This theme of this year’s Right as Rain column has been “Connecting with Your Community.”
Well the closest communities we have are right inside of our homes: our families.
And three weeks ago, I made that connection concrete.
On October 1, Maya and I had a civil ceremony at the Durham courthouse.
And after five minutes, surrounded by only our closest relatives, we were married.
To be fair, we’d been living together as a family, with our daughter, for the past year and a half. This just made it official and gave us both new pieces of jewelry to wear.
We’d already had stupid fights that arose because of silly miscommunications. We’d already had the nights where we bailed on “grownup” plans so we could stay on the couch cuddled up with a pint or two of Talenti. We’d already had the vacations that were so stressful when trying to get out the door that they almost seemed pointless, but then turned out to be totally worth it when we made amazing memories with our daughter as she saw the ocean for the first time.
And Maya had already come to terms with the fact that I was an entrepreneur (I hate that word. It’s pretentious and overused, but here we are…) and learned how to navigate that — emotionally and logistically.
Sometimes it meant that I’d be cold and distant, lost in an unreplied-to email while we tried to watch our guilty pleasure shows. Sometimes it meant that I’d forget to communicate my grownup plans with colleagues or clients, and she’d have to adjust her plans. And sometimes, many times in fact, it meant that my travel schedule would leave her home alone with our daughter and our wish for a getaway weekend was once again thwarted.
We could already handle these things (… and by “we” I clearly mean “she”).
But now I’m a husband.
And I don’t want to be that kind of husband.
What I’ve learned lately in my business, is that to connect on a deeper level in any community or relationship, we have to cut some things out of the picture. We have to sacrifice.
In some weird world, we have to do less in order to do more.
Now I am trying to apply this concept to my personal life.
It means that when I’m at work, I seek out deep focus to do just that: work. Then, when I’m done with work and at home, I try to be present in those moments at home.
It’s so clichê, it’s painful to me. It’s what we all talk about wanting and needing.
But it’s just so easy to fail, or forget, and stop trying that it is a constant problem for us all.
For me, it means a couple simple adjustments.
For work, I try to schedule everything. I have days that are “client/public-facing days,” where I schedule all my phone calls and meetings. I have days that are solely for “creating” — which means podcast recording, video production, or churning through the latest edit of a film.
I try to whittle down my ever-growing “to do” list to just 3 or 5 top tasks that I need to do each day.
I schedule my workouts, so they don’t get replaced by something else.
I constantly check in with myself to make sure I’m on schedule and not off-task.
Then, when I pick my daughter up from daycare, take her home and make her dinner, and get her ready for bed, I try to just put my phone away.
I don’t take calls. I don’t respond to most texts if they aren’t family. And I try not to even look at email.
It isn’t easy.
And again, I have to constantly check in with myself and make sure I’m not off-task.
I want to do less, so that each moment has the potential to be more.
More depth. More connection. More love.
It starts with intention. But then, I have to set up the plan to accomplish it.
Featured image via Anna Norwood
Rain Bennett is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and competitive storyteller with over a decade of experience producing documentary films that focus on health and wellness. His mission is simple: to make the world happier and healthier by sharing stories of change.
You can read the rest of “Right as Rain” here, and check back every Wednesday on Chapelboro for a new column!