Breathe and Relax — Get the Most out of Life

Life is too short to step back, breathe and relax. At least that’s what my brain tells me as I take on “just one more” task or commitment. But isn’t it interesting how time actually seems to slow down so we can immerse in truly living when we step back, relax an breathe?

In dance we are encouraged to take two steps in a dance move then pause for two counts–taking the time to think about and learn from what we are actually doing.

In music, the intense beauty in a sound clip is often found in the rest between notes.

What inspires you to step back and breathe? And how did you find it? I found a recent happy place during the crazy schedule we had at our company meetup.

We hit the ground running on a Saturday afternoon. From that moment on, we had opportunities to play, learn, laugh, and work next to comrade-colleagues we only see once or twice a year. Events and sessions kept us active (if we wanted) from about 6am until 2am the next day every day (and some nights went later for some). It’s an exhausting and beautiful time.

Since I am struggling to maintain a healthy weight I was determined to exercise and ward off a repeats of last year’s +7 lbs gained over the amazing week of incredible food choices. Because of this, for the majority of my days at the meetup, no matter how late I was up, I tried to go for a 7-ish am swim. I really missed it and felt off-kilter the days I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t a huge swim (I also went for walks during lunch and in evenings), but I got some laps and treading-water time in. Then came my blissful moments — for about five minutes, I would just float on my back and…

Relax and Breathe

And this was my view as I did so:

Dawn in Florida with birds segmenting the distance between my floating body and the setting moon.

Bliss, right?

Now that I’m home, on a daily basis I find myself back in those moments as I lay in a bed of gently lapping waves, staring at the sky, and listening to my own long breaths as they echoed underwater. As I think of it, I’m filled with tranquility.

I’m going to leave those thoughts there. And in closure, join me in my quest for some peace amidst the chaos of life. I think the impulse of my brain is wrong. We DO have time to breathe and enjoy all we have and refocus. On that note…

breathe in help GIF

Ageism and Automattic

Some of the over-40-year-old workers at Automattic (image taken by my co-workerJen Hooks at our company's Grand Meetup at Whistler).

Some of the over-40-year-old workers at Automattic (image taken by my co-workerJen Hooks at our company's Grand Meetup at Whistler).
Some of the over-40-year-old workers at Automattic (image taken by my co-worker Jen Hooks at our company’s Grand Meetup at Whistler).

About a week ago I read an article on age and the workplace that was a bit chilling. It linked to a study, which shows that in the tech industry

43% of employees worry about losing their job due to their age

The thought was sobering. Downright sad. And scary.

What really gets me about all this is the fact that this is the tech industry we are talking about. While I know computers “became a thing” over a century ago, the people who really got the momentum going for the techie-world we work and thrive in now are now are still alive. This is not a history lesson from some old moldy book. We have the pioneers living right in our midst. Why in the world would we not want to tap into this knowledge?

It reminded me once again of how fortunate I am to be working at Automattic, Inc where we constantly strive to maintain and cultivate an inclusive environment. Inclusivity refers not only to race and gender but also to many other facets of one’s being. This includes age, geographic location, disabilities, etc.

Our company currently has a bit over 600 employees, and over 80 of us are over 40-years-old. I was 42 when I was hired.

Not only do I not fear for my age being a factor in my job, I often feel that my age is considered an asset. Yes, we do have/have had young people working in the company. Brilliant, energetic individuals who might not have experienced their first legal alcoholic drink yet. But we also have people decades older than my current 45 years. We all have something unique to bring to the table, and overall, it helps us provide a better product for our customers and relate in different ways as we offer customer support.

I wish other companies would realize that.

The report suggests ways for companies to become more inclusive in regard to age. Our company not only implemented those suggestions long before my hiring, but it is constantly re-evaluating to make sure all our needs are met.

For example, as a mid-forty-year-old woman, I’m now in the sandwich generation. The company allows me to set my own schedule so I can take time to be with my kids when they are home from college or visiting, and I can also arrange my work days so I have the flexibility to take my mother-in-law to doctor appointments and on errands.

I, myself, have some of the fun health issues that come with age and life-experiences. My arthritic fingers balk at typing and mouse-use at times. The company provides me with the keyboards and special mouse options I need to relieve that pain.

What does the company get in return? Well, for one thing, I’m so grateful for flexibility in schedule that I will happily work overtime if it’s necessary (and sometimes even when it’s not because this job is so wonderful, it’s addicting). I offer life-lessons I have learned from things that have worked or not worked in past experiences. Also, as stated in the study linked above:

Research by David Galenson of the University of Chicago showed that approaches to problem-solving differ between generations, and Galenson found that older people tend to do better at solving thorny, complicated problems due to the deeper levels of understanding they have acquired over the course of their careers.

Good stuff, that. 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to share this because it’s been in my thoughts this week. And I’m really thankful for my job.

BTW, if you are into tech and/or customer support, we’re hiring (and age won’t be a factor against you 😉 ).