Patience is a virtue. I’ve heard this saying my entire life. In fact, I find myself saying this at least once a day. In preparing this diary entry, I thought it might be smart to research the origination of the saying.
“Patience is a virtue is a proverbial phrase referring to one of the poet Prudentius works, The Psychomachia (Battle of spirits), probably the first and most influential “pure” medieval allegory. In less than a thousand lines, the poem describes the conflict of vices and virtues as a battle in the style of Virgil’s Aeneid.” At this very moment, you are wondering, what in the world does this has to do with travel? Well, not much, but it’s my diary entry, and my life, so I’m sharing.
When I read this description from Wikipedia, it led me to think of the many correlations in my life right now. These past 11 months have been a study in patience, and virtue for me. My 81-year-old father, who lives close to me, has required an inordinate amount of time and effort in taking care of several health issues. This in turn has caused me to be out of my office and unavailable to clients, and my co-workers quite a bit more than normal.
Dealing with an 81-year-old senior parent, and working with clients both require a very similar skill set. Patience, Charity, Temperance, Diligence, Humility, Kindness, some of the Seven Heavenly Virtues discussed in the poem above, are a few of those skills. Both my Dad, and my clients are always right, even when they are wrong. They expect you to drop whatever you are doing, in order to take care of their needs, right then. Their concept of time is non-existent, and their concept of your time doesn’t even enter the picture! One believes his needs and wants are the only thing I have to do that day. On the other hand, I hope that the client walks away thinking they are the most important thing to me that day, and that I want to make their dreams come true. If I’ve done my job well, both will get what they want.
It seems at times like I resent the attention my Dad requires, while thinking nothing of giving our clients a lot more than I should. Where is the balance? I wish I knew, as I have never been very good at balancing my home life, with my professional life. Home life always suffers, and it shouldn’t be that way. Our loved ones deserve more. They’ve earned our time and uninterrupted attention, through their love and acceptance of all the time we spend away from them, and give to others.
Throughout my time writing for TRO you’ve heard me pontificate on this subject more than once. We (I mean “I”) must get better about putting my family first, and not last. Don’t get me wrong; while our clients pay the bills every day, without our families to share in our professional successes, what is the point in working so hard?
Other than 2002-2003 when my mother became ill and passed away from cancer, this year has been the most challenging in memory. Not because I have to take care of my Dad, but because I finally have resigned myself to the fact that I am not Superwoman. I can’t be all things to all people, and do an exceptional job at it. Everyone has suffered, my Dad and my family most of all. We can be the best travel professional in the world, but if the backbone of our support system, our families, is weak or broken, we’ve got nothing.
My lesson from all of this is that I have to pay attention to the thing that matters most, my home life. My husband is fond of telling me that I better get my own truck out of the ditch, before I try and help someone else with theirs. I believe I better go and do that now.
Tracee Williams is a 32 year veteran of the travel industry. She has extensive experience with both corporate and leisure travel agencies in Northwest Arkansas. She specializes in Honeymoons, and Luxury Travel. She is a CTA, ACC, Platinum CSS, and a Sandals Weddingmoon Specialist. She is currently studying to get her CTC. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband Darrell, and their fur babies, Callie, Annie, and Peanut.