embrace the current smiling trend and be pleased about it.

Instead I started thinking about why I hadn’t been smiling as much before.

Last week, if I didn’t mention, I was on vacation. The way our company works, our contracts all end on December 31, if not sooner. They can’t go past December 31. Instead, a new contract must be created. Even though we start reminding our clients in October and November to get the new paperwork in, a lot of them wait until January to do it. After all, nobody really does any work after Thanksgiving, right? Then, even when the paper work is submitted, it can take weeks to wend its way through the approval process.

The upshot is, we ending up working pretty hard and frantic to get everything required delivered with a 12/31 date and then we have nothing, or barely anything, for sometimes several weeks. This is one of the feast and famine cycles of consulting. Also, because we work on client billing, like lawyers, if there’s no client to bill to, there’s no working.

So, I’ve gotten in the habit of saving vacation and holiday for early January. Last week I took totally off. David was off school still, so we both hung out at home all week. We slept in until 7 or 7:30 every morning and went for a leisurely work-out. I wrote and worked on two different books all week. We went out to lunch, did some shopping, read a lot.

It was really my perfect calendar.

If I could work my life to follow that schedule all the time, I think I’d be very pleased.

Thus the smiling more.

What I think gets me about that is, I think I’m pretty happy with my life as is. I’m privileged to work from home, with generous pay and benefits, for a company I like with terrific colleagues. The job is flexible enough to allow me time to write. I have possibly the best boss in the world.

It should be enough for me.

I suppose that’s the nature of wanting something in particular, following a dream, chasing an ideal. You’re never quite satisfied with less than that. If you were, you’d stop trying. Dissatisfaction is the spur that drives us on, that goads us to want more than what we have.

And smiling when we have it? That tells us we’re going the right direction.

9 Replies to “Smiles and Staycations”

  1. Smiling is good. Vacation is good. Your work situation does sound pretty ideal.

    I kinda prefer to think in terms of Aspirations as opposed to Dissatisfaction. I kinda have to, because I tend to not be as up as would be deemed a healthy state of mind. Can't afford to be much dissatisfied, although I realize that may mean something much less negative to you than it would to me.

    It's good to reflect on our states of mind/being now & then, just to check for Balance.

    Great sunset, BTW.

    Thanks for this post,


  2. It's true – my dissatisfaction is pretty mellow in general. More like an itch than an ache. I'm glad the post said something to you, John!

  3. I had something similar happen to me when I changed jobs within my company. When I saw my old boss again for the first time since leaving his division, he said, "You're glowing. Are you happy?" which made me think…if he thinks this is happpy, what was I looking like when I worked for him??? And how do you answer that without sounding as though you've been freed from prison? Yes, I'm thrilled I no longer work for you? Er…

  4. Wow, Danica, that is the same thing! I guess our faces always tell the truth, even if we have to fudge the words…

  5. Guess what. It isn't that you got to indulge in your 'ideal' schedule for a little while (well, okay, it is – but stick with me here) – it's actually the *change*. If you were magically able to keep your ideal schedule all the time, the smiling would stop after awhile. That ideal would become routine and that routine would become stultifying. This isn't to say you'd have to go utterly redefine an ideal – but finding ways to mix things up and keep your brain awake can be a challenge. And, sadly, I've discovered, the laundry never does find a way to do itself.

  6. Hmm, Marcella – that sounds terribly cynical of you. We'll have to revisit after I've gotten to do "ideal schedule" for a little while. I'm betting you're wrong. So there.

  7. Having lived my ideal, I have to agree with Marcella. It's the old saying of "change will do you good." Because, "too much of a good thing" lessens the value. We "take all the good for granted."


    Okay, I think I hit my cliche quota for the, wait, there's one more…

    "Keep Smilin', hon"

  8. Well said. I, like you, have a pretty sweet deal when it comes to work and after the end of this month will be doing is from the comfort of my home on a daily basis. So if you have any advice I would totally appreciate it.

  9. I'm willing to take the bet, KAK – you and Marcella, both – I think my ideal would work long term. I'd put money on it.

    Congrats Kelly! I'm putting that on my blog topics list.

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