Time to stop and smell the roses

That old saying “stop and smell the roses” could be updated for the road warriors among us to “stop and look at the incredible aerial views”.  Recently, I was on a flight that included the dreaded holding pattern and circling.

The destination airport was closed due to heavy fog. But out my window was a beautiful sight. Light, fluffy clouds and green forests dotted with little towns as far as I could see.

I had been doing my usual on a business trip…..catching up on email and work reading. I prefer aisle seats but this flight I ended up in a window seat. So with a great view, why not “stop and smell the roses” a bit.  Or call it being mindful as many of us are now trying to be more often– fully aware and in the present moment.

The pace we go is faster and more intense than we may like. Weekends are filled with commitments, errands, and more work. I think “what would it have been like to live the slower or simpler life of my grandparents,” but then I’m quickly back to reality. I do appreciate the many advances we take for granted.

We’re in constant motion. My husband is retired; he says he tries to spend at least 5-10 minutes each summer day sitting on our patio doing nothing, absolutely nothing.  He calls it, “getting his Wendell Berry on.”  We are fortunate to live on a wooded lot; in the summer it’s our own little state park. His goal is to do absolutely nothing, and it’s hard to squeeze it in. Even retirees are constantly on the go with too many projects.

Leaders say they don’t have time to think. It’s one meeting after another, one email after another. Carving out time to look ahead, plan, strategize and think is something we all need to do. Creating routines that include think time, reading, reflection, relaxing and taking care of ourselves is necessary.

When I started blogging a year ago, I wanted to share experiences and lessons with more people. With my 30+ years in health IT management, I saw it as one more way to give back. The weekly routine of writing has also become a reflective discipline. Taking time to pull lessons from events and experiences before they are too far in the rearview mirror and forgotten.

Summer is half over. Have you taken a break? Have you gone off the grid for at least a few days? Have you spent quality time with those people that Stephen Covey would call your “big rocks”? Have you taken time to think big thoughts, to read something new and interesting, to learn something new, and to rejuvenate?

Are there some roses, however you define them, that you need to stop and smell?

14 thoughts on “Time to stop and smell the roses

  1. Nancy Moussa on said:

    Love it and thanks for reminding us for taking vacation in summer. Yes I agree everybody should have a vacation to answer these four questions.

  2. Andrew G. on said:

    I’ve been using an app called “Headspace” for the past month and it’s quite wonderful. It guides you through a daily 10-20 minute meditation. It’s structured as a journey whereby you learn the basics of meditation both technically and philosophically before you’re allowed to roam through it’s more topic-focused meditation library.


  3. Sue – your thoughts on disconnecting and truly getting away are so timely! I’m enjoying two lovely weeks at the beach with extended family. While I am working a bit for the first week, it’s that much easier because I have lovely ocean views and sand between my toes. Next week – my official week off – will be challenging. The lure of electronic devices will be hard to resist, but I’m going to try and lose myself in good books and family time instead. It’s often times like these, when my mind is not focused on deadlines, that I get my best ideas. I hope you and your readers have a great summer!

  4. Jack Underwood on said:

    Your posting brings back fond memories of our grand country from the cockpit at 40,000 feet. Some of my best times to think and reflect were at 3 AM with all on board asleep (except me) and the radios quiet. A similar effect can be experienced by taking the laptop outside for a bit on a beautiful day.

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Jack, I spend a lot of time outside on beautiful weekend days with my laptop — biggest challenge is keeping the mosquitoes from eating me!

  5. Lisa Finstrom on said:

    This is a great message! It reminds me of this quote I came across credited to Maya Angelou, “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life, and I live it – I believe life likes the liver of it. I live it.”

  6. M Hepner on said:

    Thanks for this post, I will keep it in mind as I head out to vacation next week.
    Love the “big rocks” reference, next week will be “sharpening the saw” time.

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