Reignite your positivity - with a family vacation

My parents always worked in insurance of some sort. One thing my brother and I learned from that was – don’t get a job in insurance. Anyway, in the 80’s one time (of many) my dad lost his job. In the insurance industry, one company was always closing and another one opening so my parents ended up losing jobs more than I can imagine but my mom knew that it was important to reignite your positivity.

So my dad comes home and tells my mom that his company closed and he lost his job. They never made a ton of money but my mom was creative so it always worked out. So my mom’s reaction is –

“If you lost your job, we better take a vacation.”

Erica Leary’s mom

The average person is probably reading this and thinking – no wonder they never got rich! Which was definitely true by monetary definition.

However, what is rich? What is success?

Life’s lessons come in strange ways. That was one of many that I learned from my parents.

Still have no idea what the lesson was?

I guess there were probably several lessons in that experience.

1.      Life is short.

You never know what tomorrow brings but one thing is certain. When you lose your job, you need a new one. When you get a new one, you can’t take vacation for a while!

When you look at it like that, it makes perfect sense!

2.      There is no guarantee what tomorrow brings

If you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, you need to make the most of today! This one may not make as much sense to a lot of people. Most people would say you need to save money. I get that. But, I also get that life is about much more than money which leads me to the third and most important lesson.

3.      Always know the riches that you have

My mom knew that no matter what happened next, we had each other and we had our health. When people lose their jobs, they sometimes go into a downward spiral or get depressed. My mom, whether intentionally or not (I never asked) knew that. She knew that we all needed to enjoy being together because that was the most important thing. She understood that the life’s memories were about experiences.

Let me say that one again:

Life is about experiences and creating memorable moments.

Erica Leary

What did a vacation do? It reminded us that we love each other. That no matter what happens in life, we have each other. That really, nothing else mattered. Period.

Did they want to lose their house? Of course not. But in the end, we had what mattered.

My parents were both educated. We went to a high school with middle to high class families. Everyone that I ever met wanted my lunches, wanted to spend the night at my house, wanted to just be around us. Why? Because we always had what everyone else wanted. It was not money, or cars, fancy restaurants, or even luxurious vacations. We didn’t have the fanciest house or clothes.

The Beaver Cleavers

My brother and I were confident, happy children. Why? Because we had parents who loved each other. They loved us. And we all loved spending time together. We were called “the Beaver Cleavers” plenty of times.

Is that the only reason? Pretty much!

My mom cooked every single meal in the house and I could show up with 3 friends and say – “can they come to dinner?” at 4 in the afternoon. My mom would “stretch” the meal! Zero stress. We had lots of rice! J

Was it the home cooked meals? Maybe – most moms would slap something together but my mom cooked with love! But what I think it was more than the home cooked meals, was the experience. We always ate every meal together. We sat at the table and we talked. Even in college, my friends all came home from college to our house (same one – we never lost it – but there were plenty of lost jobs after that one!). Everyone has a memory from our house – a birthday party, a breakup, the time they met the love of their life, the time that…..

Are you getting the picture?

By now, I assume you are getting the picture – but just in case. This isn’t about my perfect life. Although many would argue it was – plenty would argue the opposite – financial stability never seems to make it high on the list. This is about figuring out what is important to you in your life.

Bad things happen to good people all the time. Tony Robbins says – What are you going to do with it? What meaning do you give it? Process it, get mad, get sad, but in the end, your best bet is a positive move forward in any way possible at the moment.

4.      Don’t sweat the small stuff

I learned from a very young age – without ever being told – that family is important, relationships matter, and life is about experiences. How you handle a negative situation is important.

So were we rich? Clearly not – in the literary sense. However, our lives were rich with experiences that most never get – create.

Figure out what you value in your life. What really matters? What experiences do you want to create?

What is your “go to” move when something bad happens? Do you take a vacation?