What would happen if you pressed ‘Pause’?

Paradise

Have you ever contemplated taking time out from general daily life and putting that time into some extended time away with your family unit?  

If the time away won’t create long-term financial stress and in terms of your work is somehow doable, then rather than going over and over it in your mind, just stop.

If the window is even slightly ajar, then please do what you can to make it happen.  

Press Pause on what can be the daily grind.

What would I know?

Well, we were fortunate enough to have the stars align last year, taking advantage of a specific period of time and headed away for an early OE (Overseas Experience, if you’re not from New Zealand) for the kids, whilst they’re still kids.  

The end result: time out for a really good number of weeks, experiencing what some term a ‘mini-retirement’.

It certainly felt like what I suspect ‘retirement’ feels like and for the most part, personally it was a quite surreal experience.    

The simple fact is that you’re older now than when you started reading this.  Time as we all know is ticking.  We might not be able to slow it down but we can create great memories to help make the most of the time that we have.

For us, some friends who’d experienced a big trip, were a key catalyst for us saying Yes.  I’m hoping that with the A-Z below, that I can help move you from thinking about something like this to making some time out happen also, if it’s at all possible.  

Action
Excuses are easy to make aren’t they?  How many great things have happened in our lives from doing nothing & not acting on our dreams?  Not too many I suspect.

Busy Lives
It’s everyone’s reality these days it seems isn’t it?  We’re all busy living and doing our best for our families. What would happen if you pressed Pause?  Would home still be there as it is today?  Would life continue on as per normal once you’re back?  Do you want for life to just continue as per normal when you get back or do you need a break to reassess where your current chapter in life is going?  

Calm
Such a great word!  Imagine being with your family, somewhere other than your home country environment, having no one to really answer to, no office emails and the decision-making ability to plan & fill every day with what you all decide is going to get you guys the most from that day.

Experiences
I’ve increasingly come to this way of thinking and the time out convinced me.  When faced with Opportunity A – Buying more stuff that based on history, ultimately lies around and then potentially becomes obsolete or Opportunity B – Having an experience, creating happy memories that last forever. It’s B for me!

Family
With the juggle of life, when do you really get extended quality time with the ones that you care about the most?  Now that we’ve had this time out, I truly believe that it’s one of the best things to bring you all together.

Gratitude
From the families that I’ve spoken with, especially those that took their now adult children overseas when they were much younger, it seems that a gratitude is born and maintained, from seeing other parts of the world and having that family time. Evidently decades later, the children still bring up their memories of the trip, when they all get together. 

Health & Wellbeing
Body, Mind & Soul via the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of somewhere different.

Interesting
Who doesn’t like to have interesting conversation starters and stories to tell?  Each day you’re guaranteed to add to your library.

Joy
It’s not a word that we tend to use often but watching your children mature before your eyes and enthusiastically saying Yes to doing new things, seeing new things, tasting new things, speaking a different language and watching a different world go by, creates Joy.

Kick Groundhog Day into touch
One way to create an end to any sense of life monotony, is the anticipation of something new that can create a happy hiccup in life.  Change it up.  Book it in. Get away.

Laughter
As we age and life gets busier with the juggle, it’s seem to be the norm that we sometimes reflect on the fact that we should have more fun!  All I can say is that despite the stressful moments driving, negotiating toll booths, making train connections, sorting out accommodation bookings, trying to speak the language, whatever – we had so many classic times and laughs. Even if they were mostly at my expense, it was serious good times!

Moments
You never get them back, so make them count.

No regrets
There will always be apprehension before taking off for an extended period of time.  All I can say is that if I was sitting here now having not gone, I’d be regretting that.  No question.

Our place in the world
Travel seems to open up your eyes in all sorts of ways, without having to immerse yourself fully and extract yourself long term from your daily life. It really is the best of both worlds.

Perspective
Maybe you just need some time out? Getting away will certainly deliver that.  Whether it’s people, places, events, even things that don’t quite go to plan during the trip.  It’s all learning and it all helps create a sense of where you’re at personally, where you’re heading and where you’d like to be for both yourself and the family.

Questions
Your kids will no doubt ask plenty of these during the journey.  Good ones too! Life questions.   In retrospect, it was so enjoyable to have these conversations without a sense of rushing and getting frustrated that you’re late for this or that.  The only job at hand when you’re away really, is making the most of the time together. 

Reconnect
With your family. With your other half.  With yourself.  Remember the old adage that on your deathbed, you will never wish that you’d worked longer hours.

School (& maybe Sacrifices)
Your kids will be exposed to all sorts of things that could never be learned in a classroom.  At the same time it is a sacrifice in some ways as they will miss out on certain events that they might have wanted to take part in.  Likewise, it’s a huge financial sacrifice for anyone and this shouldn’t be underestimated, however hopefully there is a way.

Time
You can’t get it back. The kids won’t be kids for long.  Simple.

Unique
It’s your life, your family, your time on the planet.  No one can have exactly the same moments and memories as the ones that you create.  Put the life back into life.

Versatile
It’s a great opportunity to try new things, step out of the comfort zone, say Yes and immerse yourself in something different.  After all it’s only temporary and you can really just be you without fear of peer pressure, judgement, fear of failure etc that you might have when at home in daily life.

Work
Instead of thinking about your office work whilst away, you get to think about what you’d like your work to be and mean.  The ability to think and plan your next chapter without the everyday noise and stress, is gold.  Who knows what you might discover. It might be more of the same but it also might not be.

X marks the spot
Grab a world map, imagine it, discuss it, plot it, budget for it, book it.

You
You admire.  You watch.  You think. You wonder.  You observe.  You consider. You breath.  You taste. You savour.  You discover.  You rediscover.  You reflect. You recharge. You learn about you. You are present for your family.

Zest for Life
If you’ve lost it, then this could be the ticket to reclaiming it.

Thanks for reading through until the end.  And Yes, I left out the ‘D’.

Do it!
Honestly, just Do it.  Picture yourself there, ask yourself what would happen if you pressed Pause and then make it happen.

Thanks.

Richard Poole

Disclaimer: ultimately it’s your decision and your life. I’m just an advocate for creating memories if they’re somehow affordable and you can all make it work vs buying more stuff that sits around in the garage.  

14 things that I learned in 33 hours hanging out with two Dads, two Sons, a Grandfather & a Grandson

“Why don’t you go away with the boys?”

Now I can’t say that I listen 100% of the time in our household, however this really did make me sit up.

My wife was right.  During the next week, I had some time available and our son was on school holidays.  Plus to be fair (and this was my wife’s underlying reason), I had been feeling pretty stressed in general.

So I didn’t hesitate to call my Dad and mention that my wife had suggested that the three of us head away for the night, to our favourite family hideaway a couple of hours away from the City.  The 3 generations! He was keen!

This decision and resulting 33-hour adventure, really reinforced a number of things for me and got me recognising what’s important again, therefore I was keen to share, in case it struck a chord with anyone else.

Here’s what I jotted down when I got back.

1) Do what you say you’ll do
We made a plan that in one week, we would head away for the night together.  And so we did.  If we hadn’t, we would have disappointed each other and really missed out.  Stick it in your diary.

2) Create memories
If we hadn’t gone, then we would have missed out on creating memories for us all.  I would have been sitting here now and the days would be morphing into each other, potentially without any highlights. Ie the daily grind.

In this case, it really was special, as although yes it was 3 of us, we were actually Two Sons, Two Dads, a Grandfather & a Grandchild.  I thought that was pretty cool.

3) Be Punctual
Dad is always, always punctual.  In fact, he’s usually early. He’s said 8.30am pick up and at that precise moment, the doorbell went.

It reminded me that this stuff really does matter and reliability is key.  It made me realise that I can do better.

4) Reminisce – remember the past & keep the good stuff alive
It’s what we do isn’t it, when we get together with family and with good mates.  It’s so great.  Have memories and talk about family.  Talk about history.  They say that you die twice…once when you stop breathing and then once again, in finality, when your name is uttered for the last time.  It reminded me to try and keep history alive.

5) Ask more Questions
Sure, it’s your Dad and you probably think you’ve heard it all before, however I found myself asking new questions and digging deeper, on our road trip.  As a result, I found out some amazing information about Dad’s 45 years in the same job.

It reminded me that as a kid, we are just so blissfully unaware of the trials and tribulations that go on around us.  As long as we have a meal, some clothes, a roof over our heads and some fun, then we don’t ask any questions.  Reality is so different as a parent isn’t it?  It made me cherish that and look to do an even better job around our kids to try and not make my problems, their problems.

6) Appreciate our Elders
Much like the above, but I find that I learn so, so much by taking the time to listen and be grateful, even if it’s a brief chance to speak and learn more.  It made me think about us having one mouth but two ears.

7) Appreciate our Youngsters
This is just as important also. Give them the time they desire. Put down the phone and listen. They have some classic advice.

When you’re sitting talking about life and you look over and realise that your 9 year old son, whilst only 9 has so much to contribute to a supposed ‘grown up’ conversation, is just gold.

It reminded me of a favourite moment with our son, when he & I were away earlier this year and we happened to be on the same flight as one of the best tennis players in the world, who we’d just watched at the local tournament.  We got off the plane and there he was, so I went up to him and asked if my son could get a photo with him.  He kindly obliged.  As we walked off, I said, “See man, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”.  To which he replied, “Well, I didn’t ask and I still got”. Fair enough.

8) Look at the stars and realise the significance.  Reflect.
Man oh man. We really are a tiny part of the landscape aren’t we?

We sat there in a spa under the stars and talked about life.  We saw satellites darting overhead and more stars than I can imagine.  We talked about what part we each play in the world. Even recognised our brief place in time. In an odd way, in the following silence, we contemplated that it’s important to make the most of every day, even if we can’t make the most of every minute, all the time.

9) Make serendipity happen
If you don’t put yourself out there and say Yes to things, coincidentally things that you’d like to happen, sometimes just don’t seem to happen.

We wandered to the local shops for something to eat and as it happened a mate of my Dad’s that I hugely admire and has at times been a mentor, was there.  Of all the people on a very quiet Friday morning.  Perfect timing and in a period of life where I have a few decisions to make, it was meant to be.  Always encouraging, this great guy left me feeling pretty positive about life.

10) Don’t be afraid to speak and don’t let the moment slip by – seize the day, carpe diem
Tell your loved ones and your friends how much they mean to you.  Don’t hesitate.  I looked at Dad and told him how much he meant to me.  We all have ‘stuff’ that we have to cope with as we grow up and live. Everyone has a story and when we know that, we see the mountains that every person conquers.  I think it’s important to recognise that in others, tell them how much their success means to me personally and tell them how proud they must be of themselves.

11) Take your shoes off and feel the grass and sand beneath
A friend brought it to my attention that especially in winter we never actually ‘feel’ the earth with the soles of our feet and our toes. We’re constantly in some sort of footwear given the temperature, conditions and our work environments.

As soon as I got to our hideaway, I took off my shoes and socks and went for a walk on the grass, to the beach and just into the water.  Wow! You never forget those sensations, but you certainly need reminding and I am now a convert…get that footwear off and Hang 10 whenever you can.

It’s called Grounding.  And it works I reckon.  You feel like you do literally get rid of some negative energy that might build up from wearing anything on your feet apart from your skin.

12) Laugh
In only a way that close family or friends can. Talk about stupid things.  Just thinking about it now makes me laugh.  It’s always great to share those family innuendos, stupid voices, classic moments, favourite trips etc.  They just never get old!

13) Cherish
I’m really trying to make time with family count. You never get that moment back do you. That’s a fact although we say that in passing all the time.  If you can make moments happen, multi-generational catch ups are absolute Gold. Nothing less.

14) Share
Your time.  Your stories. Your pain.  Your dreams.  Your concerns.  Your honesty. Your vulnerability.  We’re all the same at the end of the day.  We all need community and we all need to share, in order to work out our path.

Thanks and good luck out there.   Also, huge thanks to my wife for creating the much needed spark.

Richard Poole