“Wheels up!” -Annette G.

“Wheels up!” -Annette G.

The first time I heard that quote I laughed OUT LOUD.

“What did you say?” I asked my friend Annette at our kid’s basketball game.

“You know ‘wheels up’. Get on an airplane. Go.” she said.

I put it on my QuoteYa Board immediately. That one I wanted to remember. It spoke to me.

Daily Routine

We get so caught up in our daily busy-ness, which is valid mind you. The hum-drum rhythm of our routine is very important. It’s how we build bonds. Earn trust. Get things done. It’s how we care and take care. Our daily to-dos are vital. But we can get so caught up in it.

Have you ever just said “I need a break,” and you were gone? It’s OK to put our responsibilities on hold for a little while and take care of ourselves. Not only is it OK, it is vital!

Head West!

When the kids were little and I couldn’t bare the tumult, not one more second, I did just that–I took off. I got in the car ALONE and drove west. West just sounds so pioneer, doesn’t it? Well, I thought so… I went west. Now I didn’t get very far. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and made it to just outside of Lincoln (less than 50 miles). Not far at all. But I did it. And I needed to do it. And then, because the kids were little, I headed back. I had to get back to them.

But I did it again a few years later. I had enough of feeling under appreciated, undermined, and devalued. I had enough. Let go of the responsibilities. I needed a break. I threw clothes in an overnight bag, made sure everyone was OK, fed, and taken care of… and once again, I headed west.

Benedictine Monks

This time I drove just a little farther – to a Benedictine Retreat Center I had heard of. I went to the front desk and asked if they had any availability.

“Could I get a room and breakfast in the morning? I won’t be a bother. I just need some sleep. I need some peace.”

It was the best 30 hours I had had in a long time. Reconnecting with myself, and feeling a little peace and quiet was exactly what was needed.

Today I Went a Little Farther

And today, several years later, I did it again. This time though, the kids are much older. Like years past, I went west. This time to Colorado. I am taking a break. With the demands of married and family life and my first born going off to college, I needed to go.

I found a clean, small, affordable one-bedroom condo with a breathtaking mountain view from the deck. There’s a bike path across the street, a Farmer’s Market in the morning, a yoga class at the park, and within view an amphitheater hosting a free concert the next two nights. I didn’t know any of this when I booked this spot. I am alone. I can breathe.  I am taking a break. I had to tell myself and others: “I’m taking a break ALONE and IT’S OK.”

Why do we feel we have to validate what we NEED to do? Are we not good enough? Do we not deserve some time, some space, alone? Do we not crave it? But we tend to stuff it down like other uncomfortable things in life. Some of you may be uncomfortable being ALONE. But try it. Start small – go to a movie by yourself. Go to a coffee shop or out for dinner by yourself. Get acquainted with you. Then before you know it you’ll be taking a trip ALONE. Maybe you’ll head west and start to find some peace and quiet.

So “wheels up” it is!

Not only do I like the sweet no-nonsense simplicity of the quote. I like what it demands.

“Wheels up!”

Go do it. Get in that car. Get on that plane. Let it take you where you need to be. Usually we only regret the things we don’t do.




“Do it with GUSTO!”

“Do it with GUSTO!”

“Do it with GUSTO!”

How many of us are just going through the motions, strolling through life? Wondering at times… “I don’t even remember driving here.” or even deeper “How did I get here?” I mean “How did I get here–at this point in my life?” Minutes turn into hours. Hours turn into days. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into years. Then something happens. We wake up & wonder “How did I get here?” “What am I doing with my life?” Have you ever asked yourself that? In other words have you ever asked “Am I living my life with GUSTO?”

Brian’s short life.

The above quote “Do it with GUSTO!” was a favorite saying of my brother Brian. Brian did everything with gusto. His running, biking, academics, shenanigans, friendships, adventures (at age 17, he even rode a horse from Michigan to Kentucky!) Life was meant to be lived. And he lived it!

Thank God he did, because he didn’t live a long life. He died at 18 from a virus that attacked his young, strong, gusto-filled heart. Brian was my bestest brother. He was 10 years older than me, but we were always together. Actually, it was more like he let me follow him around everywhere.

Then, one day, he had a bad cough. I knew something wasn’t right that night. I stayed in my bed, wide awake, quiet as could be. Listening to that cough. My tall, Irish, Marcus-Welby-type physician father came home from “making rounds” and took a listen to Brian’s heart. Something was definitely not right. Two extra heartbeats… Four total… Not good… They immediately rushed Brian off to the hospital, which was the beginning of a painful journey for him and our family. My parents never to be the same again. Several months, several doctors and several hospital stays later, Brian lost his battle.

Brian was supposed to go here.

When I turned 18, life was very different for me. I was here. Brian was not. What would he have done had he kept on living? While I was on a particular college visit my Mom told me “Brian was supposed to go here.” Done. I knew right then and there that was where I too was supposed to go to school. My college experience influenced the rest of my life. The friends I met. The courses I studied. My college experience was full of GUSTO! That is one example of how Brian’s words influenced my life and still do today.

We’ve all heard it though…

“Live the life you dream!”

“Seize the day!”

But what are you doing about it? It’s time to wake up! Stop the ho-hum, the hum-drum. It’s time to live your life. NOW. It’s time to “Do it with GUSTO!”

So DO the thing you’ve been thinking about, because it will continue to nag you if you don’t. You won’t feel settled if you don’t do it.

GO on that trip that you’ve always wanted to take.

CLIMB that mountain that you’ve always wanted to climb.

COOK the seemingly impossible meal.

FIND the love of your life.

START the business you’ve always wanted to start.

But remember to LOVE yourself first. Because if you don’t love you, no one else will. And part of loving yourself, is by being true to you. You are here now. Brian isn’t. What a life he would’ve led! What a life he would’ve lived!

So get off the computer. Turn off your phone. Get out there. Breath the fresh air. Take in the blue sky. Listen to the birds. They are singing to you.

Live your life and “Do it with GUSTO!”