Oswald Letter

Use summer as a chance to focus on what’s really important

by Dan Oswald

Last week, we celebrated the first day of summer. With kids out of school for a few weeks now and the high temperatures we’ve experienced already, it seems like summer started quite a while ago. Either way, summer is here. It’s time for family vacations, afternoons at the ballpark, and concerts in the park.really important

There’s something all those things have in common: They take us away from work. As we continue to struggle to find that elusive work-life balance, summer provides an abundance of opportunities to spend time away from work doing things we enjoy with the people we love. Are you taking advantage of those opportunities?

We live in an ever-connected world where our work life is carried in the palm of our hands. If you’re like me, you can access your work e-mail and calendar on your phone. You can certainly take and make work-related calls. Again, if you’re like me, your contact list includes not only colleagues’ work numbers but also their cell numbers. We never have to be disconnected from work unless we consciously decide to be. What choices are you making?

Recently, a story about the last words of Steve Jobs went viral on the Internet and was read by countless people. Unfortunately, like much of what we read on the Web, the story wasn’t true. It didn’t contain the last words of the Apple founder and billionaire CEO. However, it was circulated far and wide and seemed to really resonate with people. Here is the story:

The last words of Steve Jobs

I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.
At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud . . . have become insignificant with my imminent death.
In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.
It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.

I’m not sure who would take it upon himself to write a story like that and claim it to be the last words of a dying man. But, looking past the reason for the story, the words seemed to really make an impact on people. Why?

Maybe because the story is a reminder to all of us that there is more to life than work. You may absolutely love what you do. I hope you do. But there is still more to life than your work—even the work you love. There is a whole world out there beyond your workplace filled with opportunities for discovery and relationships.

There is an old quote that goes something like this: “No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’” If you think about it, that’s very true for at least the vast majority of people. I believe that as we reach the end of life, we think about the moments we had with our loved ones: the newborns, the weddings, and the family reunions. We remember family vacations, as imperfect as they often are. We think about special moments with the people we care about most.

So as we enter the summer of 2017, don’t lose sight of what’s really important. Take the time to create moments you’ll look back on some day with fondness and joy. Disconnect from work long enough to make memories that will last a lifetime!