Change

Change is constant.  Movement is part of each and every moment.  We move through time, we grow, we age, we learn and we change.  People change.  I have changed and will continue to change.  The experiences I’ve had, the people I have met, the places I’ve been have shaped how I react and feel and influences my outlook.

I made the comment, “People change” in conversation recently and it was met with skepticism.  But I really believe it is true that people do change.  Consider those couples that marry and seem so in tune with each other, and then a few years later you hear that they have divorced.  Not because of any other reason that something or someone has changed in their relationship and what worked before doesn’t any more.  Or think about those people who learn, out of necessity, that to survive they have to fight for what they want. It may be contrary to their nature, but they adapt to the circumstances.

I am thinking about change because it is coming to my world shortly.  I’ve had my daughter and her family living here with me and they have bought a house and will move in a week.  It was easy with them here, I didn’t have to worry about feeling lonely, since I wasn’t.  But it was tough too, for them and me, the generational divide: a young couple with a 3 year old adapting to someone completely set in her ways.  We’ve had our moments but I wouldn’t change the experience, I would do it again.  I needed them and they needed me.

I suspect that them moving out will force me to change, to find ways to keep busy, to get out there and do things to avoid feeling lonely. It was comfortable not having to push myself, but my new reality is that soon I will be alone again and I need to figure out how to make that work for me.

 

 

Three Years Later…

It was three years on March 29th.  Kevin died peacefully at home, with all of his immediate family around him.  How silly was I ever to think, to worry, that the memories I cherish would fade, that I would lose them.  They are all still there, the good memories and the tough ones. It’s magical how the mind can transport you back; how real and fresh the images are, how sharp the pain still is.  He was, for so long, the heart, the breath and the soul of this family, that I still struggle to move forward.  Kevin was, quite simply, my purpose for being, he was my world.

I read the posts our friends put up on the anniversary of his death, and I received messages from friends and family.  I reflected on what a huge loss it was when he died, what a tragedy that someone who lived life so fully lost the privilege of ‘being’ so early.  Kevin had so many plans and dreams, so much passion and love – we were so blessed to have had him in our lives.  He did the things he wanted to, without regret.  Never could it be said that he let an opportunity pass by, he believed that you had to get out there and make things happen.  I am a better person for having loved him.

I truly believe the person we are is the result of the paths we’ve chosen and the people who have crossed them or join us on them for a time. We can either learn as we travel or we can blindly go forward, that’s on us.  For the last three years I have blindly gone forward, out of necessity since it was just too painful to look for any lessons to come out of this.  But they are there, lurking around in my mind, waiting for me to sift through them.  Maybe soon I will tackle that process, because those lessons are important and it is the final legacy of my journey with Kevin – so I owe him that, to learn from him one last time.

 

To trip or not to trip

I hate the last week of March, it has such strong memories and my emotions are quite unpredictable at times.  My wedding anniversary was March 24th, and more pointedly Kevin died on March 29th – two heart rending events that I still mourn.  I know I go a little offside at this time, and so I have booked the week off work to save my peers the agony of having to deal with me, and to save me face since I know I go a little nutty.  The plan, when I booked the time off, was to travel someplace, anyplace just to take my mind off things.

This leads to my current dilemma.  After my last outing (November 2017) on the cruise, I didn’t fare so well.  Got sick day one and actually stayed sick until Christmas. A head cold that morphed into the real-deal flu (despite my flu shot prior to the cruise) and then on to pneumonia.  After this experience, I told my sister, who is my travelling partner, that I had no plans to go anywhere by plane or by ship for a while.  A staycation was what I was going to do in March.  Well a few days of minus 30 degrees Celsius weather had put paid to that.  My sister suspected the extreme chill might change my mind and had sent me a few emails highlighting some sunny warm resorts.  Now I find myself scanning the all inclusives, looking to spend that week someplace warm.

And so it is decision time:  where to go?  I am leaning towards Cuba.  I’ve been there a few times before and am favouring it because of the beautiful beaches and the fairly consistent good weather.  I recall from previous vacations there that the food was not spectacular, and the hotels rate themselves a little more generously than I would (a four star in Cuba is more like a three star in the Dominican and Barbados).  However, it is a direct flight and there are a few good hotel chains located there. I want an all-inclusive where the biggest decision I make in the morning is whether to lay by the pool or out on the beach.  And where nobody cares if the woman in the lounge chair behaves  a little peculiarly – they just figure I may have had a bit too much to drink.

Will I pick up a bug on the plane? Maybe, but at least this time I will have packed a small stash of remedies to see me through!

On the workforce

Back to work today, and things are moving at a rapid pace. It strikes me that in my particular workplace there almost is a frantic-ness associated with “staffing up”. We’ve heard for years how the baby boomers are hogging the “big” jobs and it’s time to make way for the new generation. While now that appears to be happening and it’s a matter of be careful what you wish for.

Years ago, 10 maybe 15 years past, where I work there were jobs that one would aspire to. You’d set your sights on a particular job and build your skill set in all the foundational areas, all to set you up for eventually having the competencies of handling and applying for one of those “big” jobs. You knew your competition, they knew you, you pushed and pushed to be that much better, a better writer, a stronger researcher; a friendly rivalry, and at the end of the day a healthy one.

I’m just not seeing that now. We have people landing those “big” jobs that have little to no corporate track record, no corporate awareness and more alarmingly, with no interpersonal skills. Freshly churned out from whatever academic institution they attended, they arrive full of themselves, determined to change a corporate culture they haven’t even bothered to learn. They want no help, because, in their worldview, the old guard is the source of any and all problems. They push forward and when something derails it isn’t their fault – because they are new; because they didn’t know there were extenuating circumstances, or associated risk, someone should have told them. Not their fault.

Whose fault is it? What’s the obligation of the employee and the employer here? I say if you wanted the big job, then as the employee be prepared to work hard to learn it. As the employer, make sure your new hires understand they don’t operate in a vacuum, they are part of a team with the goal of making the organization look good and function well, not the individual.

I am an observer in this game. My work seldom intersects with these newbies, and so I have the ability to watch and wonder at what is happening. And worry about where we are going. I can retire in as few as three years, and some days when I see the lunacy happening around me, I think three years is an eternity. Then there is the other part of me that says I’d be crazy to consider retiring when there is so much free entertainment around me. Drama, comedy and mystery; I just hope that I don’t find myself adding tragedy to the list.

Back to work

I went for a visit with the doctor today, to see if I could return to work tomorrow.  After a good listen to my lungs, she stated the obvious, I still have pneumonia in the right lung and she can hear the wheezing.  Her thoughts about the workplace were fairly rigid.  I can return IF I have an office and can close the door AND if I agree to only do telephone meetings and no face to faces.  Have other people run errands for me, no gadding about in any of the shared spaces, just the washroom and my office.  If I find I am too tired then no going in the next day.  Honour system here, after all, it’s my health not hers we are talking about.  Oh, the doctor can be stern when she has too.

So I tell my daughter the doctor’s terms – and she laughs and laughs.  Ya right mom, that’ll happen.  You have been away for a week, a week – do you know how much stuff has gone done?  It will take you a day to get caught up, and people are not going to want to talk on the telephone!  She’s right, a ton of stuff has occurred, staff movement, new work underway – it’s part of the reason I want to get back!  Why does stuff always have to happen when I am off?  It’s one of life’s sure mysteries.

This last week was a tough one, I must have read 10 paperbacks – a couple of which I had hanging around for a while.  Read some new authors as well –  two of note:  Kate Lord Brown, who wrote The Perfume Garden; and Jo Nesbo, who wrote The Bat.  I was particularly pleased with The Perfume Garden, not my usual genre, so I had expected to struggle and didn’t at all.  Loved that book.  The Bat was more my type and style of book, crime/thriller, and I found it full of twists and pits I didn’t see coming, so a good read.  Add in the usual John Sanford, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Robert Tanenbaum and I was pretty much entertained.  It is always nice to find a new author to add into the mix.

So tomorrow, back to the grind.  I have to find a way to stay upright and not nap for at least nine hours. This should be fun.