As editor of this paper I have to remind myself daily not to confuse being grateful with self congratulation, not just when presenting the stories of the west but on a personal level as well. My thoughts do sometimes wander back to a few years ago, in a different time, suburb and mindset.
Without even noticing it, I was suddenly on the corporate ladder. I was nearer to the bottom than the top, but the next few rungs were coming into focus. The money was flowing, the endomorphins of ambition surging, and my sense of self-importance was out of whack.
Somehow I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw the reality – I was just another IT battery-hen being seduced by a mirage. I wasn’t valued by the company, but it was clear that I was valued at home.
So I that’s where I decided to head.
A cop out? No doubt it doesn’t work in every household, but I didn’t want to be the guy that left home early and came home late. I wanted to cook dinner, have a glass of wine with my wife, and sing Disney duets with my daughter. I thought hard about what success meant to me, and shut out the noise of expectation being blasted at me daily by a combination of the media, society, (and now social media). I was never going to be a millionaire, but not because I was afraid of hard work, it was simply because I didn’t want to be.
This approach granted me a different kind of freedom. Without the pressure to succeed someone else’s way, I gained clarity, a fresh set of eyes on life. It became as much about the things I was saying “no” to as it was about the things I was doing.
The temptation is always there for all of us to jump back in – gradually at first – and then before we know it every minute is once again filled with emails, phone calls and ‘personal development’, whatever that actually is.
Am I going to look back on my life, possibly penniless, and reflect by saying, “I wish I’d gone to more meetings, made more sales calls, and saved more money”?
I doubt it.
I’ll think back to the precious times being there with my family, friends and this community. Being present, involved, and enjoying every one of the moments.
Managing Editor, The Westsider