. . . and the Guilt-free Time to Enjoy It.

I have a fantasy:
One day I finish everything on my task list. Everything! All emails are answered, all phone calls returned, all issues resolved, all writing due for the next week proofed and printed. Nothing important, nothing urgent, nothing wishful or hopeful left to do. Thank you notes mailed, birthday wishes sent, family happy, friends content. By 4 o'clock I'm headed home to cook dinner for, oh, 12. An evening of candlelight, conversation, ideas and inspiration.

Yeah, well, I said it was a fantasy.

Reality check:
I have multiple task lists, interrupted daily -- no, hourly -- by urgent and important opportunities and responsibilities. The things I truly want to do, write a book, create a video podcast, promote a Marketing MasterMind group, never come to the top of the list. An evening with friends is carved out once a month, no - three or four times a year. It's been years since we hosted a party at the loft. Years since - ah, I'm embarrassed to say. The only thing that got me this far is the sure knowledge that your life is very much like mine. Hundreds of unanswered email messages, Facebook updates, LinkedIN questions. Thousands of tweets untwittered,

Thursday morning I looked at my unanswered voice mails.
Dianna's birthday was seven weeks ago. We'd last talked three months before that, promising to get together in a few weeks. Hadn't seen each other since New Year's Day at Nancy's. I had called with Happy Birthday wishes. Dianna left a reply the next day. I still hadn't returned it.

And yearning. And a feeling of loss. And missing my friend.

So I called, and suggested pancakes Sunday morning. (I know she likes pancakes, well, she likes butter, and pancakes are good with butter.) And she said yes! She said yes! And she came over, and we hugged and talked and ate and drank, and hugged and laughed and thought and brainstormed. We explored and questioned and delved and wondered. And six short hours later she had to go, one ziplock of pancakes and another of George's Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies in her bag.

For six glorious hours my fantasy was reality.
That's networking.

Photo courtesy of Tracheotomy Bob