Posts Tagged alarm

Sunday Column (499)

A full working week it seems. Not quite, actually, only four days, but I was working in London and I was busy. I suppose I will get used to it again very quickly. I also recorded another podcast and managed to finish the audio book Sapiens. In all honesty, I wasn’t as taken with the book as everyone else seemed to be. Some interesting snippets of human history but a lot of bla bla about life. Never mind, another book done. I very much enjoy reading Richard Branson’s biography, it is a fun story of a successful man’s life. Stories of Success, really.

However, I then started Homo Deus by the same author of Sapiens and it is more interesting as it is looking to the future. It is about how things might look like moving forward for humans, and mankind and on this planet in general. A philosophical book, it gets you thinking, but again if I didn’t listen to it whilst out running, I am not sure it is my time worth spend taking it all in. Nevermind.

I started writing this post as I sit at Clapham Junction on a Gatwick Express service, air conditioned, cold and with wifi access. We were held as London Victoria got evacuated due to a fire alarm. When the train guard announced that we were held due to London Victoria station being evacuated, you could see how people got really quiet on the train. I am not sure if my perception comes due to me reading about 9/11 in Richard’s book, or because everyone went really quiet, but people just seemed to be worried. And that’s a fear we are living with: terrorism. Although, based on the Homo Deus book, more people die of overeating than undereating these days, and terrorism or airplane accidents are very rare. That of course doesn’t necessarily go in line with our perception of things.

What both books show me time and again is that our thoughts form what we make of our environment. I wasn’t too worried it being a terrorist attack but it crosses one’s mind. And then your mind can go on a rampage. What if the city was under attack, would it not be better to sit in Clapham? It surely would be. It was a false alarm, which is good and we continued our journey. Your thoughts however determine what you make of things.

On that note, on Friday I had a day off. My last one for a while but holidays with the family, and I spend with cars. We had a courtesy car from the garage, an SUV, a Skoda Kodiaq. I really enjoyed driving it but it isn’t sportive, it is an SUV. On the one hand I like sitting up, maybe changing my driving a bit and enjoy more comfort. Skoda has a nice ‘Landrover green’ colour they introduced and next year they bring out hybrid models. Let’s bear all that in mind for now 😉

I also spend the day looking at a few Jaguars. My choice of a second car is clear: a Jaguar XK8 or XKR, 2006 model or younger, as the older model is too small for me. Now I need to find the budget and the time to look at one and buy. Or will I hold off and be sensible. But for what? Life is for living and who knows how long we can enjoy it. Anyway, lots to think about.

And on that note it was the last day of school for the boys. Now I got two boys in middle school from September, they are just growing up so quickly. I love that as much as I hate it. Being able to join the leavers’ assembly was great, a bit emotional but overall it is great to see them moving on, growing up and becoming little grown ups. What will the future hold for them? Will AI and robots rule the world when they will be our age? Nothing ever stays the same, things always change.

Let’s use my parents as an example who have been able to connect with us since the introduction of What’s App. I remember putting coins into a phone booth when calling my grand parents from a holiday. Nowadays we send pictures instantly, whilst then we had to develop a roll of 36 pictures and got them a week after the holidays. Wow. We are talking half a life time here, and things will only get faster.

Have a great summer, enjoy things whilst they last.

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Sunday Column (198)

I won. Maybe I was lucky. There was a phase last Sunday and Monday when I thought I would be sick. However, I never felt ill. Maybe the 90 minute nap or my day fast on Monday helped. You never know. So I was sitting on a time bomb that never went off.

So off I went to Boston on Tuesday. I actually started writing this post on the way over. I won’t have many flights next year with my UK centric role but anticipate to do a few long haul ones. You never know. It was my first long haul one for about four years. Not only do I like British Airways, I also like their coffee, service and the overall experience. It was worth it to spend 2.5 hours travelling to Heathrow.

20121216-195240.jpg One of those things about flying in big aircrafts is that you never notice the take off. You just sit down and relax and if you are lucky and keep yourself entertained, you will be at your destination in no time.

When packing I realised I haven’t got a suit that fits me, so next weekend or weekend after I need to go shopping to get myself a new suit, or a blazer and alternate an old suit to on the one hand be ready in my new job (within my company) which might require this outfit and on the other hand my dad’s 70th birthday next year.

I wanted to make a few silly remarks. But maybe someone understands me. I watched The Expandables 2, a movie about a group of outsiders under the leadership of Sylvester Stallones. Ok, there are a few actors in the movie that make it less believable, like Arnie, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude van Damme and Bruce Willis, but I personally enjoy the story. It might come back to my thought I had when I was 18: I either wanted the career, house and family or I wanted to be the lonely wolf, maybe a shepherd in Australia.

Being part of a reliable group. Having comrades. Having clear leadership. Taking risks. Reaping rewards. That is what life is all about. At least for me. And those values, in a different way, are portrayed in this movie. There is no reason you cannot have all of those values ticked in a job. Maybe with a little less blood shed and action, but if you find the right challenge, no one stops you from making it the best gig in your life. I guess I had a lot of those values ticked when I studied amongst my fraternity brothers in Germany. Honour. Reliability. Aiming to be better than the best.

However, sometimes you are missing a big chunk: love and happiness. You know what I mean. You cannot sacrifice yourself. I know friends who lived out of suitcases, one in NewYork, another one in London. No flat for two years but a career. The family came later. Of course you can do it. I couldn’t imagine a life without my wife or boys. Living in the countryside and being “disconnected” at weekends is fantastic. I enjoy it. I want it all, and of course I need to compromise. So whilst I don’t see the children during the week I try to be home every night. That might be less often due to travel, but I wouldn’t want that for the rest of my life. Maybe now and then or for a limited time only. For the foreseeable future I am going to be UK based anyway.

My thoughts were going wild there. You have a lot of time on a plane 😉 It comes down to identify the values and situations that give you inner satisfaction, I guess. You gotta find and live them. Seeing my boys growing up and coming up with the oddest things, questions about life and ideas makes you wonder how empty life must be without any. Having a place to come home to where it is warm, where a glass of wine and maybe a hug is waiting for you is unbeatable. And, this could be the smallest house or the worst wine. It is what you call home.

20121216-195708.jpg Ok, I now made it home from the trip and adjusted to my normal time zone again. I enjoyed my trip despite the hanging gnome at our Xmas party 😉 The only difficulty is to adjust to 5 hours difference in 3 days. So when we got offered $1,300 to take an overnight flight back, I refused and just wanted to get home. Maybe silly but I really wanted to see the boys and my wife of course.

I love America though. The water is too soft and I drank more coffee, coke and Mountain Dew than in total last year, but they got space, a great attitude, are business minded, motivational and natural leaders. At least most of the guys I met. I love working for an American company!

I enjoy being away but also coming home. I spent a fab weekend with the boys. We got an alarm installed, went to a Christmas party where we met many nice people and just had a good time. Happy days. Work seems far away, I am relaxed and look forward to the last week before Christmas. Lots of lunches, dinners, parties….so cannot wait for the weekend 😉 All good though.

Go with the flow. I haven’t really realised yet that we are that close to the end of the year. Christmas is for the kids. My MIL arrives this week. Soon I got my hat on and sing Silent Night.

Happy Christmas.

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