I just finished an article in O Magazine by Lisa Kogan. The gist of the article was a discussion about the difference between life in our 20s and our 40s. It was a funny, well written article. Read it if you get a chance (Link).
There was one thing that she said in the article that struck me as I read it: '...in those days it was no big deal if someone couldn't track you down for half an hour.' Oh my gosh, I remember that--disappearing off the map for a while and reappearing after you had de-stressed a little bit. After a tough day at the office, I would wander in the shopping mall for a while. Not buying anything, just being unavailable.
We are an instant gratification society (I still can't figure out how our parents raised us without cell phones). When I need to talk to someone, I have many ways to reach them: land line, mobile phone, email, texting and even Facebook. Most families I know have at least one cell phone number per person, a home line and a work phone. It is almost impossible not to be able to reach someone if you really need to!
One of the things I like best about my Blackberry is the auto-start and auto-shutoff feature. When I find myself obsessing too much about a transaction or recognizing that I just need a break, I modify the time to shut off a little earlier and stay off a little longer. There is not a deal out there that will fall apart because I actually got to finish reading the morning paper.
I wonder how this constant availability has affected our quality of life. 'Back in the Day' I remember leaving the office very late, after staying to work on a project or proposal, but knowing that until the next morning, I was free. Once in a blue moon I would have a boss who called me at home, but mostly my time at home was my own.
Realtors have always been more available than other folks. After all, most of our work takes place when our clients are not at work (although now that they all have cell phones, I find clients are much more likely to dart out of the office to see a house). I remember as a kid my mom (who was a Realtor) taking calls late in to the night. We used to have to keep the main line free so that she could get work calls--and they often came during dinner or as we were going to bed. At least I can turn off my cell phone!
With all of the pressure that we are all feeling because of the economy, it is a good time to make appointments with yourself for a little time 'off the grid.' I am not saying that you should ignore your messages, or not return calls, but take some time for a work-out or a manicure. Walk the dog or take your child to the park. Enjoy the people that you are with--the ones on the phone can wait their turn!
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