Posts Tagged autumn

Sunday Column (458)

I love starting my blog on a Monday. Whilst it won’t make much of a difference to you, the final post being shared on Sunday, I love sitting on the plane or train on a Monday to reflect on the weekend, on life in general. Latter was the whole purpose when I started the Sunday Column now 458 weeks ago. Almost 10 years. It was about not only copying things and sharing things, but making my blog personal. I believe I have achieved that. It also gives me an outlet for my thoughts. My readership is in the thousands and people from all over the world are visiting my site. This is a nice thing to know that every week, people are waiting to read my weekly column. Thank you for bearing with me.

So reflecting on the weekend, I didn’t do much to be honest. We all have a cold and seem to be tired. My best friend from Germany was supposed to visit but was ill himself too. So we ended up with a very relaxing weekend. Some good food and excellent wine, cheese and the fire being on. We also got some game controllers for the AppleTV and the boys thinks we got an Xbox now. Not being an avid gamer myself, the boys and us enjoy the odd game we can play. Life is good and I sorted a few things out over the weekend that needed attention, as well as our holidays to Singapore next year. My cousin lives there and we are keen to visit. Even Economy few months ahead is expensive, but I guess that’s summer holidays and 4 people flying. When booking flights, besides an awful experience on the Singapore Airlines website, we opted for them over Norwegian Airlines. Latter are cheaper and flying from Gatwick, yet with Monarch just going out of business, I think relying on a big airline might just be the way forward. I would have loved to book British Airways, yet the price premium couldn’t be justified at all.

Adventures, experience. That is what life is all about. Gaining a competitive advantage through experience in work and life. Teaching your offspring for them to have a head start in life. This isn’t always easy. I love my manager for that at work, who despite me being prepared for meetings and being on top of things, always finds something else. I soak up his input and wonder if I will be such a good manager when I have another 10 years experience. I hope I will. I am confident I will, but this is for others to decide. My next trip for work takes me to Belgrade, Serbia. Somewhere I have never been, so I am looking forward to it. A new experience, an adventure. This is going to be fun. Not like the weekly commute I have done to Germany throughout the year. No adventure there, just experience 😉

But experience is key. In a workplace which is changing. There are no, or fewer, 30 year long careers. In new industries like online and digital marketing where I am part of, the average tenure is probably around 2 years. Probably even less. And as a friend of mine told me a couple of years ago, if you have done your job you are done, no matter if it is 1 year, 2 years or 5 years – or 6 months. This goes in line with a lot of industry posts I am reading about more and more people becoming consultants. Don’t get me wrong, just recently I have met people that have been with their employer for 11 years and this will exists, but the ones that drive change will be in and out of companies on a short tenure, or found companies themselves. Those progressive and success driven entrepreneurs are the new power managers of tomorrow’s world. I am working on an article around that as we speak.

That brings me to more change. As the leaves turn and I spend some time at home – ill children and then school events – I am looking out of the window and contemplate. Is that it? Is the life we have now, the village set up, is that me for the next 30 years. A yearly harvest festival, Light up Hassocks for Christmas, the local tennis club. Will we not want to change anymore? Is that what they call contentment or happiness?

Spending a day in the local community, showing face at school events and at tennis, I loved being around the boys, being part of their experience. They are my first priority and I do not spend enough time with them during the week. And I absolutely love the way we are living. I love our house, neighbours, driveway, and I am content in the place I am. But coming back to experience, adventure and life changing, when do you know when and how to change? Is it the external Brexit challenge? Is it the shooting in Las Vegas that once again makes a move to the US unappealing? What is it? How do you know? When do you know you found the place you should be staying forever?

Maybe I am impatient and expecting too much. Things come to your at the right time. Things happen for a reason. Change is good. I could quote another 100 sayings like that. But it is true. You MUST trust in the universe that things work out. You think any other ‘animal’ but humans ever think about the future and their mortgage? Ever wondered if the cat on the fence thinks about climate change? We are complicating our lives by thinking and ultimately worrying too much. No, the cat doesn’t. Kids don’t. And dare we teach kids to worry, they should enjoy life and do what they want. Follow their heart. Because the heart knows what is right or wrong.

More autumn thoughts next week, as we are getting further into my most favourite season.

Have an amazing week. Stay well,
Volker

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Sunday Column (336)

Today to the day I left from Dusseldorf, Germany, to go to the USA for a year as an exchange student. I was 16 I believe, so 1993. 22 years ago. Life passes very quickly! On the way back I remember smoking and drinking whilst being stuck on the run way in Chicago, sitting in the last row of a Lufthansa jumbo. Those were the days.

smoking in an airplane

On Tuesday, 18th of August, I will have another anniversary. On that day, 14 years ago, I left from Dusseldorf to Aberdeen, via London, to move to the UK to finish my university degree. I never returned to Germany permanently and met the love of my life just before I finished my studies. Our anniversary is later this year 😉

Isn’t life amazing. You never know what you get. You step on a plane, you go places, and you it might change your life forever. For the better, hopefully not for the worse.

Anyway, let’s not be sentimental. What has happened is the past. History really.

The highlight of the week was actually very personal. My wife managed, thanks to the MIL (mother in law) babysitting, to come into London and go out for a meal with me. It threw me a bit out of my comfort zone, not having had the wife out in London for a good while, 3 odd years or so. Wow. And there she was, looking stunning as ever, to go to dinner with me and drinks pre dinner and post dinner of course 😉 The full programme. We loved it. A great night out. Genuinely enjoyed it.

The second highlight happened on Monday this week when the carpet layer came. We now got underlay in each room, a good carpet, and a new feel to the house. It is fantastic. We are very proud of the achievements we have made with the new home office/guest room being my new ‘hobby’ really – my wife painted the walls, but I will decorate them with quotes from Steve Jobs, Buddha and also ‘installed’ a fairy door. Yes, a bit of fun, a grass carpet, vibrant colours, a bean bag, desks to work on and soon a Sonos system to complement the room. A second family room, a home office too. Creative, funky, productive. Whiteboard, soon flip-chart, bouncy ball, height adjustable desk, plants and meditation cushion.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you will see a lot more pictures. I am happy. I now need to make sure the family will enjoy the room as much as I do 😉

Other highlights this week include…
– I picked up my new passport from the embassy, so now got another 10 years until I go through that procedure again. By then I am almost 50 🙁
– My parents have been married for 45 years. Congratulations!
– We got logs delivered and I finally stacked them properly into my new shed, hopefully with another load to come soon. I am getting all domestic and prepare for the cold winter to come….or more autumn evenings like these. And yes, we had the fire on this week already!

Having the MIL around is great. As mentioned, not only could my wife come to London, we also had a lie in, lots of help and someone who enjoys and does a great job entertaining the kids. We got invited out to a new Indian restaurant, and got a chance to buy a picture frame without kids annoying you. Not that we mind, but sometimes it is nice to get some one-on-one time back.

In the meantime work is busy, steady but not mad. That’s good. With people coming back from holidays next week and week after, it will get busier in the lead up to dmexco, our biggest trade show of the industry. I am excited! Q4 will be mad but good.

That’s all for this week really.

Enjoy the best of the British summer,
Volker 😉

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Sunday Column (286)

Spending 10 days without the family was great. Or was it? There is something to it, like being able to leave things lying about like scissors, knives and lighters. There is something about getting up at 5 am and making lots of noise. Or to spend all Saturday in front of the computer trying to set up websites and new blogs about productivity. On the other hand, I did miss those cuddles, the love and being part of a team of people, however small. The constant reminder that life isn’t only about yourself, you and what you want to do. But that life is for sharing, for teaching and learning.

I ordered a huge pizza on Sunday, being very lazy. Did I enjoy just eating by myself? Of course I didn’t. Wouldn’t it have been more fun to share it with the kids and watch a movie in the living room sitting on the picnic blanket. Or, as we normally do, make pizza ourselves. The way I felt on Monday it would for sure been a better idea. Not coming home to an untidy house where toys are all over the place, discovering new ones and fixing old ones. Not having someone in the car with me when going shopping. All those small things where you really miss the company and the ever so curious comments about life.

Yes, I missed my family dearly.

My commute this week was horrible. Or it was close to being horrible, but luckily I could work from home a lot. Monday’s bank holiday helped too. London Bridge was closed so we were working off a weekend timetable. One train an hour into London Victoria. So I got the 6:20 train to Victoria, anticipating the worst for the 7:30 one, the only peak hour train. But I managed and hopefully from next week things return to normal. Actually I enjoyed empty trains in the morning and early arrival at work for 7:45….utter madness 😉

I was hinting at it last week already, but autumn isn’t far. Theoretically another three weeks, yet the Indian Summer is here. Golden light, first golden leaves falling from trees, fresh air and of course the first days of “Schmuddelwetter”, rainy dark days. I love autumn, nothing like it. Whilst spring is nice with days getting warmer, I don’t think you can beat autumn for the feeling and light in the air. My favourite season.

Autumn Hedgehog 1

Setting up my blog over at tidwows has been a great learning curve. I haven’t changed much at this blog and I am now discovering all new features, plugins and so on. Both blogs fulfil different purposes. Whilst this one is my personal blog where I predominantly share my personal life, tidwows is about productivity and personal development. My original plan for this blog, going back to 2007, was to make it about personal development, but I find it is better to separate it under a different brand. Again, I tried that a few years ago too but now found my niche since writing my book about productivity last year. I often get asked if that is what I do but to be honest, for the foreseeable future, I stick to what I do best and work in digital marketing as my main job. So no big plans. That might change in 5 years time, it might not. We shall see. For the time being I enjoy working on productivity and personal development, being able to help others.

The latter part is important. This isn’t all about me, and hence the separation of the two sites. One is about me, and me alone 🙂 One is about others, and others only.

What bothered me most this week? Zara and Yodel. I had to mention this: Zara this week withdrew a shirt looking like a concentration camp outfit, stripy with a yellow star. You wonder and think this might be coincidence yet you then get pointed out that they withdrew a bag a few years back that showed swastikas all over. What is going on in those designer minds, and the guys signing it off for sales. Are they right in their head? It doesn’t bug me because I am German but just the sheer stupidness of coming up with it. Imagine a brown uniform next….

And Yodel? They said they delivered my item, left it in a safe place. I was in and couldn’t find it. So the customer service suggested they get an answer in 24 hours. An hour later the driver arrives and I said it was described online as being delivered already. His words didn’t make any sense. So essentially, my take is that he had to deliver it before 1 pm and couldn’t, so just pretended he did. Problem is that I was in and on his case already. Maybe those drivers get a lot of punishment for being late, yet Yodel just doesn’t have a good reputation, and whenever I used them, the f* things up.

Never mind, it all worked out in the end. Got my treadmill repaired and waiting for the hoover to be repaired.

For the week in general: it was great to have the family back. We then met friends over the weekend and enjoyed some quality time with them. Life is good. You don’t often realise how well you are and how nice it is to be able to share so many things with your friends. But it is, even if you only see them once a year. Life is busy too. Not only for us.

Have a great week. September. This time for sure.

Volker

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Sunday Column (238)

Autumn has arrived. Indian summer. The cobwebs are everywhere and the mornings are cast by a mellow light. It is misty. And, I have a cold. Yes, the evil man flu is back. After two weeks of conferences and exhibitions, airplanes and lack of sleep, I finally got the first man flu of the season. But I am soldiering on, too much to do at work.

Probably for the first time in a while I could imagine going on a holiday. A warm place with a pool and gym, nice healthy food. Nice wine. Yes, I could do with a few days of relaxation, rest and recharging my batteries. Having been five weeks into my new job is tiring too. Not only getting up to speed but start ups can be exhausting, yet so much fun and rewarding. I am enjoying it!

Instead of exercising and resting, I enjoy a few glasses of wine at night and comfort food to keep me going. Not the best, but sometimes it really helps 🙂

This week I wanted to make an effort to not write about work. Not about my commute. So this takes 80% of my weekday experience away. I got the new iPhone this week. It is only my second iPhone yet I am getting more and more into Apple. Next I synced my music with their iCloud services to have the music available anywhere. I will have my life in the clouds. Available to download where I want it. Anywhere, any device. I like that thought.

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I managed to watch the movie ‘Steve Jobs’ and then a few speeches online, when I realised (yet again) how much of a genius he was. The picture above is where he got his great quote from: “stay hungry, stay foolish”. The movie doesn’t come close to anything like the experience of reading the book. Yet not many movies do.

If sometimes I wish I would have been more adventurous in my youth, I think it is down to the way and when I was brought up. This is no offence to my parents, yet I want my children to grow up being more adventurous than me, more entrepreneurial and less worrying. I am not too sure if I will ever achieve that, yet I like to try. Colin would not join the swimming class this week as he didn’t like the teacher. How non adventurous is that?

Rohan has a cold. Seeing and hearing your child coughing at night, being unwell and unsettled, is awful. It breaks your heart to send them back to bed, or to not allow them to come to your bed to cuddle in the middle of the night. This of course is less strict when they are really unwell and don’t settle at all. Being able to draw those lines between parents’ care, education and rules, is still a challenge. I enjoy it. Balancing the sneaky piece of chocolate I give to Colin before dinner without my wife noticing it, and him then running up to her to tell her….. I enjoy those challenges and being able to teach my kids how to balance things in life.

Colin has challenges in school. He was brought up to be nice to others, now gets punched by a few guys who weren’t brought up the same. This of course will happen many more times in his life, and I can remember going through similar experiences when I was younger, even when I was a lot older. But as new parents you are wondering how to approach the subject. “Hit back son, let me teach you a proper hook”, and what are the teachers doing about it. Luckily the teachers are aware of it, things will be sorted. We as parents are learning. Colin is learning. Life will be good. And he isn’t the only one either who that happens to. I am confident Rohan would hit back….but that is to be seen.

So I conclude another week. A week of autumn. My grandmother turned 93, I achieved a lot at work, and I felt sorry for myself having the evil man flu. At least someone did 😉

Just as I conclude this post I got confirmation that a great business partner, of whom I knew being ill, died about 5 months ago. I last saw him in May 2012. He was fine then. I heard he was ill last autumn, just over a year ago, but on the mend. It is awful how quickly illnesses can turn you around. He wasn’t older than me, actually I believe he was a year younger. Full of energy. Full of vision. I feel sad and helpless as I couldn’t say goodbye, nor did I find out until now.

I leave you with these thoughts and include my friend in my prayers.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Wine…

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Objects in this blog might appear bigger than they are.

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1st day of autumn (first day of fall)

I just read a post on this blog about the first day of fall / autumn.

My comment was this:

Hello,
I could not have said it nicer or better.
You are right, the fall (autumn in Europe :-)) is a beautiful season. I think what I like are the cobwebs and the cold air in the morning. Everything seems to be much slower, more peaceful. As if the world goes to sleep for a few months.
On the other hand, when the sun comes out, things are getting warmer and nicer and the vibrant colours let you enjoy nature in a very special way.
What a lovely time!
Volker

Jen took this picture in Canada, 2005

Jen took this picture in Canada, 2005

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