Time certainly does fly and lookie here, it’s 2013 already. Well just. Where did the last 5 months go? For those of you that know me, you will be aware that I have been “off the grid” somewhat during that period – the tumbleweed surrounding this blog and my twitter feed being solid testament to that. Part of the reason for my radio silence is professional – this year saw me settle into my (awesome) new role with the (awesome) crew at The Chemistry Group. Did I mention it was awesome?! 😉
The other significant contributor to my absence has been personal – 2012 sent challenges in this department that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy so it has been a mix of incredible highs and deep deep lows, which, at the time, I thought I was navigating alone. But in the run up to Christmas I took a peep back into my online life – I dipped tentatively back into twitter, found a purpose for facebook and even read a few (just three in all) blog posts. I had expected to see a lot of work related posts but instead I saw personal reflection, with many of those that I have come to know well sharing similar stories of how 2012 had challenged them personally too.
Of these few posts, one really hit home, a post entitled Summing Up by Neil Morrison. I won’t quote chapter and verse here, you should read it yourself. Suffice to say that much of what Neil writes in this post resonated with me. One particular observation struck a chord:
I’m indebted and apologetic to my family, the people I hold most closest and whose love I have abused. The times when I haven’t been present, the moments that I will never get to live again, the kisses that I never offered and the hugs that I didn’t feel I deserved.
When you are on the career treadmill it is so easy to fall into this trap. It’s not as though we can’t see it happening; we know we do it. But you slip into auto pilot, promising yourself that you will make it up. That next time you will do that thing, be there when you couldn’t or maybe just simply stop and take notice. But you don’t. The spirit is willing but somehow the flesh is weak. I can’t remember who said it and I dont have the energy to research it right now (forgive me, it’s late) but whoever it was said that perhaps one of the most important things you can do as an individual is to be ‘present’ in the company of family and friends – your loved ones. ‘Present’ meaning fully engaged mentally and emotionally and not distracted by work, email, smartphones, tweets or checkins.
This was my biggest challenge in 2012 and as a result it is now at the top of my New Years resolutions list – and I would encourage you to put it at the top of yours too. No, dont just nod and say “yes” or “so true”. Do it. Affirmative action. Believe me, if you don’t, you will regret it. It may not seem that important now, but by failing to engage, by allowing this presence to elude you, you risk losing so much more than those moments alone.
So go on, be present. Don’t say “in a minute” or “I just need to finish this email” when a loved one vies for your attention. Put the laptop or blackberry to one side and take the moment. Trust me. Your work and career will not suffer as you imagine it might.
Be present. Offer that kiss…
Happy New Year folks. I’m looking forward to being present and engaged in 2013. I hope you can be too.