Time Out

Do we ever get the Work/Life balance right?

We have all said, “I spend too much time at work” and yet we feel obliged to carry on doing the same each day, each week, each month and that follows into years and we just let our lives pass us by. I have to admit throughout my career I have let that happen, but in the last few years I have completely changed my outlook. I know Kirsty, my daughter has noticed and Jason and Eira my best friends in UK they have noticed, but most of all,  I think the Grandchildren have noticed :-) We spend much more time together, and its is fun, makes me feel more in touch with their worlds and we plan more things together. We, that’s me and the family have over the last 2 years become Sunday Football parents to Mason who plays for Priory Pumas Football team. Cheering on Mason and the team from the sidelines every week. Mia and Logan are also there so it is a great family outing each Sunday morning. A real closeness exists and we all embrace it. Am looking forward to Mia joining a “team” so we can all get involved and behind her too, Logan who is nearly 5 will I am sure follow in Masons footsteps as he is already showing signs of wanting to kick the ball around :-)

Mason and Mia have their “Special Grandad Days” where they each get to choose where they would like to go for the day, they can choose together and all go together or it can be just the two of us. Logan at the moment does the family days where we all go somewhere. He loves the security of the family and not yet ready to venture too far away, bless him. Mia’s last “Grandad Day Out” was to Paignton Zoo, and we had a fabulous day the two of us. When we came to the end of the day we stopped in the Zoo Store and instead of asking for something for herself she asked if se could buy something for Mum Dad Mason and Logan………..and Coco, their Beagle,  such a beautiful kind natured young lady.

Mason’s last Grandad Day Out was to Old Trafford to see his beloved Manchester United play. It was his first visit to Old Trafford and he had a fabulous day. Cost Grandad in the Superstore but that is what we do, Grandparents are allowed. A few weeks ago we had a joint day out and Logan came too, to Airhop (see earlier blog) A great feeling for a grandparent, getting really involved with the children, it lasts into the deepest memories. Those of us that know and those of you who have it to come? It is an indescribable feeling, and as Grandparents we can get away with anything :-) :-) :-)

So yesterday, well, actually in the early hours of this morning, Kirsty and Rob flew out to Majorca for a 5 day break, I was actually booked to go tomorrow, Saturday for a week to Majorca too, which is why I only have the children for 2 days, and Pete and Caroline, (Rob’s) Grandparents are taking over this evening, then Dawn, Kirsty’s Mum, Grandparent is taking over Sunday afternoon until Tuesday early morning. So it really is a family affair this weekend.

Photo: Mum and Dad have flown off to Majorca and it is the start of  Grandparenting weekend, having seen them off to the airport at 3am, I went back to bed for a couple hours. Breakfast and get set for school, this was our pre-breakfast shot!!

Photo: Mum and Dad over the channel heading to Palma and a great 5 day break.

As my time with the children draws to a close, and feeling elated I will be heading back home, and a relaxing evening, (writing this blog) and an early night, reflecting on my time with the grandchildren, and maybe planning a few surprises for them.

So the Work/Life balance? I m not sure that the philosophy in this country is as balanced as lets say Australia. The way they work, and it is as much from an employers basis as well as the employee,  that Monday to Friday are the work days, hard graft and get a full weeks work done, and then days off are family time, it works!! Of course there are industries that work weekends but their policy is still 2 days off, and not a case of, “Day Off? can you work?” the employer in the most part have enough employees and run their companies efficiently that employees can have their time off, family time, party time, beach time. Which promotes healthy work/family time ratio, happy staff, happy employers, productivity increases, harmony and working environment improves…………….. is it really “rocket science”? I think not, work is a two way thing, the days of standing over waving a stick should be a thing of the past. Something we get so wrong in this country?

Life is too short to spend it all working, working, working. But of course there is a balance to be found. Financial and emotional

Many people, in fact the majority, in the days passed used to work, work, work and then when they got to 60 or so, when retirement came because they couldn’t physically work at the same pace anymore, they would pass away and all the money they had worked for and saved would be of no benefit to them, so in fact their retirement fund invariably got passed down, which was good for the beneficiaries, but not much enjoyment for the deceased. I think the days of the majority of siblings being left vast amounts of money are dwindling. People are living much longer, instead of maybe getting to early 60’s the life expectancy is, I believe, well into late 80’s and those people have to sustain their own standard of living. Therefore the siblings don’t get that “leg up” particularly on the property ladder and so that generation will struggle to become house owners, this puts massive pressure on private housing and the supply is becoming less and less as the “social housing” stock has almost come to a standstill. Figures suggest that there are one million properties laying un inhabited in this country. Owners not able to or unwilling to keep up the repairs, and therefore these properties fall into dereliction, and before long it becomes unviable to even attempt renovation. A downward spiral that cant be recovered from. You may ask what ever happened to compulsory purchase of a property that needed repair…… You may well ask, I have no idea, but one million properties would certainly ease things a little.

Working all your life and then we all pass away in a long line that will never end until the last one turns the light out? …………………

I am grateful to Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford’

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me the old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death except a negligible accident. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well.

There is another life after this one. Our bodies travel through this life and then move onto the next life? The way I prefer to look at it is, Our souls travel through this life wrapped in our body, we lose our body and our souls keep travelling into the light and the Kingdom of Heaven. We will see our loved ones who travelled on before us and have been waiting for us, we in turn will wait for our loved ones that we leave behind. If you have seen the film “The Notebook” you will understand the incredible, emotional and very poignant moment when the husband who had been caring for his dementure ravaged wife, who had no idea who he was, laid down with her in the care home, and they both began the next part of their journey, together. It was a very beautifully written screenplay and compassionately bought to life on the screen.

So? are we happy with our lives, I guess we all want to have the feeling that we have no regrets in our lives, “I wish I had done that differently” or “That was a decision I regret” How many times have we said “If I had my time again I would have done that differently” The fact is we don’t get to go back and change things, whatever we have done, or not done, it forms part of our individual life history. And those are the things we will be judged on.

“Sometimes you are unsatisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life…. A child on  farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of flying. But, a pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse and dreams of returning home. That’s life! Enjoy yours… If wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be dancing in the streets. But, only poor kids do that! If power ensures security, then officials should walk unguarded. But, those who live simply, sleep soundly. If beauty and fame bring ideal relationships, then celebrities should have the best marriages…………….. ” Live simply, walk humbly…………………… and Love. There are no guarantees, what you live is how you turn out. Everything in life has a consequence:

The prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32) asked for and squandered his inheritance, bringing grief to his family, and other consequences, facing poverty, pangs of hunger, feelings of unworthiness. Although the father joyfully welcomed his son back into the family, the results of his impatience were not erased. He would never regain the wealth he had wasted; he lost his brother’s respect and friendship. When you forge ahead of God, you often move away from voices of wisdom and logic. Your impatience keeps you outside God’s will and out of fellowship with him.

We have become so accustomed to instant self gratification that we’ve lost our appreciation for the fruit of patience. Feeding into our selfishness, we live in an “instant society” that wants everything NOW. We want high-speed internet, quick replies to our questions, and quick resolution to our problems. Impatience is simply a reflection of our own self-centeredness in response to life’s disappointments and is a mark of immaturity.

As I sit here writing, the weather outside is shocking, rain, wind and dark clouds saturating the sky, the FA Cup final on the television, My daughter and husband are basking in warm sunshine, and enjoying cloudless skies. Majorca is such a beautiful Island. So much more than a “Beach Holiday”

Explore The 17 most beautiful places in the Balearics I was due to fly out for a week today, but had to cancel. But on a bright note, Taiwan and Hong Kong in 5 weeks and a chance to get up into the mountains, spend time with friends.

“Be thankful for different life phases……Work, semi-retirement or fully retired. Always find one thing you enjoy the most to pursue and be at peace  and be in joy in whatever situation you find yourself in”

I can feel a cycle trip coming on tomorrow ……………………………….