Ellie Days

My five-year-old niece, Ellie, announced to her parents one Sunday morning that this was Ellie Day and she asked for extra attention and toys.  My sister and brother-in-law, who both have a good sense of humor, played along to a certain degree and hosted the first annual Ellie Day.  However, my niece also informed them that this was not just an annual event.

Kids have an enviable ability to ask for what they want.  I reflected on this while reading an article in National Geographic about Andrew Skurka, who took 5 ½ months to complete a 4,679 mile circumnavigation of Alaska by foot, raft, and ski. This is the same guy who walked 6,875 miles through the American West, averaging 33 miles a day, and who also hiked 7,778 miles on the Sea-to-Sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Andrew has an obsessive drive, to say the least.

After a particularly difficult period in Alaska, battered by a blizzard and endless solitude, Andrew was drained.  Then when he entered a town to resupply he ran into an old friend, and he was recruited for a friendly game of softball.  He was no longer a Superman hiker; he was just an ordinary guy having fun with friends and after allowing himself to have his own version of an Ellie Day, he returned to the trail a rejuvenated man.

We do not need to circumnavigate Alaska to earn some time for fun.  Hard work and success are only sustainable and worthwhile if we retain our zest for life.  Just as you schedule time to “do,” I also encourage you to plan time to “be.”  Most of us would benefit greatly by having a few more Ellie Days in our schedule.


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