The end of August is upon us. I'm looking forward to welcoming our first midwestern fall in a very long time—chilly days, colored leaves, cider, and all the other wonderful things that make up the 3% of the time when it won't be miserable and rainy.

And I'm thinking back on our family vacation this summer. I'm just so thankful for that time on the shore of Lake Michigan in a borrowed RV doing... well... nothing.

Sometime in the last few years Karen and I made a realization about how we wanted to vacation. There wasn't an epiphany or anything, just a subtle shift in the values we held for that precious time.

We stopped planning vacations based solely on what we wanted to do.

We started planning vacations around who we wanted to be.

Entropy is the tendency of things to degrade over time. Webster defines it as a "trend to disorder." I feel like my whole life is usually trending to disorder. I start each new season, each new year, each new project with high and lofty goals, rhythms, and iron-clad willpower, and bit by bit, as all the other demands crash in, they all wear down to madness, and disorganization, and exhaustion.

Vacation, for us, has become a chance to begin again. More than just a break or a quick recharge, vacation has become an opportunity for us to reinstate all the things that make us the best versions of ourselves.

If you took a look at the itinerary for the week and a half we took this summer you'd be bored to tears. Lots of sitting, reading, walking, Lego-building, writing, ice-cream eating, and on and on with the commonplace. (No, there was not an actual itinerary.) But in all of that we were able to be deeply connected to our kids, to one another, and even to the parts of ourselves we'd begun ignoring. We were able to cement some habits we'd been aching for. We were able just to be.

Our vacation wouldn't work for everyone. Many of our friends would be batting their brains out or developing nervous ticks while scratching enigmatic symbols into the walls. Those are my friends who are most themselves on the cusp of a grand adventure or in the midst of an unsolvable problem. We all need different things. But for us, we hit the nail on the head this time. I am so grateful for this summer.

A Forced Habit

I have been out of practice. Any and all practice of any kind. And practice is important. Without practice we have a snowball's chance at perfect.

Many of the things that have been most important—to my soul, my marriage, my parenting, my work, my everything—have become conspicuously absent.






These were habits of mine. I want these habits back because the force of them once shaped me into the me I recognize.

Have you ever sat in your car and turned the key only to find that the battery is dead? You always turn the key again. And again. And then again. There's this little noise, this clicking and whirring, an indefinite sound that—in my personification of all automobiles—I assume is a feeble yet determined effort to spark some life. A mechanical, "I can do it!" I find myself turning the key again because, well, that last time sounded a little more resolute.

The last few months have been like this, little sparks but too little.

What the car needs is a jump start.

For the next week and a half the calendar is cleared. There will be no alarms, only the sun shining through the window to wake me. No meetings or strategy sessions unless they include board games at the kitchen table with the kids. And no Netflix.

My only constraint is that I need to establish some constraints. Over the next week and a half it is my mission to intentionally form the habits that wrangle the rest of my time and priorities into rightness.

Because for something to become a force of habit I suppose one must begin by forcing the habit.