We thought we were merely going on vacation this past week.
Five days in sunny Arizona, a reset from the fast-paced workaday world and incredibly long to-do list of our diurnal life. My parents joined us, to celebrate an early birthday for my dad.
I wanted sun, quiet and a chance to disconnect from work.
I got so much more.
First, it was incredibly easy to disconnect from everything I deem so important, incredibly simple to say, I’ll take care of it next week. It wasn’t that I was trying to escape my world; no, it was more a correction of all we deem important and some things we had forgotten about or perhaps lost focus of in the quick pace of the everyday.
Like early morning silence.
Like the sounds of my children’s voices.
And so it was on day three that I took out my journal in the quiet dawn-filled courtyard and wrote by hand what I want my life to be about.
Simplicity. Quiet. Meaningful relationships. Make a difference.
It’s no wonder, then, that I reconnected with two high school friends living in Arizona. All it was was a hike up Camelback Mountain and a leisurely fountain-side breakfast and an afternoon splashing in the resort pools.
But it was really so much more.
I can’t believe that other high school classes have so many intact, important bonds as mine. Remember, it’s been 24 years (see I got the math right finally!) – and we’ve dispersed literally around the planet.
I hate to say it, but thanks to Facebook, I am in touch with so many people I grew up with. Like weekly, if not daily. Seriously. And I don’t think it’s because we have nothing better to do or no one closer to connect with in our adult lives.
We had such a special bond, the North Farmington High School Class of 1989. Through colleges and marriages and divorces and marriages and children and career-building and career changes and economic shifts and moving across the country or across the world, so many of us have stayed close.
What a wonderful feeling to sit over coffee with people who have known me most of my life – and whose families I know almost like my own.
Early one morning, I was emailing with my backyard neighbor and childhood friend Ian Sherbin about his recent travels. Yesterday, I spent the day with Jason Monczka and Allyson Ochs Primack and their children. Now our children are friends, continuing the legacy, the life cycle, the importance of relationships to move us forward but keep us grounded.
Last month, I sent a baby gift to Andy Tobias. I’ve emailed with so many classmates, I can’t keep track. And they are all doing amazing things – except every last detail is just the stuff of ordinary lives deemed exceptional because they’re being done by people I remember from the youngest ages.
And we parent similarly too. At one point, Jason explained that he and his wife teach their children to befriend the child who has no friends and to always stand up for the child who gets picked on.
This is the character of the people I grew up with.
I don’t think everyone, everywhere can say the same is true. It’s why I went on vacation and dedicated a whole day of my not-even-a-week getaway to people who say home to me. I can still picture Allyson’s childhood home in my neighborhood, as we’d pass it on bike rides.
My vacation away ironically brought me home – not to the house I live in now, but to my innermost Self, the place where I know what is right and what is not, where I have keen perspective on the priorities of a good life.
Makes me want to travel more, to record the stories of those people I’ve known for most of the years I’ve walked this planet.