From desperation to life integration


I often talk about integrating my life as key strategy for having the life I want. Conceptually it sounds reasonable, but how do I actually integrate my life?  Frankly, I started doing it out of desperation. 

I’m a social person, a classic extrovert.  I get my energy from being with other people. When our children were young, Scotty, my husband, and I just didn’t have time to get together with our friends as much as we would like.  So I started looking for ways to combine opportunities.  If there was a charity event that we wanted to support, we would invite friends to also attend.  When the kids wanted to go to the fair, we would invite friends with kids to go at the same time.  

We both liked to cook, so we would invite friends for dinner and brunch.  We were going to cook anyway; and it saved us getting a sitter.

Well, I’ve continued that practice, because no matter what stage of life I’m in, I seem to never have extra time.  When we moved to Palo Alto almost 15 years ago, I started a gourmet dinner club.  It was a way to get to know people, cook, sample recipes and entertain all in one evening.  These are all things I love to do.  The club is still going strong.  When a performer comes to town that we like or our favorite dance troupe is performing, we’ll invite a group to go with us.  Between dinner before the show and perhaps a nightcap afterwards, we get to connect with friends while enjoying a venue.  Going to the ballet with 40 friends is a blast.

Exercise is important to me.  I have a walking treadmill under my standing desk at work.  I was actually walking while typing this blog.  On the weekends, I’ll walk the neighborhood, a trail or the rigorous and yet scenic upward hill called the “dish” near Stanford with friends so we can catch up and get some exercise at the same time.  I used to do “walk and talk” meetings sometimes at MetricStream as well.

Bottom line is how each of us integrates our life will be different.  We have different passions and hobbies.  But if you take the time to do a bit of advanced planning, I’m sure you can also integrate multiple threads of your life as well.