Taking My Own Advice


In the past blogs I have penned, (or rather keyed I suppose would be more accurate), I have from time-to-time spoke of balancing work and personal life, having things to look forward to that keep one capable of giving back and staying energized.

It is with great enthusiasm therefore that I look forward to Friday as a day when I embark on a mini-vacation with my wife for an extended weekend, planning a three-day trip to Montreal Canada. Not just any trip mind, but a trip to celebrate thirty years of marriage by returning to the city where we celebrated our honeymoon all those years ago.

So what on earth has this got to do with a blog about giving people job advice? Well indulge me for the few minutes you need to read it and it will become clear. In short however for the impatient, it is critical to know the value of work, and the value of work is not always for the sake of doing the work itself, but in some way large or small, to gain from the work the very things in life that bring us joy outside of the work we do. Work does supply one with an income, and it is that income that allows us opportunities to fulfill dreams, bring us happiness and spend time with those we love best.

Now our anniversary was actually back in August on the 23rd to be specific. And it was at that time that our only daughter surprised us both with an offer to give us a night’s accommodation in Montreal at a hotel and two tickets to see the Montreal Canadiens play hockey on their home ice. You’d have to know that on our honeymoon we chose to go for to Montreal, and thought while we were there one of the things we would do is take in a sporting event, and while the Canadiens don’t play hockey in August, at that time the Montreal Expos did. So we went to a game and saw Andre Dawson hit the winning run over the right field fence.

And being fans of the hockey club, we have never actually seen them play live in Montreal, so while it might seem puzzling to some, for us it’s very thoughtful and something to look forward to. We’ll head out on Friday, and plan to have a nice dinner out on Saturday night following a rare afternoon hockey game. A little shopping and being with each other round out a getaway that we are looking forward to. For me personally, I’ve been a loyal fan of the team – the winningest franchise in the North American professional hockey league circuit, and going there is like going to Mecca or the Vatican; for being a fan of this team is almost religious, and their home ice is like the shrine.

Now having something to look forward to outside of work, (I told you I’d get on to tying it back in) really does provide you with more focus at work itself ironically. If all you do is live and breathe your job and you never get out to do much else, you really can only give so much. Different experiences, variety and new sources of stimulation help keep us well-rounded, give us interesting things to share, create memories and remind us that our work however important should never consume us but fulfill us. No matter how successful and engaged we are, there should always be room for those around us and with whom we share our journey of life.

My wife and I don’t take trips south, don’t go on cruises, have been on planes less than five times in total between us, holiday by car and camp, choosing a more frugal lifestyle. While popping off to another city for a three-day weekend might seem rather mundane and not worth the hoopla, like anything else, it’s the significance to the people involved that really counts. Some couples love to plan the big trips and jet here and there, always on the hunt for the next big trip to take in but that’s not us. Good for them mind, just not our thing.

When we celebrated our honeymoon, I had a new job to start the following week. A weekend was all the time we could afford, and here we are again on a weekend journey. Mind, it was shorts, t-shirts, and carriage rides in old Quebec back in 1983. In 2014 it will be sloshing about on snowy streets, steering clear of the puddles and hoping there’s no snowstorm. Instead of sunning ourselves watching baseball players, we’ll be sporting our colours in an enclosed noisy arena, taking part live in all those great chants only those there can really appreciate.

At work this week, the days are flying by. I’ve got an extra bounce in my step, more of a grin on my face, and it’s because I’ve got the anticipation for something beyond work. But I’m focused while at work, energized and contributing as always, but with a difference. This is what external events in one’s personal life contribute to your work life.

I sure hope that for our sake, the final score favours the Montreal hockey team. If you only ever get to see a team play that you and your spouse follow with a passion, it sure would be nice to leave that event with a win to keep as a memory!

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