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Most of that week, Lynnda and I were in Kohler, Wisconsin with our daughter and her husband, enjoying their Christmas, vacation time together. They asked us to join them at one of their favorite places. The flight was great, even on a holiday weekend, without any of the glitches or horror stories the news likes to report. After a busy week in Washington, DC at SelectUSA, it was nice to “coldness” without pressure, without an appointment or telephone. Danielle and I ran in the morning. We played golf, did walking tours, including the Kohler Design Center, giving each other great home ideas, and just hanging out. It was just what I needed to prepare for the next conference and follow ups with all of our SelectUSA contacts. We made fun memories.

Holidays are essential for me to recharge my batteries, increase my energy level and increase my creativity. Steven Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” says we can’t just chop wood. The saw dulls and becomes ineffective. You have to stop cutting and take the time to sharpen the saw to gain efficiency and speed up the sawing. Holidays sharpen the saw.

Since COVID, holidays are even more important. We missed seeing a lot of friends and family in 2020 and 2021. Although Lynnda and I were traveling, others weren’t because they felt uncomfortable or the trip was difficult. We haven’t flown for over a year during COVID. Visiting with family and friends via Zoom is acceptable, but does not replace in-person visits. Last year, we went on a family vacation to make up for lost time. Now we do it because it matters. The pandemic has taught us never to take quality time with family and friends for granted. We know that tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

Life can change in an instant like it did after Lynnda’s car accident 10 years ago or my football injury that put me in a wheelchair for weeks. Watching Dannielle run and climb through deep sand traps on a golf course was something I couldn’t do for almost a year after my injury.

My parents never took a real vacation together after they got married. They couldn’t afford it. The biggest problem was taking six boys on vacation anywhere, it was not a vacation for my parents. Sadly, Dad passed away suddenly before all my brothers grew up and before he could retire. They never got to enjoy a vacation together.

Americans are taking vacations this year. Airports and highways are once again crowded. Disney World is busy now every time we go. Some days are just less busy. The beaches are crowded. I always make hotel reservations in advance as the hotels are busy and the nicer ones get booked up fast. We had to stay in a hotel where the ice machine was broken. The pool was full of brown water and the emergency exit door had a sign “Broken. Do not use.” We had no idea what else lived in the room with us. It was the only vacant place over 200 miles. My fault.

This year, rising airfares, $5 gas, higher hotel rates, more expensive theme park tickets, $30 parking and $5 sodas aren’t slowing down the holidays. Maybe people have money to spend because they haven’t taken a vacation in two years. Maybe they want to make up for lost family time. It may be something deeper. I have never heard someone who was dying wish they had spent more time at work. There’s a travel trailer dealership in the Charleston area that’s been shutting down ads for years with, “The price will go up and the kids will grow.” I believe they are right.

At Shale Crescent USA, we work with many different companies. Some want to come here and grow; others support their expansion with services, sites, energy, raw materials, labor and other essentials. One change I’ve noticed since the pandemic is a greater focus on family vacations. When we schedule a meeting or a videoconference, people tell us when their vacation or family time is and we plan accordingly. Sometimes someone can schedule an early call on vacation while the family is still in bed. People from Europe and the Middle East also work around their family “holidays”.

Our youngest son with his wife and four grandchildren invited us to go to Williamsburg, Virginia with them in early June. As they live seven hours away, we don’t see them often. I had business calls and other things to schedule. Thanks to what we have learned during the pandemic, we can do business anywhere we have a phone, a computer and an Internet connection. It was not difficult to schedule the Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens trips with the business meetings. We had four great business meetings to move projects forward in the area and spent quality time with our son’s family making memories.

What do you think? Have you taken or are you planning to take a vacation this year to spend time with family and friends or just do something relaxing or invigorating for yourself? A vacation doesn’t have to be a long trip or expensive. There are plenty of things to do in our area without even spending the night. Planning a vacation at the beginning of the year helps to achieve this. Just like the people Shale Crescent USA works with, once the vacation is set, other things come with it. One of Lynnda’s and mine’s written goals each year is to spend quality time with our children and grandchildren. Purpose helps us see opportunities to spend quality time. To be effective at work, the saw must be sharp. Holidays contribute to this. The children will grow up. Take a vacation this year! Recharge and create good memories.

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Greg Kozera, [email protected], is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s degree in environmental engineering and over 40 years of experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, and author of four books and numerous published articles.




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