Why I Skipped Class and Ditched a Free Trip to Universal Studios (and Why I’m Glad I Did)

Down in Orlando for a super-awesome conference these last few days, I was having a blast.

I’ve been eager to check out this day of sessions about Team Collaboration and Tech Tools – I mean, did someone read my mind?? Team?? Tech tools?? I L-O-V-E learning about both of those, and here they were, all in one dream day of sessions!

The eight-hour shift we spent in class flew by. I could have done another week of those!

(Especially when lunch breaks took place on a balcony overlooking a crystal-clear pool.)

The second day though, I skipped class. I did. I admit it. The session focused on a lot of accounting details – something I have an accountant on my team to handle. It sure reminded me of my earlier days though, when I ran this business as a one-woman show. Accounting, photography, writing, marketing, and every complicated piece of this business rested on my shoulders. It was exhausting.


Once I began adding people to my team though, (a photographer and Eniko, among others) I was free to focus on the aspects I was most skilled at – like marketing, and my favorite, helping people. That, my friend, is an energizing freedom I highly recommend.

So yeah, I totally skipped that session, extra thankful for my awesome team.

The next day, day three of the conference, we all made sure our Universal Studio passes were in hand. We prepared for an evening of strolling through the theme park and taking in the wonders…

Then the news came. My grandmother had passed away. I couldn’t believe it.

This is the grandma whose 90th birthday I shared with you. It had stirred a lot of emotions for me. For her too, I think.

This is the woman who we’d watch Walt Disney with on Sundays, and whose house I’d stay at over summer holidays. I used to do Grandma’s hair. We had deep talks. Later in years, living at Fernwood place, I used to massage her feet and shoulders for her. I loved to pamper her that way.

I had just been getting used to seeing her on a regular basis when she moved away.

She’d been back for a few years now, and I wondered why I didn’t stop by to visit more often. I wrestled with guilt and shame. I resolved to spend more time with her. But how could I? Between family, health, and the harried, demanding pace of my career, it was difficult.

I did make time though. Somehow, I managed to squeeze in some time.  Now I’m extra glad I did. Because now she’s gone. I won’t see her again until heaven.

So that night, I tucked my Universal Studios pass back in my suitcase, and stayed in.
I needed to think. And pray. And cry. And remember…

Which made me realize a few things.

First, it occurred to me how vital it is to refuse to stuff down our feelings and to instead just feel them. There’s such health in it. It’s okay to sit in our thoughts and emotions and just experience them. When we do, we can actually sort things through and come to some conscious decisions. We can live intentionally rather than reactively.

Second, that life is brief, time is never enough, and priorities matter. I’m so glad I made time for her, even if it wasn’t enough. Even in a bustling schedule of work, family, and various crises, we can make room for each other. I resolved to continue to do so – to prioritize family and friends – and to invest in relationships, the only thing we can really take with us anyway.

Hold your loved ones a little closer this week.
While you have them.

.Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate


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