Posts Tagged thankful

Sunday Column (425)

A funny, mixed week that was. Lots of things going on at work and at home. Discussions, ideas, strategies. My head was spinning most days, days turning into a big blur. After two full packed days in the office where we made a lot of progress, I went off to lovely Milan. In the meantime the team even made more progress. I have the feeling we are winning. I know it is early days, just about a month in, but it seems like we are ‘getting shit done‘. It feels good.

Ever since I helped getting Milan and Madrid off the ground for a company I worked for a few years ago, I love going to Milan (and Madrid). It’s the people, the city, the smell, the taste, the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the alps – and being able to visit my new company’s regional office there and spend some time with the guys, was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the trip, and I found it very useful and fruitful to bring things together, learning a lot too. The team is super advanced and I learned a lot.

The flight was fun. After a rough night with kids waking me up at 3 am and a 5 am pick up by my taxi, I slept through the whole flight. Yet when approaching the airport we pulled up again last minute. Another plane was given priority due to a person falling sick on that plane. Fair enough. So we turned up and around and landed on the second attempt. That was a first for me. Next week I am going to Germany, which in regards to culture will be at the other end of the spectrum to Italy I suppose. I really enjoy those travels again and being part of a bigger international team. Working in international companies is fun, and we have some very smart people in the company.

Anyway, let’s not talk about work every week 😃 I spend most of my time with work, so it is good to get some downtime now and then. Last weekend I got little. Last weekend I was very jet lagged. This weekend I had to go to the Apple Store because my MacBook Air gave up on me, I cannot start it any longer. Maybe I just give it back and trade it against an Apple TV? However it turns out that the repair is probably more costly than it is worth in value, as I don’t really need it anymore. So before I find out next week, I got the new Apple TV and the kids (and I) are happy. New games, new fun. There are not many Apple products left I adore and would like to have. Maybe the new MacBook, the slimmer and nicer one, yet having an Air from work suits me fine. If I have to upgrade my iPad mini, I would potentially get a iPad Pro. Never mind, not for a long time I hope.

The main challenge is to see my boys so little at the moment. Because of travel, late trains home from work, them getting up later etc. And yet, when I do see them they seem to change so quickly. It is difficult to keep up with their development, their latest ideas on toys, their wish list for Christmas (already!), the things they enjoy doing. Although they spend most of their pocket money on toys this weekend, leading into half term. However, every night when I do see them, it is a new miracle of thoughts that are coming out of their head which I enjoy exploring and questioning. One responds nicely, the other one doesn’t like it. They are like chalk and cheese, so different, so differently motivated, it is a joy to see, however painful it can be too.

Balancing their needs and mine. Wondering if I am a good dad, do I do a good job? It is a job or is it fun? What is the desired outcome for the boys? You cannot treat it like a work project. I listened to a lot of podcasts travelling, and one of them was about a chess player. He got involved in chess heavily at the age of 6. Should I push my boys more into that? Anyway, just when you think things are going well, I ended up listening to a podcast of a woman who lost two husbands and had two kids, one from each. At least I think that’s what it was, as I lost track a bit dozing off. But it is a sad podcast about a family with lots of challenges.

Those are the moments I thank the greater universe for the health we have. I remind myself to eat healthier and drink less. To look after myself and the family more. To be a better dad. A better husband. To have more time for things. I am sitting next to someone on the plane who seems to write an academic article. Should I have written a phd after all? Should I have gone into academia? I sometimes wonder but I am very happy with what I do and the progress I am making in my career. So life is good and most people I know are healthy. I am blessed, truly thankful for what I have and hopeful that it stays that way.

It has been a good week. I am content and life feels right. I sorted my citizenship ceremony and look forward to become a full blown Brit. Did I mention there is another 88 GBP fee to attend the ceremony? It really seems as if getting the citizenship is also a money making machine. Never mind, I am almost there.

Have a great week, make sure to give your loved ones a big hug.
Volker

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Sunday Column (240)

Dear Colin,

I am sorry I sneaked out of the house at 7.10 to catch my overcrowded train to work. I didn’t want to wake you up as you need your sleep, your energy to go to school. When I woke up, trying yet another “sunlight alarm” app, it was too early for you. I was afraid of waking you and you coming downstairs to watch me exercise. Your brain must process so much at the minute, constant learning, constantly something new. You say you enjoy school, yet I sometimes wish to be able to explain meditation to you, calming your mind. I still explain it to myself daily. There is so much more I want to teach you too. But one thing at a time.

Dear Rohan,

I heard you coughing throughout the night. I felt for you, I was awake myself a bit with this awful cough. It still tickles me whilst I for once got a seat on the train, being able to write the weekly Sunday column. I know you wanted to come down to see Daddy when you woke up. It was too late as Daddy needed to shower and get ready for work. Mummy changed your leaking nappy, you kicked a fuss because you didn’t get your PJ trousers back on. One day you also will laugh at your way of being so particular. It doesn’t help me telling you that in the greater scale of things, PJ trousers just don’t matter.

Just one of many mornings start like that. The desire to spend 10 or 30 minutes with you guys, realising that sometimes I just cannot. This is me running late or you getting up late. Either way. Things are as they are. The picture below nicely points out: the now isn’t a constant, the best things are yet to come. The future is still ahead of you. Even I, who I am now 36, will not be where I am now. My life is still evolving, whilst I hope and anticipate to still be in my current job in 4 years time, I am already thinking what my next steps could be. What do 40 year olds do? Of course I am not seriously thinking about it, yet the thought of being that age scares me at times. I will be doing another job, and 40 isn’t that old. A new beginning, a new dawn, life goes on, or at least we hope so, for another few years at least. Then again, who knows. Things might just turn out to be a lot different than anticipated.

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Writing this, I get reminded of conversations I had this week. About a man who had twins and hardly slept the past four months. About a man having to cope with family illnesses. We all have to cope with something. I cope or do not cope with lack of sleep and exercise this week. I am shattered. I managed one good run and then had two rough nights, leaving me tired out, shattered. Of course I am coping, just. I would like to get this feeling back of being rested. Being fully charged. Will I ever? At least I found a great new app, “moves”, which is a pedometer and a journal of your day’s movements. I am hooked on it. Another run. Too much junk food to cope, to comfort. I am NOT getting back into an old bad lifestyle routine, yet it is easy to do 🙁

Anyway, with my parents having been over and us going for walks with the boys, it is fantastic to think what we have achieved so far. In life, in general. We live in a big enough house with walking distance to the great outdoors, a short drive to the sea, as rural and quiet as you can only wish for. I stopped for a minute the other day and took it all in. A life and situation I am truly grateful for. Life and the opportunities, the small wonders, are fascinating. Being able to realise the small things, being happy on our own accounts with what we have, is great. I do not demand a lot from life, do I? It must be the Buddhist roots but it seems, whilst if did develop an aptitude for trainers recently, that I only buy what I need or really want these days. And it doesn’t seem that much, possession wise, that I am attracted to. Then again it depends who you compare yourself to I suppose.

How will life change from the present moment? We never know until it does. However, if I envisage my life a year from now, I somewhat get the feeling it will be better. More in the flow of things at work, whilst more stressful, yet busier at home. Let me be surprised. It’s good we cannot plan too much in advance.

The weather turned a lot colder this week. It feels like we are moving towards winter. I did my job talk at Rotary this week. I am finalising a few projects. Whilst on the outside it looks like I am getting ready for a winter’s rest, I am on fire on the inside. Watch this space.

Bring it on!

Have a good one,
Volker

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