man with sungalsses and baby carrier hiking in the Dolomites

I’m driven. I devour productivity hacks, I devote a lot of mental space to doing more, building habits, setting goals, being more efficient.

Even things like meditating and yoga, which I should really do as ends unto themselves, I do because they should provide me with an edge. Make me more productive and eventually more accomplished, whatever that means. An idle life is a wasted life.


I just spent five weeks in Italy. Doing, for all intents and purposes, not much of anything. Some traveling and driving. Visiting family. Some medical checkups. Walks. Beaches and pools. Lots of eating. That’s about it. Literally the sum total of 36 full days.

Did I carve out time to write every day (or even some days)? Nope. (So you can imagine how progress on my book went).

Chiara and I had been in a pretty good rhythm of working out or at least planking, every day. That habit was emphatically discontinued.

No productivity. No progress. No nothing.

And I have to say: it was great. We just hung out as a family, and with the broader extended Italian familia. That was it. It was a beautiful thing, the value of which I had underestimated.

And though we returned home exhausted (our last stretch of traveling was a morning check out in Northern Italy and a three-hour drive up to Innsbruck to board an overnight train to Hamburg followed by a seven-hour drive to arrive home the following afternoon in time for Chiara to work), I have to say, I’m pleased. I’m satiated.

I don’t know yet if I’m rejuvenated in any way, but I am deeply steeped in the contentedness of being with people who matter. And sometimes, that’s all that matters.

Sometimes, there are no goals that need to be set, no benchmarks or milestones, just time to be, and be together.