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Notes From the Road: Indiana Soccer Game

Conor Gaughan

Most days, my alarm clock goes off before 6 AM. But, it is a rare day – usually reserved for travel – that can get me out of bed before 5 AM. The extra minutes of rest are worth their weight in gold, particularly as the summer days fade into fall and the sun rises a little later in the morning. But today, I woke up at 4:49, 11 minutes before my alarm, excited to head to Indianapolis. 

Tonight is my niece’s high school soccer “Senior Game.” She is a rockstar who’s been a varsity starter the last couple of years, and I have yet to make it to a game in her hometown of Indianapolis. In my (rather weak) defense, COVID practically ended air travel for most of the last two years. But the lost time and travel also inspired me to take this early morning flight to the Heartland.

For many of us, the last few years forced us to look deeply at ourselves. What do we value? Are we living deliberately in ways that align with our values? For the gen-z population, this seems to have forced a reckoning with the work world – as the entry-level generation seeks more balance and fulfillment than previous generations thought possible. For me, it has invited the opportunity to slow down and spend time each week thinking about important things to map out how I can better address priorities in my daily life. 

Nearly all Americans believe that family is one of the most important things in their lives. But what does such a statement look like in the era of bite-size communications and online interactions? Liking and commenting on an Instagram post with your niece’s soccer game photos is easy. Showing up is harder. 

Image Courtesy of Conor Gaughan

Over the last few years, while building a company, I have also tried to keep up with the gym, maintain friendships, and look after a puppy. I understand how easy it is to focus on the things in our immediate purview – overlooking what might be a short flight away. For me, for years, that certainly seems to be the case. To be clear, all of these aspects of my life are priorities. For most of my adult life, I didn’t take the time to look ahead at regular intervals to identify how I’d allocate my time and energy across key areas. Coming out of COVID, my goal is to focus on how I balance my time and effort. 

That leads me to today – writing on a plane at 7:15 AM as I head to Indiana from DC for a very important soccer game. I’ll have plenty of time to check in with my team and work throughout the day. But first, I want to take a walk with my father to grab coffee and enjoy a lunch break with my mom and sister. And later, we will all cheer on my niece in her Senior Night Soccer game.

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