This morning I said goodbye to the kids who were going to hang out with their grandparents for the weekend. Normally the pre ‘grandma weekend’ farewell is an extremely joyful occasion. We don’t get a lot of time to ourselves, Matt and me, so a Grandma weekend is a particularly special treat. The prospect of having some adult time, not being woken up in the middle of the night and the potential of having my favourite cereal for dinner can make me quite giddy with excitement in fact. 

I was surprised this morning when I found myself getting quite emotional as I said goodbye to the kids, especially Alice. The last time the kids had a sleepover at Grandma’s was maybe October or November last year. It was so long ago that the effects of the ‘kid-free euphoria’ have long since been forgotten. 

This nearly three months of full time family has included the school holidays. The school holidays are one of the most challenging times in a regular working family’s year. While most families can muster a few weeks of annual leave to do ‘holiday’ things, the majority of the 6 to 7 weeks school age children have off over summer is a juggling match of caregiving, playdates, meals, entertainment and still working enough to get paid. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that our plan was to have the kids at the factory for two hours in the morning while I worked and Matt kept an eye on them, then I’d take them away for the afternoon. This didn’t always work as well as I’d hoped. I found it difficult to switch between work and parenting and this week while I was in an important meeting and Matt was caught up with something in the factory, Alice appeared in my zoom windows, full nude. She had split something on her clothes and removed them all to come tell me about it. Certainly not ideal.

On reflection I think I was so emotional this morning because we have spent SO much time together. I feel like we’ve really achieved something as a family by making it to the end of the school holiday together. There were obviously moments that were stressful as we poorly balanced parenting and paid work but ultimately we had a really good time together these holidays. 

Alice is five and half and Frank is seven which is such a fabulous age. They’re old enough now to have some independence and their stamina is getting better and better. The most profound example of this has been not having to get into the pool with them when we go swimming! I’ve been taking the kids to the local pools after lunch and listening to audiobooks (like ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ by Trent Dalton - which I loved) while they have a blast practising their cannon balls. We all get an ice cream on the way out and that's a holiday day well spent.

I was pretty anxious heading into these school holidays. I was worried that we wouldn’t get the balance right and it would be like every other holiday we had where I just end up resenting myself for how I’m spending my time - which would normally be stressing about not getting shit done when I should be enjoying the kids. I think my deep drive into Stoicism  was perfectly timed and really helped.

I also participated in a two day course last weekend called ‘Living Powerfully Present’ by Danny Vorhauer. Quick back story on Dan, Me and the incredibly amazing content writer Lucy Rash from CultCopy have been working with Dan for nearly two years helping bring his personal brand to life. We wanted to see Dan in his element so Lucy and I were excited about being participants.

Coincidentally, lots of Dan’s lessons are based in stoic philosophy. Living unapologetically aligned to your values. Approaching life with a pragmatic thinking model and choosing destiny rather than fate. There is an exercise (myRegrets / my Resolve) similar to the Stoic idea of imagining your own death, where you imagine the absolutely worst case scenario for your life. I went to town on this. I wrote a sweeping story of heartbreak and poverty. TinyOffice never succeeded and Matt and I couldn’t recover our relationship. I wanted to take the kids back to NZ but he didn’t want me to so there was a huge custody battle and the kids ended up hating us both for it… It was horrific. 

The next part of the exercise was to write what you wished you had done differently in your life and then finally you write your life of extreme success - in whatever form that might mean for you. By imagining these dramatically different scenarios it helps you decide which path you want to be on, this in turn helps set values and then leads onto the final, final step, another exercise involving vision boards…

I’m normally quite suspicious of these sorts of self-help type activities but I’ll certainly give anything a go. If I was going to be sceptical about any part of the weekend's course then this was the 9D Breathwork that Dan swears by. If you watch this video of the guy Brain Kelly (the guy who Dan has partnered with in order to share this in his course) you’d see why. Despite my initial resistance, something fucken weird happened. It was kind of like taking acid or mushrooms (from what I’ve heard Mum x) - there was a definite change of state and as someone who hasn’t been drinking for a year - that buzz was pretty awesome. If you ever get the opportunity to give it a try, do it. 

I’m not sure if it was the lack or excessive levels of oxygen that did it but I really think that spending some time thinking about what's important to me over the weekend reminded me that I’m actually living my best life already. While there are still so many goals to achieve and areas for improvement, if I was to die tomorrow, I would die content. I think that's why I was so emotional this morning, it really dawned on me how fucked fortunate I already am.

Video of the week
Ask Adam Savage: Unlikely Career Advice That Was Actually Helpful
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The Dream: Wanna Swim in Cash?
Font of the week
Ra: Font of the week by Teo Tuominen

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