Our role models and messages come in many ways to us and I am always thankful for their influence in my life.
This past week I had the pleasure of having lunch with Tamara Cinnamon, who is a person I truly admire for her many attributes. In particular is the way that Tamara embraces life and really is a model for living work-life balance. Hard work is something she is truly comfortable with as a very successful business person, and she also always takes the time to have fun, learn, give back to her community and be with her loved ones. Being smart, with common sense and organized help.
Whether it is time with her large family, friends, enjoying paddle boarding, skiing, water sports, her car collection, reading, hiking, her dogs, and on it goes and at the same time she balances growing her business, mentoring others, community involvement. She is also a great one to share new ideas with and bounce around possibilities.
My brother Paul is like this as well. He works, he travels, he embraces living in Toronto, he cycles, reads three books a week, collects vintage stuff, spends time with family and friends, and is the glue in my family. He says yes more than no and is very curious. He is a great role model for us.
I lost my way with work-life balance when I got into sales, unfortunately for me work-life balance wasn’t my mantra then, it was work, work, work. I am glad I had the opportunity to work with Tamara, who helped me to recapture that. My world did not come crashing down, in fact it was better. And now it is certainly so as I manage my new work within a shorter schedule, with evenings and weekends free. I am back to more recreation and community volunteering both of which I missed and very importantly, time with family and friends. I am saying yes more often and it is one of my favourite words.
What I know for sure is by believing that work was so important I lost out a great deal, time with my sons, time with my darling, with my friends, important opportunities were lost while I buried my head in my keyboard. My clients were fantastic and would have still had great service with my having more work-life balance.
Facebook has become for me a great place for quotes and this one was on a high school friend’s post, “You will never have this day again with your children; tomorrow they will be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Just breathe, notice. Study their faces and little feet. Pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today. It will be over before you know it.”
Lovely. She had recommended it for young parents. I read it again and thought if I substitute my darling for my children and big feet for little feet it could be very meaningful for us as a couple. Take a few words out, new ones in and it works for family and is timely for this Thanksgiving weekend often shared with family, and friends who are as important as family.
Before you dive into that delicious feast this weekend, take time to give thanks. Savour the tastes and presentation and the fact that someone or many have worked for hours to prepare this lovely meal for you. Please don’t devour it in minutes, eat slowly, just breathe, notice the taste, colours, smells, textures, sounds of the familiar and perhaps new voices and gastronomic satisfaction. Ask all for what they are thankful. Count your blessings everyday, some call it a gratitude journal, others prayer.
Pay attention to the folks around you. The children, be patient and listen to their stories and answer their abundance of curious questions, play with them. I saw something recently that said love for a child is spelled T-I-M-E. This works for many ages.
Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today. It will be over before you know it. And if you didn’t cook, do the dishes!
Thanks for reading.
Michele Blais is a longtime columnist for The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday. She has been working with families and children in the North Okanagan for the past 28 years.