By Don Lindsey
With school in full swing again and my parents finally moved in and settled, things have picked up in our household. That’s been a good thing and we’re adjusting to our new schedules but as I settled in for bed the other night, I realized that I have been so busy that I haven’t taken enough time to enjoy all of the great things that are happening around me. The more I thought about it, the more I kept remembering the voice of my brother Jimmy who loved to say “take five” when he would see someone that he felt needed a break from working hard. He passed away in 2008 and while I miss my brother dearly, he left with me a lot of wonderful memories and a unique way of looking at things. He seemed to know when to slow down and enjoy life and as I look back on my week, I see nothing but a blur. I’m starting to think that “take five” is more than an expression but actually a solid piece of advice that I need to apply to my daily life.
The biggest problem I am finding with applying that philosophy, is time. Between running all day and keeping up with things around our house when I am home, by the time I finally slow down at night it’s time for bed. My wife has been expressing the same concerns and as we were commiserating about this topic the other night, she made a suggestion about spending some time playing with our family’s new kitten. I dismissed that thought at first. But the next morning when I went into my son’s room to check on the little 8 week ball of fur, who we’ve named Winter, I immediately realized what she had meant.
As soon as I walked into the room the kitten ran up to greet me. Tiny meows and pawing at my pant leg gave me the urge to sit down and fawn over her. After a few seconds of petting her and letting her chew on my hand, we began to play. For about ten minutes I worked her toy on a string and laughed as she bounced around the room trying to catch it. When I realized that I had spent so much time with her and still had a day to get to, I left and took care of the tasks that I had on my plate. An hour or so later, I came back in to find her cuddled up in the middle of the floor sleeping. Apparently our play session had worn her out and I sat down on the floor next to her to pet her. She woke up enough to see that I had joined her and proceeded to crawl onto my lap to continue her nap. I spent the next ten minutes petting her as she slept and realized that I still had more in my day to accomplish. As the morning and afternoon moved on, I found this process repeating itself and I was walking in to see Winter about every hour for some time with her. Every time I would leave the room I felt a little more energized and even more focused on whatever it was I needed to do. When the day had ended and I was settling in for bed, this time I did not look back on my day and see a blur, I saw one that was productive and filled with a lot of good moments. It seems as if my taking five, or ten in this case helped me slow down long enough to see the things I was missing before.
I’m sure we’ve all heard how important it is to enjoy the joyful times we experience. Busy schedules and hectic lives can make that hard to accomplish, but what I’m learning is that finding those few precious moments to unwind during the day greatly increases my overall happiness. There are a lot of things around me that bring me joy. My wife, children, friends, animals, music, video games, and the list goes on, so the next time I find my day going by too quickly or I am just frustrated by how it’s going, I am going to take my brother’s advice and take five….or ten. It works.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children,and community.