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2017 Jun

Hit the Reset Button

Dear Friends,

How would you rate your quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10? Do you wake up each morning happy to be alive or dreading the day ahead? Your children pick up on your feelings, so without your saying a word, they are tuned in to your mood.

If feelings of frustration seem to follow you around like storm clouds, then take a deep breath and ask yourself why. I’m not a psychiatrist, so I can’t solve all your problems, but sometimes a little honest self-evaluation can help change your outlook.

Two issues seem to plague families today: not enough time and not enough money. I think there are ways to make these problems go away—or at least seem less important.

Let’s start with time. Take a moment to consider how you are spending your time. Are you looking at a screen or the smiling face of your toddler? The screen will always be there, and guess what? The never-ending stream of information will always be there, too. But here’s the thing. How much of that information is valuable to you? How much of it adds to your quality of life?

Now picture another scenario. Instead of staring at your phone, you and your family are sitting on the beach as gentle waves crash along the shore. Seagulls fly overhead, and a soft breeze wafts over you. Your kids are playing in the sand, and soon you scoop up your toddler and head to the water’s edge to cool off in the sea. Truly this is what quality of life is all about. And how lucky we are to live so near the beach!

Create more moments in your life like this. It’s an antidote for whatever ails you.

As for the other issue—not enough money—here’s a suggestion. Want less. Look at your list of things you want and ask yourself whether they will add to your quality of life or just make life busier than it already is. My guess is it’s the latter.

The old adage is true: We don’t own our stuff. It owns us. The question is would you rather own things or own memories of precious moments when your children are little and all they want is to be with you and have your undivided attention (i.e., no screens). My kids and I loved coloring and playing with building blocks. We made cookies and went for walks in the woods. That was quality time.

Today is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button and remind yourself that people matter, not things. Kids grow up too fast. Don’t wake up ten years from now and say, “I wish I had been there more for my kids.” It’s a choice you make. Your quality of life and theirs depends on it.

Happy summertime!

Love, Peggy

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.