To 2008, the best year yet

Happy New Year gang, I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and that you’ve settled into 2008.

My first day back and I’m having trouble getting into to it so I figured I’d come to the keys and see what happens.

As Eddie Vedder’s version of “Hard Sun” plays on my iTunes, I’m reflecting on the past two amazing weeks, which I spent in virtual hibernation. I shut it down on the December 21; checked email fairly regularly, but barely responded; and generally shut my brain off, at least for RealTime Cancer-related activities.

While I did have the flu for most of my two-week vacay, it wasn’t too bad, and it did keep me close to home with my girls.

Now that I’m back in the “hot seat,” I can say with certainty that the feelings I was having yesterday were solid and spot on, those feelings of not wanting to come back to work. First time for everything, and this is a first for me, at least at this level.

It isn’t that I had this crazy realization that I hate my job (funny to call it a “job” for me, but technically speaking it is). More accurately, I did have another level of crazy realization of how much I love hanging with my girls, the bigger (and growing one) and the smaller (but also growing one).

I don’t know if every dad feels this way, but I hope so.

During these past two weeks, I could sleep until I heard the quiet talking of Adia through her monitor, go out and see her sitting in her crib playing on her own, take her up and wrap the 6.5 feet of arms I have around her, change her bum, and go get some breakfast for her, then sit on the living room floor with her as we catch up on the scores from the previous night and have some juice, or tear around the house as she explored. Our days were full, but not too full, and we didn’t really do anything that different from a normal Saturday, except that we got to do it every day and that was the difference.

Karen and I are blessed to have her parents take care of Adia during the days when we are at work, which has been since the beginning of the school year when Karen returned to teach junior high. My absence from Adia’s early days has been an issue for me, but for some reason it has been heightened since Karen returned to work.

I traveled way too much during Adia’s first 14 months, and it is something I will change going forward. When I am home, most days I see her for at best an hour in the morning and a few hours in the evening, which is the same for most working parents of nine-to-five jobs, I’m sure.

But what if that isn’t good enough for me?

Recently my family doc closed her practice. As far as I know, she is now working four mornings a week in the hospital and one full day at a nursing home. Imagine redefining, or perhaps defining for the first time, what work-life balance means?

It is something I have been aware of for a long time, my constant struggle with this work-life balance issue. Adia’s arrival has put this in a new light for me and it’s all good.

At the 2007 RealTime Cancer Survivor Conference, we had a great presentation from a survivor buddy of mine in which she referenced the metaphor of the glass jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand. The rocks represent the really important stuff like family, friends, health, etc. Pebbles are the less important, but still significant things such as career, leisure, etc. The sand represents the much less important things  like the lawn, dishes or the tile in the basement ceiling (not that I have a missing tile in my basement ceiling!).

This is a popular analogy that many of you have likely heard…the demonstration/discussion asks how you fill your jar.

If you put the sand in first it will fill the jar, leaving no room for the truly important things in life. If you put the rocks in first, then the pebbles, and then the sand, you can fill your jar comfortably.

It is a very powerful demonstration and effectively communicates a great message about balance. The rocks are basically representing your time and how you spend it.

I spent my time on the big rocks over the past two weeks and it reminded me how much I love them. So, as I hit the early part of 2008, I am intending that it will be my best year yet, with a full jar of rocks, pebbles, and sand.

Always…
Live life. Love life.

Geoff

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