Posts Tagged time off

Sunday Column (449)

Oh yes. No Monday morning 5 am taxi pick up and a delayed flight after a bad breakfast to Hamburg. No, this Monday it was the normal 7:29 train service to London. No travel abroad and lots of catching up with my UK team. This was fun! I even squeezed a civilised dinner in with our American visitor, and made it home before 10 pm. Great result and great way to start the week. After having spend the last few days trying to cure the man flu, having my parents to visit, and sorting my infected toe, this was nice. Actually, I had a really nice, productive, day. 
The train home was quiet. My inbox also, given it is slowly getting to the quieter weeks of the year. This is nice, as I can focus on some not so urgent but equally important work tasks as well as catching up on some BBC iPlayer videos whilst writing my blog. Having the super sized screen, the iPad does allow for multi tasking, even if your brain doesn’t. Reading a book about the flow of things and how you best utilise your brain to be happy – the flow. I will update you on it as I read along.

The week stayed calm, or did it? Whilst the emails coming in are fewer than usual, the amount of work associated with each seem to go up. In other words, I was booked out back to back the remainder of the week, with requests coming in, needing a lot of my attention. But, and I said it before, I love what I am doing and I am GSD (getting shit done). However, coming home Tuesday night, after having had a few pints instead of coffee, I ended up with a Chinese and more wine. The weekend seemed to have started early this week, trying to cramp it all in. Despite all that, I was back to my first 10K on Wednesday morning at 5 am. Yes, that felt good. The first longer run since the Spitfire event. The first after my toe infection and the first after the man flu which slowly disappeared this week. I am getting back on it. I even fitted in a first weight session on Thursday. Winning it back. One morning at a time. Life is all about the daily routine.

Given the boys are off school and I hear about all their fun activities, I feel like I should be off too. During breakfast, the eldest sits with his huge fluffy teddy bear in the living room reading. The other one sits closer to me, colouring in. I have a rushed bite to eat, a quick kiss to say good bye, and off I go. Back long after they have been to bed. I sometimes wonder what a life would be like where you are home for 6 pm or 7 pm every night. I wouldn’t gain much time I don’t think. Being on the train from 7-8 gives me my hour of work, fun, chill out and declutter my brain time, something I don’t have to do at home. Yes, I miss bath time, but as they get older I see more of them in the evenings. The life and life balance we choose. The choices we make, to live close to London but not in London. To live close to the sea but not by the sea. The choices of houses, schools etc. I feel I made the right choices. However, as a friend of mine said this week over lunch, with Brexit and the current state of affairs, the government is harming it’s own country. Will Britain be strong enough to sustain a healthy economy in the long run. I believe, so I believe things will work out. And if not? I do not know, but maybe we move the family in a few years. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

All of that influences our happiness. Our balances, our systems. I wrote about that in my book. It is up to us to define what we would like to do and achieve. What goals are we working towards to, or do we just go with the flow? Which values do we have and what is important to us? Where would or wouldn’t we compromise. I haven’t read a fiction book for many years. I like to spend my time constantly improving myself. I enjoy that. And that is my flow I suppose. My daily flow of things, my busy weeks balanced by chilled out weekends, shared activities with the family. The discussion around success vs. achievement. Being busy vs. productiveness. One doesn’t mean the other, and each of us has to find their own definition of it. Focus goes where energy flows. Focus on the things you want to achieve, that drive you on, your purpose. Remove noise and time wasters from the equation of your inputs, eliminate news and social media input. Strive for being better every single day.
As I prepare for some time off, rushing through things I know I won’t finish this week, and thinking the world will not end if I don’t, I reflect. Shutting down the brain and trying to relax. Letting go and recharge the batteries. The world will be the same but busier after the summer months, leading into Q4 and Christmas. What will it be like? What does the journey ahead look like? 

Trusting in the power of the universe and that things will always work out, I put my head to rest. I had another almost scare this weekend, a worry that comes with age. All is good though. Thank you. 

Time to reflect, recalibrate and learn from experience. 
Have a great week,

Volker

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Sunday Column (415)

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2 weeks to Christmas. The kids are getting excited, and before I hear a ‘hello’ in the morning, it is ‘where is my advent calendar’. If I hear them say anything in the morning, as I might be out of the house at crack of dawn. Southern rail put an emergency time table on. Busier trains, less often….great. For 4,000 GBP a year. The wifi stopped working on some trains (I know it is a first world problem), yet what I am trying to say is you getting less and less service for your money. And the price is probably going up by 2.4% again next year. So whilst the train companies get richer, we get poorer and have a worse service. And no choice. We can’t switch providers or drive, really. I heard of the first few people that had to stop working in London as it was too unreliable due to the train situation. Whilst I take that with a pinch of salt, luckily most companies I ever worked for understood, it is probably the bitter reality. Is that ever going to end? Not this year, that’s for sure, but it has been ongoing for 8 months! And my latest app shows me: 1:40 in transit. Yes I work, and yes I study and read, but that’s over 3 hours a day. If you cannot plan that part of your day, it becomes quite stressful to be honest. So I had to cancel a few Christmas drinks already, and I dread leaving our Christmas party early just to be home and not stranded in London. Yes, whilst I could stay over, that just might result in a day on bus replacement services due to weekend engineering works. Not taking any chances at the moment, and I cannot win with Southern.

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After my temperature last weekend, I stayed at home on Monday, without working, so I rested up. Tuesday I felt a bit better but if I compare the status of my wife’s virus with my stage, I won’t feel much better than I did on Monday for another week. Never mind, I just have to get on with it. I hope for the sake of the office that I am not contagious (don’t think I am, otherwise I wouldn’t go in!), and that my output isn’t affected too much. By about 3 pm my brain starts to shut down and needs some relaxation. 10 hour days don’t help I suppose. Fingers crossed it lasts! So whilst I am loosing a bit on the health front, I am also winning. And from mid week things felt better, and I even managed a run on Friday. Fingers crossed this was the last bug of the year!

Yes. I am winning. I am winning in the game of life. You know how I can tell? On Wednesday I had a day off (still having to use a few days before the end of the year) and I attended R’s nativity play. This was great. He was a Robin 🙂 The engagement from his end and the looks, and the shared breakfast, the play time at night. The boys love me being around. When I was travelling a lot to Europe, I didn’t see them for a few days but then worked from home for a day. They loved it. On the other hand, I now see them daily but for less time. Keeping the balance is difficult and the ongoing discussion with my wife is, whether it was the right decision to move out of London. We agree, it was, and that the current state of trains just don’t help the situation. We will get over it, and I will be able to win even more. Life just needs to fall into (the) place that it aligns with your values and proposition. With Jen hopefully going back to work soon and trains hopefully getting better, we should be in a much better place already come my birthday. The big one, you remember 🙁

Anyway…On my day off I decided to spend the afternoon with my friends and meet a start-up. I am crazy, I know. I love doing those advisory roles and helping people and discussing options. That’s what I enjoy doing, yet I was home for just after dinner, time for bath and bed time reading. A full on, full rounded day off. If I had felt any better, and the weather would have been warmer, I would have thought of having some good food, wine, chocolate and maybe a cigar. I haven’t had a cigar for a while but feel like it might be time to have one again – post bug, post cough. We shall see what Santa Claus will be having in s(t)ock for me 😉 But seriously, being able to just have time and not hurrying. Not worrying which train to take. To not worry and just wander around. To relax and spend quality time with the boys. This is nice, relaxing, healing.

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A friend of mine launched his business this week. Amazing. I have known James for many years and it is great to see that he is very open about his experience, his life and how he came up with what he launched: Measurematch. Another mate published a post on how he set up his own consultancy three months ago. It is fantastic to see how more and more people setting up their business to service the community and help others to understand the complexity of what we are doing. Something I think isn’t actually that complex. Latter is what I discussed with mentors, the knowledge just isn’t there and I feel like nothing is complicated but we have done it for a few years, haven’t we?

Another highlight of the week was that I finally passed my ‘Life in the UK’ test. Yes, the test that I need to become a British citizen. I studied for it in the summer but wasn’t allowed to take it as I didn’t have the right ID (mine was expired and cancelled and whilst they accept expired ones, they don’t accept cancelled ones). So I got my German ID card which took a few months and I studied for the test again. I passed. It was harder than I thought. Some of the questions were completely different to the app that I relied on. Yet I also used a different app before which I believe saved my life. Anyway, it is done. I now wait for my ‘residency permit’ to be approved – this was supposed to take 8-10 weeks but has now been ongoing since early August and should not take longer than 6 months. Then I can apply for naturalisation. Subject to waiting times, I assume at least another 6 months, I should be a British citizen by end of next year. Why I want to? Because I think that I will always live on the island. That I will always work and live here. And I like to be able to not worry about Brexit and what is happening with Europe. Yet, I also keep my German passport. The best of both worlds I suppose.

Today we were supposed to meet with an old uni friend of mine and his family. Unfortunate they had to postpone last minute. We never spend enough time doing those kind of days. We don’t take enough days to just wander and chill. See comment about about not being rushed and hurried. To meet friends. To carve out time for longer than a pint. To not worry about everything else going on. We should. We should stop every now and then and take stock. Smell the roses – I haven’t used that phrase for a while. Apologies if those posts are less inspiring at the moment, but the winter blues has set in. The mad rush to Christmas. There are a lot of things to balance. We try to finish as much as possible before and then realise on the 23rd that we can’t finish it all. That’s fine. We then postpone and go and have a good Christmas break. I will be working a couple of days, catching up on a few emails, some reading and conference videos. And I will wander, I will take time off with the kids and chill. To rejuvenate.

Hope you are planning your festive break and life is good for you!

From my little corner of the world, have a great week ahead!
Volker

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Sunday Column (346)

Starting the week with a day trip, whether to Paris or anywhere really, sets you up for the week. A little bit like a 5am routine for the day, a day trip to Europe is for your week. You feel energised and ready to take on the world. It is that feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of achievement. That’s why I enjoy doing what I am doing. That’s why I enjoy productivity, sales and leadership. Because you know you are the one moving the needle.

Of course, given it was a 15 hour day, it was tiring too 🙂 Yet it was a successful trip, and it is what I enjoy really.

So the rest of the week flew past. No punt intended. I noticed my 12K from the weekend, some early training for my Dawn Wall (see last week for context) exhausted me a bit more than anticipated. However, and this isn’t a moan about the man flu, but there are a few bugs going around. So far I have avoided to be off work or feel bad, but something seems to be lingering around for a few weeks. I am certain it all comes out, literally, given recent stories at school, when we break for half term tomorrow. Yet, with some more nice weather on the way, I am eager to do more training outside. Just difficult at 5 am as it is a bit dark still, so my 7.5K on Thursday on the treadmill was a pleasant ‘walk in the park’. Again, a feeling of achievement to be able to do your run first thing.

Another mile stone this week was our 8 year anniversary. Sometimes hard to believe that you can spend over 10 beautiful years together with as little fights as my wife and I have. Who would have guessed anyone would ever be able to cope with me for such a long period of time 😉 I guess that makes her extra special. My wife is a very special person and we have experienced so much together, ups and downs, yet it has been a wonderful time so far. And I am more than certain there are many more years to come. I love you Jenny.

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On that note, one sometimes wonders if there is a higher force that sorts out your partner. We know people come into your life for a reason and people leave it for a reason, I mean not dying but entering your life, you learn/laugh/chat together, then they disappear forever. Some stay and some are your life time partner. Is that all down to chance? Why do some never find a perfect match?

I guess this is a philosophical question, similar to who do you meet at university and where do you find your first job. This can determine your whole career and 50 years ahead. The small things in life, the piece of chance, luck or destiny that shape your life. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Let’s not get sentimental…yet the picture above shows our new family partner. We picked him up on Friday – not really a replacement for Rosie, and it never can be, but my wife always had cats, and the last cat we had to re-home because of the dog. I am sure he will settle in fine, and the kids will love him.

The end of the week marked the start of half term. I was actually off from Friday! The kids needing the time off. So do I to be honest. It has been a long time since my last break with lots of changes since. So just before we really hit Q4 I am taking a week off. My parents arrived with lots of wine, filling up the shelves. Plus it gave us an opportunity, my wife and I, to celebrate mentioned anniversary. They are staying for a few days which gives the kids and us a great chance to spend some quality family time together.

As I grow older family time becomes more important. Not that work becomes less important, it is more that other things take priority. I am still working on my career, probably always will, but being able to see my kid’s harvest festival performance, being there when they need someone to talk to or just reading about the ‘burgling cat’ before going to work. Those precious moments are never there to return.

That is life. And I really loving it. I love to be in the middle of it, falling on my back, like a dog in the mud, and really enjoy life for the reason of love and friendships.

Buddha bless,
Volker

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Sunday Column (338)

What a great week off I had. Or did I?

For weeks we wanted to go camping. If I say week, more like years. I have been putting it off, but this year really wanted to go for it. Earlier on this year I got a cooker, cutlery, crockery, sleeping bags, coffee and all the little things that last forever to spend this week camping. And, of course, I got a tent too. New as much as £450 we got it used for just under £100. I was chuffed, little did I know about tents… 🙁

To cut a long story short. We got the tent up, had a fantastic BBQ, kids playing, evening sun, chilly wind, but great evening. We knew the weather forecast wasn’t too good, so here were we….the kids in bed by 9ish – to sleep is a different story – and when I woke up the first time it was because the campsite was under a flight path. They flew until late, I am not used to that anymore. I woke up later because it started to rain. I woke up again, water dripping on my cheek. I kept being awake, hearing dripping water in the ‘living room’ of the tent.

When I finally woke up I saw three or four puddles of water on the floor. I knew camping was over. The tent wasn’t watertight. There is a difference between condensation water dripping and water blowing into the tent and it leaking. No fun.

The worst part was that I started to enjoy it – the camping that is. The most awkward thing was for me to pack it all in the car, little did I know how much stuff you need to take, then of course particularly when going home and we had this wet wet wet tent in there. However, it went to the bin straight away. Maybe we get a different one. New of course.

For myself, and maybe this sounds daft, another learning. I thought a tent lasts forever. I didn’t know you could repair the seams. I was fed up of it too btw, and maybe I was too hasty binning it. A bit annoyed, and given the weather we probably would have called it a day anyway, but the equipment didn’t give us a chance. Maybe I am just too comfortable….and I book ready pitched tents next time again, another Yurt, Tipi or something.

How did we make up for it with the kids? Day trips as you would.

Tuesday we went to Sea Life in Brighton, got soaked and even our jackets didn’t withstand the gale force winds and rain. We went to London to spend a tiring but great day in the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. The boys loved the tube, the bus, the train, the museum – a long but worth while day. We even visited daddy’s work 😉

Colin got his fish tank, as promised for his birthday. We got the first fish in, but decided to place it in the kitchen, to make sure the kids behave with it. We went to see the Minion movie, we didn’t go to Littlehampton Beach as the A27 was closed but had fish and chips….and we continued our decoration of the spare bedroom, played games, coloured in, watched TV, had the fire place on and and and.

No, it wasn’t a boring week. It was a great week, good bonding time and we truly enjoyed each others company. What we didn’t do as much was spend time outside. This weather isn’t August or summer. This is more like autumn. I am back to work on Tuesday (Bank Holiday Monday) and will then work until half term. The last few months of the year tend to be very busy for me, so this will pass quickly. R will start school. He will be shattered. C starts year two. Time goes by. As it always will, it never stops.

I love being a dad. I love having time for the kids.

Have a great week, make the most of it, come sun or rain 😉
Volker

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Sunday Column (325)

Hello there.
Another mad week. In a good sense though!

The weather wasn’t great on the days I was off, but it was nice on the days I was busy. Not fair, but the usual scenario. Monday was a bank holiday, yet it seems like it was flying past. We finally managed to put our tent up we bought a while ago and decided a ground sheet would be a good idea. That was last weekend.

We are now all set to go camping. With the kids having been off for half term and me having had two major work engagement, one on Tuesday in London and one on Wednesday in Eindhoven, it was nonstop on the two days I was working this week. Essentially I flew to Eindhoven on Wednesday morning and came back late at night. Thursday and Friday I was off work but had to keep an eye on a couple of things.

On Thursday night we managed to sleep in the tent too. As always we didn’t sleep right and were tired, and thanks to the aforementioned bad weather, we were just hanging around on Friday, lighting the wood fire at 11 am and got all cosy, snoozing on the couch and watching TV….lazy times! It was raining most of the day, so fair enough. And, of course, we had to test our new fire wood that got delivered, and fits just perfectly into our shed 🙂

I like being busy and I am off to a conference in my fatherland tomorrow. Another three days away from the family but it is getting less travel over the next few months. Summer is upon us and the summer break is near. It has been another busy quarter.

I really enjoy it though. I had very inspirational chats this week, lots of good things happening. I am very excited. So things are good and I am happy. That is what counts.

Spending time with the kids is getting better by the day. By each weekend if you like. The engagement is going beyond what I ever expected, so that’s fun. Not only being on the trampoline with them, cooking, having chats and discussing the world, just getting those hugs and kisses, just really being valued is a nice thing. And them using their brain to actually help! Life is getting better by the day. Building a foundation of more trust in the future – so I hope.

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Prompted by an article I read this week that stated that most people regretted on their death bed of not having followed their hearts but acted on their minds, I wondered a bit. I wondered whether I do follow my heart. Will I sit on my death bed and regret of not following my heart?

I don’t think I would. No, I won’t. I am following my life path which I enjoy. When I was younger there were a lot of things I wasn’t too keen on: mortgage, marriage, kids, fast cars, family cars, camping … but now most of these things happened. Do I have any regrets. None whatsoever, I love my life, and I followed my heart. And they were all the right things to do.

Job wise it is the same. No, I never started to say that I wanted to work in sales but I always wanted to work in management. I didn’t know what that was, but helping people and managing them, firing them and hiring them, speaking to them and presenting. That is what I do now. And: I love it.

If there was one regret it would be of not having done my own thing. But I am not dying yet and I still got plans. Maybe to do something that is mind changing or changing minds. I have been working on my next Ebook/Whitepaper this week. Maybe I will be making this dent in the universe and setting an example for future generations. Yes, that is still a dream, but no regrets if I don’t achieve it.

Are you the same? Can you sit there today and say that you living the dream?
I do and I cannot stress enough to make sure I keep reminding myself about it daily. The grass is always greener, but currently there is no way it really is.

Yet, as I have written this post earlier this week, I had to amend it for two reasons. Firstly, I have had such a great time with my boys this weekend, that I feel so blessed. Don’t ever forget the precious things you have, right there, in front of you.

And secondly, I came down with a temperature/flu. So no trip to Berlin tomorrow 6 am – and I see if I can join the industry event on Tuesday. My old boss, a serial entrepreneur and workaholic, actually not too dissimilar to me, always said I don’t need ill employees. I need people being healthy. Get well and give 100% the day after. He is right. And it is one of my values ever since. Look after yourself. There is only one you, and you are still needed.

So to all others not being well, get better.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (295)

It is November. Time keeps flying and only another 6 weeks to Christmas. Wow. I just had a week off with the family. Nothing was planned but staying at home at half term, taking care of the puppy, spending time with the kids.

Having a puppy is great yet hard work. Potty training, entertaining, particularly if you cannot take it for walks yet. Chewing on anything, playing with the boys’ toys and generally just wanting to be entertained. A 3 year old too forceful, and a 5 year old too shy with it. We made a lot of progress and in less than 2 weeks time we can take her for walks. I cannot wait.

What I enjoyed most about the time off? Getting on top of things like putting away the firewood for the winter. Cooking. Sleeping. Running. Sitting in the living room, putting the fire on at 4pm, having a glass of wine, chilling out, trying take aways… Not everyday though 😉 Doing some minor DIY things. As mentioned, thanks to the dog we couldn’t really go anywhere for long.

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We managed to clear the loft out a big. Old toys, cloths and baby stuff. Something I was looking forward to for a long time. It feels like we made the cut, we moved on. We don’t have babies anymore. We have two boys that are growing up. Now we got a puppy. With 8 months they should be ‘grown ups’. So from mid next year I can say that I have a 4, 6 and 1 year old child. That’ll be nice 😉 And the cat. Yet it has to be seen if Hänsel will hang around. And the wife is talking about dog number two already…let’s see what is there to come.

In the meantime I focus on the NOW. The very moment I enjoy spending with the boys and the family. Building Lego, going swimming, polishing the car or tidying away the firewood. Whatever it is and whatever we can do as a team. It is nice to create shared experiences. Things they will remember for years to come.

And in a subtle way you teach them about life. That the old toys from the loft going to people that have no toys. That cannot afford toys. And that there are people that don’t have hot water or warm houses in the winter. Those little things we keep forgetting and we must remind ourselves and our children about. Every year, coming to Christmas, I reflect on where we are and what we can do for others. And I do want my kids to be involved. In school they teach them Africa doesn’t have any money. But it isn’t only Africa, it can be in your own country too. We too often forget.

But don’t let me get too sentimental. After all we still got six weeks till Christmas. And then another year will commence. I got the feeling 2015 will be a year full of positive changes. I can’t put my finger down yet but anticipate that whilst a lot of things change, for better or for worse, we will see a very positive outcome from it, even if this is still years away for us to realise.

I also managed a great MTB ride and a few runs. So trying to stay active.

Have a great November,
Volker

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Sunday Column (273)

This week I could go on about another favourite topic: the weather. I was off work all week (annual leave) as it was half term. I spent lots of time with my boys and wife. But I had preferred spending it more outside than inside.

One of the highlights was supposed to be a daily bike ride and Legoland for the kids. The weather however put a damper on the first idea. Rain almost daily stopped me from exercising as much as I would have liked to. Legoland too – despite the regular entrance price for two adults and two children coming close to £200 – was weather dependent. So there was no way of going early in the week but we went at Friday instead.

Tescos’ Clubcard vouchers saved us a bunch and we had a fantastic day out – almost “on the cheap” yet not compromising a thing. The boys picked up a present each for being good during the week, not asking to play on the iPad. They held out quite long with C staying awake the whole journey home, arriving close to 9 pm. What a great day, yet most rides are too advanced for our wee ones, but they enjoyed just looking at some, building stuff or having fun running around or joining “easy rides” like helicopters, the submarine, or driving little cars. They had an amazing day – so did we 🙂 We then spent all Saturday building the models we bought! Loved it!!!!

I am not complaining yet the weather has been awful. Swimming, bowling, soft play and lazy days at home seem to be the daily routine. Sorting some things that needed getting done around the house. Getting on top of life.

I enjoyed my break. The boys picked up German again. They had breakfast with me most mornings and I read the story every night. Much needed and much missed bonding time. We managed to catch up with the neighbours, did some errands, and really made the most of the weather.

I also decided to shave off my full beard. Not sure if the goat tee is the best option or if I grow back the full version. The latter seems to be fashionable at the moment, 2014 as the year of the beard.

Cast your vote! On Facebook it is 3:1 to grow it back….

Then there were two topics in the press that caught my eyes besides the European election which I don’t like to comment on. Politics are getting more ridiculous each year.
One is that they still haven’t found the plane. The Malaysian airliner wasn’t in the search corridor they anticipated – so where is it? Are any of the conspiracy theories true? What if someone hijacked it and flew it to a remote island? Or, is the ocean that vast that it could be anywhere? How can a plane disappear in the 21st century not leaving a trace. Maybe a way of testing some bigger thing….we might find out one day.
The other one is Apple buying Beats, a headphone brand appealing to younger people. If they reduce the average age of an apple buyer by maybe 2 years, the acquisition makes sense from a commercial point of view. Will it fit in with the brand and will Apple be able to innovate ahead of the game? Android and Samsung, Google and even Motorola are stepping up the game. I wonder if I might move back to Android at some point. Not for my laptop but maybe for my phone/tablet…..oh no chance…..or is there?

That really sums up a wonderful week I spend at home with the loved ones. Time to get my work head on again, look at my emails which I avoided all week. Just.

Have a great week, a nice start into June!

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (201)

Happy New Year.

New traditions: curry night on the 31st which resulted in me ordering my first ever Vindaloo. Fantastic….but I didn’t finish the sauce 🙂 Then the following:

It happened. After years of thinking about it and living in a big city, we finally joined the National Trust. We got the car sticker and feel really mature. We have four venues close by and visited one on the 1st of January for a New Year’s walk (tradition again). Wakehurst (www.kew.org) which offers a fantastic scenery to walk your heart out. For our small family after being stuck inside with bad rain, this was a fantastic change in the winter sun. Three knackered boys and a tired wife 🙂

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New Year Resolutions? No 🙂 I don’t really make any resolutions. Drink less, join a club, use my energy, keep exercising, be a good dad and husband and continue doing well in my job. Enough for me. Nothing specific to be honest. A few things I want to do, achieve and so on, but with the move this year, knowing it is going to be for 30 odd years, I am glad if I settle in, find a routine and get on with it. Go with the flow. Everything else can be done in 2014 😉

I had two weeks off. Yes, the first week I was checking emails, sorted some requests but it wasn’t a full day in the office. The second week, e.g. after New Year, I took off completely. That means for me to turn my work phone off (I hate having two phones but on those occasions it is unbeatable), and not checking any mails. A week with no work disturbance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not too bothered seeing emails or staying on top of things, it is more the factor to make clear to colleagues “I am off, leave me alone”. If you don’t send that signal and you are available all the time people expect you to be. And to be honest, I am not irreplaceable, am I? Maybe I should be? Never mind.

Now, the best experience over my holidays is simple: the boys. I enjoyed them cuddling in bed in the morning, sitting with them for three meals a day, watching TV, playing train tracks (less popular these days), going for walks, soft play, building castles, having chats, comforting them, telling them off.

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I like to think I am blessed having two healthy boys at a great age. Whilst I cannot wait for R to be a year older and not needing a pram and nappies anymore, I don’t want to miss this “two year old” stage he is in. He just runs off, tries to grab attention, being stroppy, waking us up at night (less often though), and being a little “Quälgeist”, German for “ghost/spirit that annoys and pesters you”. A lovely little fella though and I love him to bits. He develops his own, very strong character, without me really noticing. His language is better developed than Colin’s at the time but he is less fore coming, more coy but cheeky at the same time. We shall see how he will be like in a few months.

Colin is a typical three year old, coming up to four years next summer. Trying to help mummy and daddy, educating Rohan and being the big brother. Very well behaved, or shall I say he knows when he oversteps boundaries. We still have to tell him off, but that’s quite normal. I love his statements like “not yet Daddy, 5 minutes” as if he had any sense of time. Or when we went for a walk and my wife had his frog (comfort blanket) coming down a steep hill, I said to C “should we just leave mummy up there”, he looked at me and said “my froggy”, he really got his priorities right 😉 He seems to understand German, speaks little and he slowly gets into that “why” stage and you can explain to him what’s going on in the environment. He wants to understand or learn what certain noises or things are. A great age.

I enjoyed the time off with the boys. Soon I am back at work and they are going to school and daddy time will be limited to the weekends. No point beating myself up about it, that is just the way things are and to make up for it, I need to be 110% there at the weekend. My dad was a teacher and home after lunch, so was my wife’s. So we both grew up having both parents around in the afternoon. I really had to work from home or locally but then I couldn’t do what I do now, and I wouldn’t want to miss that in the world. Probably a philosophical question, but whilst of course family and kids are more important than a career and self fulfilment, there is this bit in me that is very career oriented and likes to work (ever watched “Up in the air”?), enjoy moving up the career ladder. The best of both worlds is just not always possible but we are trying to make best possible arrangements.

I guess that sums up a great break. We met up with friends, had lots of fun and enjoyed quality time. The next long weekend is not too far away, then there is Easter, summer holidays, and before we know it, it is Christmas again….time flies.

Have a great 2013. A good start unless you were back to work this week. We looking forward getting our routine back and I look forward going back to work tomorrow.

Best wishes,
Volker

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