Last weekend, in the middle of a very busy week and month, Jesse and I took off a day and a half to go to New York City.
Was it because we needed one more thing to do? No, it was because we are learning that it’s important to be intentional about making time for fun — especially when it comes to our marriage.
We can get so busy with life… with the things we feel like we need to do and with the things we feel should do. We can feel like we’re just rushing through life — going from one project and to do to the next.
When you’re a person like me with a very Type A, driven personality, busyness and productivity come naturally. Taking time to rest, relax, and have fun do not. But, as I’m learning, it’s very important if I want to have a healthy balance in life.
So, as we flew home from New York City, I through about three reasons why it’s important to take time for fun…
#1) It Relaxes You
We often need to remind ourselves to relax and breathe. When Jesse and I were in New York City, we left the to-do’s, the projects, and even the kids at home. It was the first time we had both left the kids with a babysitter and gone on a trip in at least three years!
It was so good to get away from all of the noise and to just breathe. And honestly, in taking time to breathe, I realized that I’d been figuratively holding my breath for months and months — never allowing myself to fully relax and unwind. It felt so good and it was so needed.
#2) It Re-Energizes You
We need to refuel ourselves. If we just go and go and go and we never take time to refuel, we’re going to feel burned out and exhausted.
I’d been feeling really tired and exhausted recently, so I found myself thinking before the trip, “Why are we going on this trip when I’m already tired and exhausted?” But, as I discovered, taking that time to step away from normal life and to just do fun stuff completely re-energized me — even though we didn’t get very much sleep on the trip!
We went to a Broadway show, we went to a really nice restaurant (something we rarely ever do!), we got to hang out with our dear friends who were in the states from South Africa, we got to take the Staten Island Ferry, see the Statute of Liberty, ride the subway, see Wall Street, go to Rockefeller Center (with about every single other person in New York City, it seemed — the crowds were insane!), and go to the World Trade Center Memorial.
On the plane ride home I kept thinking, “You know? I was tired when I left and I’m kind of tired from all the walking, but I feel so re-energized and ready to jump back into life!”
#3) It Reminds You of What’s Really Important
I feel like the quick trip away cleared my head and helped me to be able to come back to real life with a fresh perspective. It reminded me of what’s really important.
Yes, there have been a lot of to-do’s and projects and deadlines the past few months, but while those can be important, people matter so much more than projects and productivity.
My marriage is what really matters, my kids are what really matter… that’s what I want to wrap my time and life around. That’s what’s going to matter most in 25 years from now.
Some of you might be feeling discouraged right now and maybe even saying, “That’s nice for you, but there’s no way on earth we could get a babysitter and go to New York City!”
To be 100% transparent, we paid very little out of pocket for the trip. We almost always fly the same airline and stay at the same hotel chain when we travel, so this allows us a lot of perks and the ability to earn a few free flights and hotel rooms. So, we were able to get our flights for free and our hotel stay only cost us $4! We went really cheap on food (except for the nice dinner our), we walked or rode the subway most places so transportation was very inexpensive, and most of the attractions we went to were free (other than the Broadway show).
But most of you probably don’t travel a lot for business so you don’t have these same perks and maybe you don’t have any wiggle room in your budget right now for fun. If that’s the case, don’t feel discouraged. You can still make time for fun — without speaking a dime!
Get together with friends over homemade dessert and play games while your kids play in the other room. Swap afternoon childcare with another mom so you can read a book from the library or work on a project you love. Plan a family night with a themed dinner. Watch a comedy with your spouse after your kids go to bed. Try a new sport as a family or couple.
Fun comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes — and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Get creative. Think about what sounds fun for you and then start brainstorming ways to make it a reality. It will be worth it.
What are your favorite ways to have fun — individually, as a couple, or as a family? I’d love to hear!