I think we all crave a simple life, one less stressful and complicated, which for the most part would be the ideal situation. But like most things in life there are many ebbs and flows and so not always simple.
Often our lives are more complicated than normal due to situations outside our control. However, what I find interesting is our ability to cope, and to readjust the rhythm of our lives to accommodate these changes.
Sometimes, we resist which only adds greater stress, both for us and all those around us. It took me quite some time to understand that it’s better to surrender, even though it’s stressful at the time.
Then determine the best way to adapt, but to always move forward.
Perhaps that’s just maturity, because what I’ve found is that the longer I resisted the more I was stressed…
Learning to understand myself and be able to see and interpret situations didn’t always come easy for me. Likely due to my impatient nature. 😜
The greatest period of adaptation for me personally was when Zach and Sam were born. ❤️
I know I’m not alone in this…
Let’s face it, up until the birth of your first child we are relatively footloose and carefree. However, the realisation that there was no user manual with this wriggly little pink bundle of joy was mind boggling and scary all at the same time.
As you can imagine there was a distinct settling in period, but honestly one I loved. Ahhh, the smell of a newborn baby is heaven! However, the poop explosions…. well, not so much!
The first big hurdle came when my ex had to go back to work after the fifth month. Unfortunately, so was posted to Chicago for the next year so I became Mr Mom.
Fortunately, we had a nanny (Leah – the best ever by the way) and so she would come at 7:00 am and care for Zach during the day, then I’d be home at 5:00 pm to take over.
We soon got into a solid routine, and I absolutely loved the undivided one on one time with him. I was lucky as he took his first steps and said his first words with me…
We even forged a “boys night out” routine. He and I would go to a local burger joint (Lick’s at Yonge and Eglinton) every Wednesday night and I’d order him a hot dog and cut it into tiny pieces so he could eat, along with munching on a fry or two.
When Sam came along our Wednesdays morphed into the “three amigos” night out. ❤️ We continued the routine until they were 7 and 5 respectively.
At this point in my life I changed career and moved to a global management consulting firm.
My first posting was Dallas, Texas where I worked for a year. After that it was Washington DC for a year, before being posted to Vancouver for 3.5 years. As with all my management consulting postings I’d fly first thing Monday morning early, then fly home late Thursday night.
However, once dad got sick I was in Australia I was able to take a role that allowed me to work remotely from anywhere in the world. So then my scheduled changed so I could work from Australia 3 weeks per month while I helped care for him, and then one week back in Toronto.
Gruelling to say the least…
And it was during this period that I became the absent parent. I found myself always on a plane (1.5 million air miles worth) and never home spending time with my family. Life was complicated and stressful for us all…
After my dad passed away, and my marriage dissolved (less than a year apart) I knew that I had to simplify my life and become the parent that I knew I could be.
The one that was engaged and present.
Having the kid’s half time meant that I wasn’t able to travel, which effectively put an end to my management consulting career as they had no use for me locally. It had been a great experience, but my kids were my first priority so it became an easy decision to leave.
This change in circumstance simplified my life considerably… 🙌🏼
By now Zach was 13 and entering his teen years, and Sam an active 11-year-old pre-teen.
After our seperation my ex and I forged an incredibly supportive and strong co-parenting approach with the kids while remaining friends. The best sign was that after the initial adjustment period they both continued to thrive.
The lesson I learned from this was that we can uncomplicate our lives, but we have to have the courage and willingness to step up and make the changes required.
Ultimately, we control our lives, not the circumstances and situations that we find ourselves in. Although it’s sometimes difficult “to see the forest for the trees”. 🙌🏼❤️
It often takes someone outside looking in to help us see the options we have available, whether it be your spouse, friend, mentor, or counsellor.
The reality is that sometimes we’re too close and emotionally invested to have a clear view.
I would always recommend that you use an impartial friend or confidant to give you guidance and support when you’re feeling stuck.
There are always options…some may feel unpalatable initially, and others impossibly hard…but we all have choices.
Over the years I’ve taken these lessons and applied them more broadly to my life, trying to untangle and declutter the complexity of my life and simplify where possible. ❤️
Take a moment to think about you might also simplify, or perhaps celebrate how you’ve simplified and adapted your life over the years…
Until next week
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