tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

24Jun/150

The Lure of the Simple Life

I’m writing this from a small patio of a wine and coffee shop in Jordan Village, near Niagara Falls, ON (and posting it much later). My wife is asleep in the hotel room next door (because I woke her early to get breakfast) and I’m seriously debating if I need something alcoholic.
 
I think I do. Be right back.
 
Okay, alcohol acquired. A nice chardonnay. 
 
I’ve thought a lot lately about achievement. If I took the wrong road in life, if I should’ve worked on my math, gone in to business school, been some kind of banker or something. I’d love to tell you I’ve followed my passion, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t passionate about HR, but it’s been so difficult to find a job, that I feel like I’m years behind many of my university and high school friends, in terms of where I’d like to be in my career. Some of that is my own fault, for being comfortable where I was and not, perhaps, applying more far and wide and working harder at finding a new job, but as I sit here, looking out at what I think is a Ferrari outside a nearby restaurant, I wonder a bit if I shouldn’t have made different choices. If I shouldn’t have pushed myself more. If I will ever get to the point of comfort with my job, my finances.
 
But at the same time I wonder if I really want that. Ferraris are a lot of work. They involve a lot of time spent at the office, a lot of time spent in seminars and professional development, and a lot of money spent developing yourself. Maybe I’m buying into a narrative that folks with a lot of money work hard for it, I’m not sure. Is the Investment Banker’s job harder than mine, or does it just require more training up front? Assuming the former, is it worth the long hours? The pressure? 
 
I’ve often yearned for the idea of working fewer hours. Working a 4 day week, for example, and wondered if I’d trade a fifth of my pay for that now. It’s not even something I could consider, financially, right now, but it’s a thought I’ve had.
 
We’ve spent the last couple days around Niagara, driving by farms and vineyards, and through small towns and shops. We point out houses we like, and wonder at the idea of eventually moving out here, growing grapes, making wine, and running an animal rescue. We started plotting out names for that eventual property and winery today.
 
It looks like a simple life, but it is deceptive. One of our favourite stories if of the winemaker who had to miss the birth of one of his children, since it was the only day he could press the Syrah. It seems simple and easy here, but I’m sure it’s not. It’s hard work, often physical, always emotional. I’m sure these little shops here don’t make much, and I’m sure a lot of these wineries operate on thin margins, or require huge up front investments, or extensive background knowledge. 
 
But the idea of something different, something simpler, speaks to me when I’m down here. I yearn to get away from the rush of downtown, from the pressure of my job. But I wonder what I’d sacrifice for that. WoW? Wine? Times like this, a Saturday where I can sit on a patio with a glass of wine and write? I want it all somehow, the simple life where I can drive the Ferrari.  I don’t know if it’s doable without some advance lottery numbers or severe mucking with the space time continuum. And I still can’t decide which way I’d rather lean, to have a more steady, restful life with fewer amenities, or a busier one with more, filled with rich food, good wine and fast cars.
 
Likely, like most people, I’ll end up charting a middle path, as I try to do with most of life. But places like Niagara, like Jordan Village, always leave me wondering about the simpler path, about something quieter. For now, I’m going to enjoy the quiet, close my laptop, and sip this very fine Chardonnay. 
 
And ogle the Ferrari a bit. I mean, I’m only human. 
30Aug/140

The New Normal

A couple months ago I got a notification of a new WordPress comment. It was Rachel, saying in all caps that she expected another update soon. This isn't the wedding blog post, though. That's a larger thing that I'm still processing and savouring. I know I need to write it down, because I want to look back at it in a couple dozen years and smile.

No, this is a smaller, simpler post, as I sit here. My wife is beside me, and we're watching a live gymnastics competition in a stadium in Mississauga. Nothing about that sentence would make much sense to me of five years ago. It would all seem weird and kind of impossible, most especially the being married part. I think some part of me never expected to find the right person, find the person who could love me. And yet like most things in life, it was a single moment for me that crystallized that, not only was that not so impossible, that wonderful woman was right in front of me.

But it's been funny, adapting to this new normal of being married. Of coming home to someone, of having someone else to share the load. I am so grateful for her, but most especially for what she brings out in me. Anna's brought a whole new world to my life, filled with sports, golf, new foods, wine, cheese, Disney and puppies. She's brought me a new sense of adventure I didn't know I was missing, and a new dedication to myself. Suddenly I'm more worried about my health, because, well, it would kinda suck for her if I keeled over.

I find I believe in myself more, too. I'm learning to trust myself more, and in some ways, that's almost harder than loving myself. But they're connected, and I'd say I'm making progress on both sides (though trust is a bit more quantifiable from day to day, I'd say).

It's a new normal, absolutely, and there are adjustments, as with any big change. But I'm so grateful for it, for her, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Who knew I could enjoy being at a women's gymnastics event on a long weekend?

19Apr/121

Wine and Love: 2

So today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week!

Wine

  • Seems to be a lot of folks losing loved ones these days. Pets, parents, grandparents, a lot of folks I know have lost someone in the last few days. I try my best, to help and be there for folks, but everyone handles it in their own way, and there isn't really much you can say. Though if anyone has any tips on this, I'd love to hear them.
  • Work continues to be very busy. Nowhere near some other folks, of course, but busy all the same. I was asked to do some extra work, that I was paid for, but it meant a late and stressful night, and it's throwing me off a bit. Nothing terrible, of course, but it's less than great.
  • Weight. Things are on the upswing again. I try to keep an eye, but like many things, this could be helped by moving out and not having pie, cake and ice cream around at all times. Sadly, this is not something I have a say in currently. I do need to learn to say no to these things too. But when you're a bit stressed, it can be tough.

Love

  • I have an interview on Monday! I'm excited about this. I love my current work place, but I'd welcome the chance to try something new. This job would be closer to where I live (even closer if I move to the area I'm hoping to) and would be a great step up for me. Challenging, but worthwhile. I'm also just really glad to have the opportunity to interview and see their whole process, so I think this will be good.
  • I'm doing better at reading blogs, keeping up on twitter and reading the papers every day. It's very easy for me to get caught up in my own stuff and miss a lot of what's going on, both around the world and with my friends, so I'm glad I've been able to do that. Next up; keeping up on YouTube!
  • More wine! I've been drinking a bit more lately. Just a bit here and there, which may not be the most healthy, but it's nice. Latest favourite has been the GFM Approved Blanc de Blanc. Very nice, and relatively local!

What are you loving, and not loving this week?