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.