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Commentary: Happy summer, revisited

Commentary: Happy summer, revisited
July 12
02:30 2018

By Algenon Cash

Over one year ago, I started writing commentary for The Chronicle. Time flies when you’re having fun. Once again summer is upon us.  I thought you might enjoy this article from last summer as a quick reminder of the importance to slow down and deeply appreciate the season.

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The official start to summer is a moving target for most people; teachers and students often consider the end of the school year as the beginning of their summer break, but I mark the fireworks of July 4th as the kickoff to celebrating a new summer season.

Today’s fast-paced environment demands a rigorous daily grind that often causes us to sacrifice personal health, relationships and goals.  It’s important to carve out space on a regular basis to refocus on your personal passion or you’ll grow weary, burned out and unmotivated.

Being an entrepreneur and community leader places stress on my schedule all year – speaking requests, business opportunities, volunteer service, endless calls and meetings  – so routinely I take a long break in July and December just to unwind, decompress and focus my mind on something besides professional and community work.

I consciously make a choice to wind down as the summer sets in, which means fewer meetings and less focus on “work.”

I place more attention on taking extended trips, visiting family, catching up with friends, writing, reading, hiking and long drives to clear my thoughts and mind of all the clutter amassed during the first half of the year. 

Not to mention the occasional spa trip for a relaxing mani, pedi, facial and massage – guys, if you haven’t done this with your lady, then you’re missing out!

I concentrate on expressing gratitude for seen and unseen blessings, which often places me outside enjoying nature or periodically inside cleaning out the attic, throwing away unnecessary “stuff” and organizing items to donate.

We all spend an unhealthy amount of time rushing from one place to another – driving to work, attending meetings, running errands, picking up kids and dropping kids off.  Deadlines, commitments and promises are the lines that shape our daily activities. 

Summer is a perfect opportunity to simply take a break, experience life unstructured and organically.  No plans, no schedule and no agenda – enjoy life in the moment.

So many people abdicate their personal goals to accomplish professional goals or assist organizations that we care deeply about to meet their objectives.  All the while we lose focus of the many opportunities that would add value to our personal lives – completing a degree, losing weight or traveling to another country.

Achieving personal goals builds confidence and enhances self-esteem, which provides the necessary energy to be effective in your family, at work or in the community at-large.

Most of my family lives close to each other, but I rarely spend quality time with them.  I used to say this was not “by choice,” but I’ve grown to learn that everything we do in life is by choice.  I willfully sacrifice time with those closest to me so that I can pursue goals that I believe can make a significant impact in the lives of other people.

Summer is a time when I deliberately reclaim those relationships, regain my connection with family and seek to make myself present for my closest friends. 

Unlike other months out the year, July is often more quiet and I receive less attention, but God provides more time to listen, reflect and show appreciation for those closest to me.

I pray you all enjoy this beautiful season … Happy Summer!

Algenon Cash is the managing director of Wharton Gladden & Company, an investment banking firm.  Reach him at acash@nullwhartongladden.com.

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