Day 26

Day 26

 

If you want to know what your favourite film is, doesn’t it have to been the one you’ve watched the most? (excluding children’s films). For me a favourite film is a happy warm place, a comfortable seat (and set) with characters I know, places I love and a story that never grows old.

Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s 2011 film is mine and I watched it tonight. I should be embarrassed to say how many times I’ve watched it, but it never ceases to capture my imagination, and if it’s forty times or more I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Gil Pender is a Hollywood screenwriter on holiday in Paris with his fiance and future in-laws, when he is transported back to the 1920s each night and mixes with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso and others.

The warm and fuzzies have finished in politics with the announcement today. During the last four weeks, it seems that if anyone had the temerity to contradict the wisdom of the imposition of the state of emergency, then that was tantamount to the person wanting the ‘rona to attack your neighbour.  Media and all political parties played ball.  I’m glad that’s ended. We went into this thing with the prospect that 80,000 people were going to die if we didn’t. Of course that was never going to happen – we don’t have the population density or age demographics of Italy or Spain. We may not have known that then in fairness, but we do now.

Modern society shields most people from the realities of life and death and it’s been very easy for leaders to frighten us with death rates. Seeing as I’ve become semi-addicted to statistics, according to Statistics New Zealand 3097 people will have died in New Zealand during the Lockdown.  About 100 each day.  Every one of those deaths will likely leave loved ones behind and there will be great sadness and grief attached to it, but we’re all just timing differences, as a boss of mine once said. Our turn will come!

So, I think we need to take the emotion out of the normal run of events and not scaremonger each other about the ‘rona. Yes, the curve needed to get flattened to avoid a health crisis and avoid building the tent hospital. That’s a great thing. Time to get back to work now with appropriate controls. I may have failed to redefine our understanding of death in the context of the crisis, but a verb got redefined today.

iStock-1185658541.jpg

Elimination is not, as you might expect from the ordinary meaning – the complete removal or destruction of something – but rather, the, um, not complete removal!  Common sense has prevailed as it had to – we can’t possibly expect to eliminate the ‘rona – any more that the common cold or any other virus for which there is no vaccination. That could never work.

We need leadership with empathy and understanding, but leaders also need to harness the directness of a Hemingway. Telling it as it as. I’m not sure that trying to redefine the meaning of a word that was so much part of this campaign was a good idea.

But I doubt we have eliminated our desire for food we can’t have. So 27 April 11.59pm is the date for a Big Mac at the Greenlane drive through! The queue alone will be worth being there for  – history in the making surely! When the time comes it’s Japanese for me – Salmon Sashimi and Yakitori dishes. With a favourite film. Can’t wait!

Stephen

 

Year End Resilience

Year End Resilience

The end of the year is close. Feels like it can’t happen soon enough. I’m getting tired and I think lots of us are. A long winter, work pressures and lots going on including for me a house on the market (can’t skip making the bed!).

We had a taster on resilience at work recently.  Physical health, mindfulness and seeking help were some of the key messages.

Coming home this evening a sudden shower on the bike. By the time I got to the Waterview Tunnels I was quite wet, although it was warm. The tunnel was a respite from the rain. 2.8km of dry, I imagined I was on the Autostrada in northern Italy (although I wasn’t riding quite fast enough!) driving from Avignon to Florence – tunnel after tunnel.

Mindfulness is a valuable practice. It can help us to manage anxiety, achieve tasks and lead to a greater sense of worth and contentment.

Add a bit of “Golden Age thinking” to your repertoire I reckon.  A kind of mindfulness about pleasant experiences in the past.

The moments in the tunnel on the Autostrada led me to a walk after the rain – reminiscing about Paris and my favourite film, Midnight in Paris.

Didn’t feel so tired afterwards.

Stephen

These are the good old days part II!

I bounded up the stairs just now at home having returned from the movies alone. At my farewell lunch with colleagues from AUT just before Christmas I was taken to blog about the good old days. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris explores both the glorious beauty of Paris and the good old days. On his midnight strolls through Paris whilst visiting with his fiance and future in-laws, Gil Pender, a screenwriter and budding author,  travels back to the good old days. He finds himself mixing with Hemmingway, Picasso and others. Okay, so it’s not real, but hell, you don’t go to the movies for reality!

It’s a delightful romantic comedy and I can’t believe it took me so long to see it. This week I started my new role at PwC. There’s been grief from parting and finishing and wondering whether I was living in the good old days these last few years. Now I know I was for certain.

In the last year or so I’ve come to know a very special man, the poet Sam Hunt, and now be privileged to help him to find more places to perform to those that would appreciate him. He offers much to those seeking to find their grounding and understand their moral compass. Beyond Martin Seligman’s pleasant life of material pleasures, beyond the good life of maximising capability and achievement to the meaningful life characterised by connectedness to a greater whole.

I am not sure yet why I am connecting these diverse events – the good old days, Midnight in Paris, Sam Hunt and the meaningful life, but it’ll come as we continue.

I don’t always have it, but I have enough of a sense of the meaningful life to value it, want it and know that it is my key to happiness.  I’m honoured to have such a reputable firm as PwC take a chance on me to make a difference for them and add value both to them and their clients. I’ll try my best to do so.

Midnight in Paris reminded me to treasure the meaning I already have, and the meaning I am once again starting to build in a new place.  But starting new isn’t really starting new. It’s building on what exists and all the meaning I have built in leadership development, before that in investigation, and more recently connecting with Sam, is part of that base.

It was scary, but now it’s exciting and much more connected. Whatever you do, connect it with what brings meaning. Otherwise, why do it?

There’s a line: meaning for happiness. Maybe that should have been the title of the blog.

Stephen