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.
Volker