Bad Things Are Going to Happen, So Bring On The Joy

I am giving Mike a blog break, as he keeps telling me he is busier now than when he was working for the Corp., but he loves what he is doing!  Good Morning another long weekend ends here in Canada and today begins our family’s first day in over 14 years without our dear family dog Sasha. More on that later.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Gerry I work with Mike on his Victory Lap crusade. A bit about me, Mike describes me as his partner “the computer guy” hopefully I am a little more than that. I have known Mike since the late 80’s when we were both starting our careers early in The Big Dip. Our careers have intersected several times, we even won the same company award for performance given to the top 1% of employees. My career went in a variety of different directions which was one of the things I loved about my employer and the industry.  You could constantly grow by learning new things, taking on new roles and acquiring new skills.  My career gave me a broad swath of skills from personal investment management, supported by the Canadian Securities Course and Fellowship of the Canadian Securities Institute, then to auditing which provided great insight into risk. I leveraged these skills in business banking, where I helped business customers grow and prosper. I also held various roles that gave me skills in sales, marketing, customer experience, people management, presentation and public speaking skills to name a few. I ended my career as an executive in a sales and customer experience role, this position gave me insights in social media and websites planning. I think this is where Mike came up with the “computer guy” label for me 🙂.

My Victory Lap started in 2014, when I was given “the package”. Why do you think it happened? Was it unexpected? Were you angry? Why did my favorite hockey team, the Canadiens, trade P.K.? All fair questions but none that I care to answer or talk about, ok maybe the last one over a beer next year. The fact is that it happened I have moved on and continue to work on “me” and building the best most productive and positive Victory Lap possible. Unlike Mike, I took time off before I started working on Victory Lap in October last year. My craving for lifelong learning continues with me today, since leaving the Corp. I have taken a bike repair course, a beer appreciation course, numerous online courses and I even learned yoga.  I have run 4 half marathons, spent time in Florida, I have volunteered and need to do more of that, (memo to self), I exercise regularly, I am biking more, I have traveled to Europe to attend wonderful sporting events and see great places. I have gone to wonderful concerts and most importantly have spent time with and have been more present with my family. I talk about these various experiences to show that your Victory Lap can be wonderful. It does not have to be about spending lots of money on travel, concerts ,etc., but it should be about experiences.

Mike often asks in his presentation “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” I would add a question “When was the last time you did something that brings you pure joy?”  Joyful events do not need to be huge vacations, expensive concerts, large purchases, joy can come from little more personal things, but we should strive to make them plentiful. Things like sitting on the deck with your coffee watching the sun rise, watching your grandchild sleep, patting your dog on the couch as you read a good book, sigh, I will miss that, learning something new, cooking a great meal, helping a friend, neighbor, or somebody you never met, achieving a personal best in a race, etc.

I was reminded this weekend by a couple of events that time is relentless and we need to jam as much joy into our lives as possible. Eventually sad, bad, or difficult things will happen, that is just how life works. The first was the loss of our wonderful pet Sasha, our little dog brought us great joy. This was our first pet so the whole process from getting her to training her,  loving her to the heartbreak that comes with eventual loss of her was new.  The heartbreak is still fresh as I write this but the overwhelming memory is one of joy, the joy she gave to me, my family, and our friends.  The other event this weekend was a call from an elderly couple I will call John and Betty. They have been family friends for over 40 years and have no children. Annually they plant a large garden (300 + plants) at their cottage, John is stubborn and prideful and has always done everything himself, he is happy to help everyone but rarely asks for help. This year faced with a failing hip they reached out for help, so we knew it was serious. Unfortunately with the long weekend no other friends in the area were available to help with planting and as my wife and I were on hospice care for Sasha, we were the only friends available to help. So I hopped in the car for the 2 ½ drive to the cottage. You may ask why the planting could not wait for another weekend when more people were available, well that is a combination of being old stubborn and a planned operation for John. John wanted the garden planted before he went in for his procedure and I think to ensure quality control of my work 🙂. In the end I passed the grade for planting and John was very grateful for the help and helping did bring me joy, while taking my thoughts away from our dog for a little while.

These events remind me that we should constantly strive to make sure our personal ledger is filled with positive experiences and joyful events. There is going to be sadness and negative events in all our lives, you just have to open the paper to see, another terror attack, famine, floods, crashes, deaths, it can be overwhelming at times. Our ability to create positive experiences creating joy for you and the people around you is the key to living a life that is joyful and makes the world a better place.  Building the number of positive experiences in our ledger will help us understand what a wonderful life we have and will allow us to draw strength in those difficult times that will inevitably come to all of us.

Our Victory Lap needs to be planned and “worked” it is not all about the money it is about being healthy, it is about creating joy, passing joy forward and helping others. It is about pushing out your best before date as far as you can,  like John eventually we will be limited in what we can do, so give yourself lots of time and opportunity for joyful events. Finally surround yourself with people and experiences that bring you joy and live life.  

Have a joyful day.

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4 thoughts on “Bad Things Are Going to Happen, So Bring On The Joy

  1. S. Fanson Reply

    What a nice read on a dreary, rainy afternoon. You described my vision of what my Victory Lap will be (hopefully). Thank you. Very sorry for your loss.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Many thanks for the condolences and good luck to you on your Victory Lap.

  2. Maggie Reply

    Gerry, you hit the nail on the head…enjoyed reading your version of your VL….it’s about balance in everything we do whether “retired” or not.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Yes it is, no more overtime missing family events. Balance is everything. Thanks Gerry

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