Day 23

Day 23

Who would have thought that almost the entire New Zealand inside is painted the same colour – more or less? Or that it took only 2 days and everyone started wearing Saturday morning sloth clothes?

I started the day on a video call – Hangout as Google calls it – with Ireland, and then it never really stopped until about 7.15pm. You see lots of the inside.

Working days at home on constant calls I’ve found really quite tiring, so I was tempted to break the walking chain. Of course not! But it was only 3 km and now I’m watching Unorthodox.

It’s the story of a young woman who escapes from her Hasidic Jewish Brooklyn community and goes to Berlin.  She’s taken in by a group of musicians. It flashes backwards and forwards from her old life to her new one: charming, funny and poignant all at the same time. It’s only four episodes so it’s a pleasant change from ten episodes in Sweden about a series of murders orchestrated by those high up in society!

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We’re all living out of our normal environment right now. When you’re outside your norm you can learn unexpected things about yourself. I haven’t minded at all the  non-contact. I’ve enjoyed the meetings that start promptly on time. Everyone gets heard. I’ve lived in a more structured manner, and enjoyed it. I work less in the evenings and weekends than I ever have. I walk a lot. I eat better. It’s okay, but the economy can’t survive this indefinitely, or much more at all.

Brandenburg Gate In Berlin. Germany

The finance minister said today at the 1pm briefing that the government had paid $9.8b in wage subsidies. We can’t run an economy for much longer by borrowing. So let’s hope the projections of the 2 weeks in Level 3 then down to the working level – level 2 – turn out to be true. By the way, why is the 1pm broadcast orchestrated like a piece of propaganda? The flashing banners to dob in companies about prices, the STAY HOME! warnings, the repeat instructions telling us what to do and not do. That might be newsworthy but it shouldn’t be pumped out as instructions. That’s not the media’s job. But I forgot, we’re in a national state of emergency. Is it supposed to feel like this?

So whatever the level, I think us knowledge workers will still be working from home for some time yet.

It won’t be so bad, in fact the new environment is an ongoing opportunity for personal growth for all of us.

Have a great weekend. I’m thinking about a COVID-19km walk.

Stephen

A student

In The Student and Mister Henri a grumpy old man Henri lets out a bedroom in his Paris home to a young student Constance, who has come to study in the city.

Henri is the most inhospitable host, full of scorn and cynicism for his family, and Constance. But Henri’s wisdom emerges as he reveals his life’s regrets. Not following goals, not embracing family.

Success is not immediate for Constance.  In fact she fails at her chosen subject. Ready to give it all up and return to the country, Henri digs deep and urges Constance to “do what you want when you’re young“.  You only live once he reminds Constance.

Thanks to Henri, Constance sets off on a new path following her passion, headed for success.

I had some professional success this week. Its an achievement I’ve worked for by following a path.  And I’m happy to be the student, learning the ropes again.

You might only have one life, but you can be a student many times.

Stephen

ps  My new start

Never forgotten

As I recall Victor was a tall and athletic boy. Like me, he lived in Linwood Ave, just up the road and we were friends from school. Unlike me he was fine rugby player. Visiting the Harris’ house after school to play was a treat – there were different toys and things to do and Mrs Harris was always pleased to see me.

In 1976 Victor started at Linwood High School along with my other good friend Nigel while I went to Shirley Boys’. On a Saturday in early March Nigel, Victor, Victor’s father and some others were up near Hanmer along the Hurunui River when a rock or similar came down and struck Victor on the head and he fell into the river.

He died at the scene.

It would have been Victor’s birthday last weekend and despite the 40 years past I still remember him on his birthday.

Life is short, but Victor’s was way too short. I remember the funeral – sitting near the back at the chapel in the Crematorium at Bromley in Linwood Ave. It seemed surreal. I was probably too young to fully understand.

I also remember visiting Mrs Harris with Mum. She seemed amazingly composed and at peace. Nigel is still in touch with the Harris’ and he tells me they are at peace about Victor.

Never underestimate the power of reflection. It’s taken me 40 years, but I’m pleased to have said something about Victor. A great friend and never forgotten.

Stephen

Separation anxiety

I was talking to a good friend yesterday about my son’s departure for England today. I went through all the things he had done to prepare and all those who support him have done too. It all sounds logical, rational and for for my son, it’s no doubt very exciting. A great adventure. After a while my friend declared that I simply had separation anxiety. I’m pretty sure he’s right. Bugger, something I can’t just manage though doing things.

My father told me years afterwards, that when I left home at (just) 18 to join the police, he felt much the same. I can remember the leaving, feeling pretty confident, excited and wondering why my parents looked somewhat serious! Now I know. I said my goodbyes and strode to the aeroplane.

Finding your own feet and being responsible for what happens, and dealing with it, is probably the first (and arguably the most important) leadership step.

So as he sets off, it’s a tear in my eye for sure, but those broad shoulders will confidently walk through to immigration and off he’ll be. I’m certain he’ll have a great time. I miss him already and he hasn’t quite gone. Lovely young man he is. But he has to look forward. I did.

Stephen