One of the most often overlooked maintenance items during a major relocation is, well, you.
Especially if you have children, you are laser focused on making sure the transition is as easy as possible for them. Making sure they make new friends, they fit in at school, they are up to speed on curriculum, have new clothes, are playing the right sports, and have good coaches, making sure they make all of the play dates, birthday parties, dance recitals, karate tournaments, Boy Scout meetings and of course, making sure you reciprocate to as many people as possible so you are not seen as the new, rude people in town.
And somewhere within that schedule, unpack and make your new house your home.
A year goes by, and you realize that you can’t remember the last time you had a nice quiet dinner with your wife or husband alone. And just as important, when was the last time you “hung out with the guys” or had a “girl’s night out?”
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I believe that raising a family is a bit like crash landing an airplane, except with fewer peanuts flying around and the bottles of alcohol are much bigger.
Help yourself before helping others.
That is what the airlines tell you. It goes against our nature as parents, and if you are a person of faith, it likely goes against everything you have lived toward. But it is the truth, and it doesn’t necessarily apply just to people who have recently moved.
A good friend of mine, who is more than 20 years my senior, once gave me the best advice I have ever been given. Just before my son was born, he told me that if I wanted to raise a happy, well balanced family, my top priority should be taking care of my marriage and the rest would fall into place.
Try telling that to any parents of newborns.
But, with the advantage of grandparents constantly fighting for a sleepover, my wife and I were lucky enough to find ourselves alone for many weekends, were we could rekindle some romance and remember what the days B.C. (Before Children) were like. We used to call it our “relationship reset” and we both could tell when we were ready for one.
We have been happily married for 12 years, with hopefully many more to come.
I have to say, however, that the secret to a happy family and a happy marriage is more than time together. It is also time apart.
Since we have moved to Fort Mill, my wife has found a social circle and made many great friends that dwarfs anything she ever had previously. She is more socially active than she has ever been in her life, and I am extremely proud and happy for her….and to be honest, a little jealous.
But what really makes me the luckiest guy alive, is that my wife gets me. She understands that, as much as I frequently spend time alone, traveling for business, sometimes, I need my “guy time.”
I call it “recharging the man batteries.”
I like shooting. There is something about putting holes in paper that makes men feel manlier, especially if you can do it with other “manly men.” Perhaps it is the ritualistic beers afterward; telling lies, reliving some of the glory days and perhaps making some new stories in the process. There is something about the proverbial 19th hole that vitalizes a man’s spirit, and makes him ready to tackle anything, even changing diapers.
So ladies, let your men out.
Men, let your ladies out.
Couples, get out there and have a night out together. Remember what it was like to be 21.
We live in an outstanding community that offers plenty to do for whatever your interests are as individuals or as couples, or as a couple of couples.
The boxes will still be there, the pictures can wait to be hung, and the paint won’t go bad, I promise.
So, check out Main Street, Fort Mill – Local Dish, Puckerbutt Pepper Co. and wait a little bit for Hobo’s (my wife and I can’t). Take a stroll down Market Street in Baxter Village – grab some pizza at Fratelli’s, Sushi at Akahana, or a pint of the good stuff at Six Pence, or a five-star dining experience at The Fish Market with a nice, after dinner glass of wine at Grapevine. Take a trip to uptown Charlotte, visit the Epicenter on a Saturday night. Take a splash at the Whitewater Rafting Center. If you like putting holes in paper too, I highly suggest The Range at Ballantyne.
Whatever it is you like to do, get out and do it.
The house, the move and everything that goes along with it can wait. Enjoying life can’t.