Sunday Column (275)

This week started with more unpleasant commute stories. Maybe it is that I never had as many problems in Germany when I was travelling by train, or because a lot is happening on my commuter line at the moment. Whilst I remember sitting on luggage racks or in the bar in the German ICE trains coming home Friday nights from the Navy or University, and I was a lot younger minding paying less, I now pay over 4.5K for an appalling service per year.

On top of busy, overcrowded and slow trains, we live in a part where it seems too common to have, accidental or purposeful, human casualties on the tracks. With only one track going either way, trains piling up between Gatwick and Brighton, or before that if the casualties where higher up the line, and it disrupts traffic a lot. Whilst I discussed the issue recently, I am still astonished about the lack of action. I understand there aren’t 200 buses and drivers on stand by for scenarios like that, yet why not build an emergency train line or at least train staff to keep you informed. Lack of information, standing in the rain and relying on Twitter updates whilst your phone is dying is just not helping any emergency situation.

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This is the same when flying and or traffic yams. Any lack of information makes any situation worse. I had more bad journeys that week. Due to various appointments I took trains that are jammed pack from Hassocks, and one was short formed, again resulting in standing only. Luckily I managed to get a seat half way through.

Enough about the commute I guess. I can’t really not complain about it. For the amount of money you pay you get a shit service. I spoke to so many people that started working from home for themselves just to avoid the commute. Is that the answer? I am thinking more along the lines of off peak travel, working early, leaving early. But that doesn’t always work. We soldier on.

On to more positive things.

The most amazing thing this week was my son’s 5th birthday. Looking back to where we were five years ago, awaiting our first child, not knowing what we got into. Sleepless nights, sleep training, potty training, smart answers, “iPad therapy”, first feeds, first solid food, driving around the block to get him to sleep, crying when you see him cycling without stabilisers for the first time, and I could go on. We just bought our first house, settling down, newly married, the whole life seemed in front of us. What did we know?

Having children is probably the greatest gift someone can receive. The joys are unexplainable, the inner love you feel that keeps you going day and night. As most dads I was struggling with the first 2.5 years of any of my children. The lack of interaction and communication. Yet over the past years things have changed massively. A day without playing Lego or cuddle from either of my boys seems like a lost day.

With work commitments and being someone enjoying to work, it is a fine balance and I slowly find that I can really commit the weekends to spend time with my two boys, enjoying every minute of it. Making up for lost time. Although video conferencing helps to stay in touch during travels, and really, I am not gone that often.

If I am trying to think of highlights over the past five years, I couldn’t even say. Most recently Legoland of course, the smart outburst explaining the universe or how a certain Lego piece works, defending the baddies. The shoe box that turns into a space ship. The cuddles when he is ill (or not), caring for him and sitting next to his bed, realising how much responsibility one has. You feel humbled being able to give so much back to another human being.

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Those moments when they just go crazy, crying for joy, playing and chasing each other, jumping on daddy. And of course when they throw tantrums, being naughty and you send them upstairs to their room to calm down. I love my two sons, the responsibility and building Lego. This seems like the main focus for me at the moment, this is the thing to live for.

I sometimes fast forward and think what it could be like, when they are 13/14 and have their first girl friend. But that’s not important now, I would rather stop the time and enjoy more if the now.

Happy Birthday Colin!

Have a great one,
Volker