A Time to Reap

Warning: Cliché post.

The other day, I was writing to a friend of mine when I happened to look up and out the window. The huge maple tree across the street was gloriously full, a rich green save for one bright red branch of impending autumn.

I learn about fall the same way every year. Summer passes, with me absolutely oblivious to the ticking of time, until a blatant sign of the season’s end slaps me in the face. My reaction is the same every year. Stunned, I sit back, and I want to protest to someone. I want to say, “But wait… I haven’t done everything I wanted to. I’m not finished yet.”

This year’s wake-up call was no different. I’d promised my kids a second trip to the beach. We’d hoped for a day at the waterslides. I wanted to go visit a friend of mine, a trip I’d been postponing with the foolish idea that summer lasted for years here in Canada. I wanted to do so many things, and now, time had run out. It was over.

I was sadder than hell that day. I always am. I feel like I missed the boat and lost my chance. I’d made promises I didn’t keep, and I felt guilty. I was sad that my kids were so used to me forgetting that they didn’t even hold me to my word.

So I went outside. I spent three days in the sun, only checking my email when I had to. I’d pay later, when deadlines loomed, but I needed to live for a little while.

I thought back over the past year. We’ve had a good one. Business is great, our lives around here have benefited from that, and we’ve learned plenty of new things. We have projects in the works, future projects planned, and past projects doing just fine, thank you. We’ve made some good clients, some good network contacts, and some great friends. Yeah, we’ve come a long way, and I can’t say I regret spending the summer working.

My kids weren’t suffering either. I hadn’t been that bad a dad. I knew when to take screw-off days (unscheduled days off work to rest and recharge) and I’d done plenty of other things with my children. My teen had a great summer (obviously not one spent under my wing), and my toddler still loves me plenty even though she didn’t get that second day at the beach.

See, it’s not about what you do with your time. It’s how happy everyone is overall with what they’ve got. We were happy, all summer long, despite the fact I assumed like a child the season would last forever.

And even though I’ve missed the summer, I’ve got all of fall to look forward to. Apple-picking, walks in the woods, sitting on the porch as the afternoon slips by, sitting some more when dark falls to watch the stars come out.

Harry’s been saying lately that autumn is for harvesting, a time to reap the rewards of the long, hard summer. He’s right. We did work hard, and it’s time for us to take stock of what we’ve gained. So before you settle down and get some work done, do like I did. Take a minute to think back on your year and see what your efforts brought you this harvest.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.