There’s a chill in the air and our streets are congested with merry partygoers and delivery vans. Holiday season is upon us in Seattle, yet just a couple weeks ago I found myself in the antithesis of a PNW December. I was in the middle of an endless savannah beneath a blue sky, everything baked by the scorching sun.
I was on safari with my wife in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. We came to see and photograph amazing wildlife, but walked away with lessons to take into the holiday season.
I learned that most of the time, wild animals are lazy. But tracking down a gazelle takes lots of effort, so they need to rest up. Life gets busy in the holidays, with demanding social schedules, travel, and end-of-year work deadlines. Make sure you have enough energy to hunt down the gazelles in your life by taking some time to yourself.
2. Coexist and connect
When you watch Nat Geo specials, it seems like wild animals are always at war with each other. So I was surprised by the intermingling of many animals on the Serengeti. It was sometimes hard to capture a photo with only one species, as seen above. I’m not suggesting you befriend wolves, but rather embrace the diversity of the human experience. Help debunk ‘the war on Christmas’ by accepting that others celebrate the holidays differently. Or better yet, volunteer for strangers less fortunate than you.
If there is one thing that wild animals can teach us, it’s probably that you don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. Donate old clothes and toys to those who need it more. Simplify your gift giving, or give experiences rather than things. Less time shopping for holiday gifts means less holiday stress.
4. Be grateful
This is a python and an African hare. I didn’t travel to the other side of the world to see a snake eat a bunny, but this was a very rare encounter to witness. It was the one thing our guide had never seen before. We were lucky to see it, but didn’t recognize it at the time. Life is like that sometimes. The holidays are a good time to recognize the flukiness of life and be grateful for friends and family.
My long, life-changing vacation reminds me to be grateful for paid time off. As I reflect on my trip and impeding holidays, I recall one of the sayings here at 2A: “Great work requires being well.” I feel lucky to work at a place that didn’t just tolerate my big trip, but fully encouraged it. As I look forward to the new year, I’m thankful for 2A and all the lessons I learned here in 2017. Here’s to unearthing more lessons and delivering great work in 2018.