On a Christmas Day like today, watching my kids enjoying opening presents from Santa in the living room floor, it made me think about the life my wife and I live. As everyone that has kids understands, life can be a complete mess of toys, clothing items, shoes, backpacks, etc. So today, more importantly than any other day in the year, I reflect on what is really important.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius
The number one thing my wife and I constantly remind ourselves is about how lucky we are to be healthy, and to live in such a healthy place like Vancouver. We truly couldn’t wish for more. Now, as professionals, during our 20s and some of our 30s, we dedicated a large portion of our lives to climb the corporate ladder like to many other professionals do – isn’t it what you’re supposed to do once you graduate? At the time, I was rewarded with shiny and posh professional titles, large paychecks and other perks. But in some cases, after a few years, something didn’t really worked out. So I quit. In those instances, people around me would ask me why did I quit such incredible job, one that many other people would die for. The answer has always been ‘because it doesn’t make me happy’.
Our lives have been filled with challenges, and long ago we, as a couple, decided to take the high road and be deliberate about our path in life. We would not go the ‘easy’ way, and let our environment take us where it wanted. Instead, we proactively took hard decisions about how to live, where to live, and what to do with our time, both personal and professional. We realized that balance was critical if we wanted to have a meaningful live. In some cases, that meant quitting jobs that others might stick to them, some others it meant moving across the world to a place we love. Sometimes, it meant to search for some time until we actually found what we truly wanted.
Balance is quite an interesting word, one that has an enormous subjective aspect to it. To me, is about time, and freedom. Having the necessary time to dedicate to my family, friends and myself (and here I include time working, which fulfills a personal aim). Time to think, to do the things we love, and even time to do nothing! Time to take care of ourselves physically and mentally, and time to take care of others. It is also about freedom, to think and do, whatever works for me and my family. To avoid being trapped so you’re forced into spending time doing what you don’t like, or being where you don’t belong.
Time and freedom have become pivotal aspects in my life, and allowed me to follow my own path. And that’s what’s about being deliberate, it is knowing where you want to go, and taking the necessary steps to get there by avoiding the trap of being dragged down the current by the force of the river. Like the sailor that sails towards a destination in the horizon, he will need to work around with the winds to get him there. Won’t be easy, but it’s worth the effort!
In this special Holiday season, I wish for you the same than for me, the luck to find your destination, the courage to be deliberate about your choices to get you there, and the best company on your journey. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Cover Photo: Tim Gouw - www.unsplash.com