Lessons Learned On Vacation

By Nancy Smorch

I am currently on my way back from Napa Valley, California. It was my first visit to that area and I am already looking forward to going back again. As we got closer to the valley and the vineyards started popping up, I was struck by the beauty of the land, beautifully laid out vineyards amidst the rolling hills, the hillsides and mountains. We went strait to the ZD Vineyard – one of my favorite Chardonnays, and did a little wine tasting. Their chardonnay was the wine we had at dinner the night my husband and I went to West Michigan and put the offer on our old Lake Michigan home (where a lot of great memories with our families were created), so it has sentimental notes for me as well. Anyway, come find out, most of ZD’s grapes are organic and they are close to becoming totally self-sustainable. I also learned that ZD stand for “Zero Defects,” a term used in the aeronautic industry, which the owners were from. Turns out they loved cabernet and wanted their own, so they started a small vineyard to make their own and if they had any left over, they would sell it. Many years later, the family dynasty has grown to offer a variety of wines to the public.

Hearing ZD’s story and seeing the many vineyards – some just starting with small vines and others in full production – made me think about the long term vision and dedication these people had and continue to have. It seems so many in our culture have been conditioned to think of instant results and have a “what’s in it for me now” attitude, and they don’t have the capacity to think long term or they don’t have the tools and/or discipline to think about what kind of legacy they are going to leave behind.

Now, I’m not putting everyone in that category, but it just hit home for me on a few different levels. The most obvious one is about our current property in Michigan. When we first built on the property, I had a vision of planting an orchard just as you drive onto our property. But there was a lot going on that first year, and a lot of things we had already done – had to draw the line somewhere. Then the next year came and I thought, well, I don’t know how long we were going to be there, and the trees won’t be producing fruit for at least another 5 years, so it was a tough call to put the time and money into it. Seven years later we’re still living on this property, and I often think how wonderful it would have been to have planted those trees – the great apples, peaches, cherries, pears, etc., that we, our friends, family, and neighbors would be enjoying. Now, I can’t “should have” done something, and I’m not big into feeling guilty – anymore:), but what I can do is look down the road long term. You see, whenever I do the goal setting workshops (usually Tony Robbins), I tend to come up with a lot of things I want to accomplish or see happen within 3-6 months, 6 months – 1 year, and even 2-3 years, but beyond that, my mind has always gone blank.

Well, we made another stop in LaQuinta, CA before heading back to Michigan. We stayed at the same house we have rented of and on for the past 7 years, and it made me realize that another 7 years is going to go by whether I have a vision for it or not. It’s time to start looking 5, 10, 15, and 20 years down the road and to start envisioning what I want for myself, my family, my friends, and my life, and “enjoy” and “be in” the present moment as I continue on my journey. It’s a balancing act between having a vision and setting intentions while living in and enjoying the present moment, and what life presents to us each day.