Lost in America

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I was on a business trip recently to a small town in upstate New York. This New England style town reminded me of visiting my Grandmother’s house in Pittsburg when I was a kid. I can still hear the sound of the wooden floorboards creaking on my grandmother’s grand staircase that had something you called a “banister.” This town was clearly an old industrial town that held the promise of what used to be. No Starbucks for 20 miles and people actually drank water from the tap. While there, I never saw a redbox, and I’m guessing if I asked about Uber someone would have handed me a Kleenex. It felt locked in time. A time without cell phones, Internet, or bottled water. A time of kick-the-can and family trips in the station wagon. When I handed my credit card to the waitress, Sam, at the diner, she stared at me and said, “We don’t take credit, only cash.” Uh-oh, how am I going to eat this week?! “Apple pay?” I asked. “What?” She responded, “You want to pay with apples?” I glanced out to the parking lot to make sure I hadn’t arrived here in a silver DeLorean. Anyone here know Marty McFly? Calvin Klein perhaps?

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Well Day…

After an intense month at work, I decided to take a day off and get in a day on the slopes. I was talking with a guy in the gondola who asked about my work. Since it was a Wednesday, he concluded that I must be taking a sick day. “Actually,” I told him, “I’m taking a well day.” I explained that you take a sick day when you are sick and need to get well. You take a well day when you are well and want to avoid getting sick. “Hmm,” he responded, “So you’re taking a vacation day?” I replied, “Not really.” See vacations are well planned events that may, or may not, result in your returning to work refreshed and ready to dig in. How often have you heard the expression, “I need a vacation from my vacation?” We all love Disneyworld, but a visit with Mickey often ends with sore feet, exhausted parents, and a much lighter wallet! A well day, on the other hand, is spontaneous. It is a down day, R&R, some much needed recuperation time. It is in direct response to the feeling of, “I really need a day off!” Well days rejuvenate you and, if done properly, can have you back at work with vigor and a clear mind after just one day away from the office.

I know what you are thinking, but don’t, I am dedicated to my work and I’m sure you are too. In fact, here in America, we have a reputation for hard work, long hours, and taking shortened vacations where we remain plugged into the office. A recent article in Forbes states that Americans average 47 hours of work a week. That’s nearly a full extra day of work a week! The result, stressed out employees slamming down coffee as they tackle the many tasks and emails in front of them. Many corporations are incorporating wellness programs and adding foosball tables and relaxation pods to the corporate break room. So why not add “well days” to the offering? A recent study (here) states that happy employees are 12% more productive at work. These well days should be used sparingly, but one or two unexpected days off during the year just might boost productivity and create a happier workforce!

Remember that guy on the gondola? His phone rang during the ride. He didn’t answer it, but told me that he only brought the phone so he could take a picture and send it to his workmates who were stuck at work. I’m not sure if that was good for morale, but it seemed to make his well day all the more satisfying!

“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” Mark (6:31)

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