Posted by: seehowfarwevecome | March 25, 2017

Own Every Second

Written 29th September 2016

It’s the last day of September and Summer has disappeared. A few days of sunshine in Chicago have been replaced by rain and New York’s forecast is looking distinctively grey. My flight to New York this time is short-haul, and after an hour and 45 minutes delay I am bound for my second home, heading East for Newark and we are just passing over Detroit.

The last few days have whizzed by in a blur, and much like last time, I didn’t really get to explore the city. My arrival into Chicago last Sunday kicked off with a baseball game with the Cubs. I was lucky enough to be treated to drinks and food in the VIP area, which helped enormously in keeping my jet lag at bay as the game got underway. I reminisced on my previous baseball experiences seeing the dodgers play in Los Angeles a few years back.


By the time Monday rolled around and jet lag woke me with a start, a series of meetings, videos and welcome key note speeches kicked off the conference and my week. I reconnected with partners from the US who have been on my work journey with me the past two and a half years or so.   Dinner was rounded off with a meal in a charcuterie in the Loop of Chicago’s downtown.

Tuesday saw the event really kick off, and by lunchtime I had delivered my Q&A session, as part of a panel of ‘experts’ on leveraging value from a global HR system rollout. Marta arrived shortly afterwards and we got caught up on work and life in no time, London and New York catching up in Chicago. We skipped a couple of evening invites to head for some local Mexican food, feasting on guacamole and shrimp before hitting a supplier party in the evening.


At the Cubs game

The party, held at the Underground nightclub in Chicago, was really swinging, with a violinist playing over the top of the DJ. Cheesy music filled the airwaves, and canapés and wine flowed freely amidst the crowd. Friends, partners and colleagues joined us on the dance floor and my one arm and I managed to enjoy the evening’s festivities. It was a welcome break from juggling day job with conference, throughout the day.

As Wednesday rolled around, so did another early start to clear down European and Asian workload. Come evening, Marta and I scooted off to sample a fish restaurant, first stopping for a glass of wine in a local bar. We reflected, as we often do, sharing stories of life and remembering how far we’ve come. An air of contentment surrounded us, almost exactly a year since Marta, Toby, Kirsty and I took a Sunday walk on the highline in New York, all perhaps in very different places back then.


Partying in Chicago – fractured elbow or not

Then came the part of the evening I had looked forward to the most. We got to see One Republic play live and close the conference in a customer appreciation party. I had hoped, since I heard that they were playing, that they would play ‘I Lived’. The song, that ‘anthem/’ for Sonya and my Australia trip at the end of 2014/early 2015, continues to be held in a special place. The irony of the lyrics talking of still living with every broken bone, was not lost on me.

I could barely contain my excitement when they played ‘I Lived’. Sonya and I had listened to it endlessly just a little under 20 months ago. We had used it as a theme to our Australia trip – doing it all, or as much as we could. From diving to goat mustering to holding snakes and kayaking the Whitsundays. Yet doing it all hasn’t ended there, the anthem to do it all and to live, to really live and to own every second, continues on.


Reunion dinner in NYC, October 2016

So as I find myself Eastbound for Newark, I am looking forward to a weekend in my second home. After a day of work tomorrow, I will get to kick back with David. We’ve a simple, London style evening planned, of dinner, wine and a movie, Bridget Jones’ Baby in fact. It’ll have been a hectic week, so the chance to chill with a movie, wine and one of my best friends, shall be perfect.

I have few plans then this weekend, other than to hang with some New York friends and to take it a bit easy after a hectic few days in Chicago, before another hectic week of work kicks off, mixing meetings and workshops with the best of New York’s offerings.

I realise it’s been a year since our Global HR Leadership Update in New York, and since the end of a hurricane almost swept Stefani and I off of our feet in the East Village as we hit up Miss Lily’s for some amazing jerk chicken. How has it been a year, already, I wonder? Yet it’s been an amazing year. Another year of lessons, growth and evolution, and another fractured elbow.


One armed at my fountain, NYC – October 2016

Marta and I reflected on the last year. A project that was so hectic it perhaps nearly broke us, and several others, but which we have come out smiling from. Personal lessons too. People who have disappointed. People who have surprised us. Ways in which we’ve owned every second and chosen to take every risk.

“I’ve slowed down a bit this year” I ruefully told Marta, and was met by skepticism and raised eyebrows. “I have, I honestly have” I exclaimed, and Marta smiled at me. Perhaps, it seems, that my slowing is relative to the last 18 months or so, for which I had good reasons, career and personal, to dive headfirst into operating at 110 miles an hour.


At the One Republic Gig – “I Lived”

I own every second perhaps, but slowing at times, to maybe let some seconds go by without a plan, wouldn’t go amiss. So perhaps, that is my challenge for next year. To let some seconds go by without a plan. To not have to own every second, but to let every second unfold, naturally.


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