When someone close passes on people often say think of the memories. And of course to have memories, you have to take opportunities. Maybe we can’t do everything that presents itself, however regular visitors here will know that life and learning was made much richer this past year as a result of me looking for and taking unusual opportunities. Going boating, making a record, and delivering a successful unconference are just three examples of this. And my friend Alison Chisnell is now literally running with the opportunity baton too – good luck Alison!
I’d like to conclude this week with a happy memory all about opportunity. It goes something like this…
It is Summer 2008 and Dad is driving us home from the airport. Carole, Keira and I have just spent a fantastic three weeks in Southern California and the buzz of conversation and stories in the car is great fun. Dad is telling us how as a child, the USA appeared only in picture books and newsreels. A far off destination reserved for the very rich and famous. He recalled lots of black and white photos of the Flat Iron building and finished his reminiscing saying he doubted he’d ever see it in real life. Dad dropped us home and went on his way.
Just after Dad left, Carole said to me, ‘You should take your Dad to New York. Why not go for his birthday?’ Her offer was sincere and I took it straight away. I called Dad who excitedly agreed and plans were made. Dad was keen to keep arrangements simple and I cheated a little. I upgraded our flights, booked a smart hotel, reserved priority tickets for the Empire State Building and sorted out a visit to Madison Square Gardens to see an ice hockey match. All on the quiet like 😉
We had a fabulous trip. New York City is chock full of sights to see and I reckon we did them all and more besides. The pace was frantic and we both survived on as little sleep as we could manage. As keen as school kids to leave no subway, no iconic building (including of course the Flat Iron building), no nothing undiscovered. Our visit coincided with a Banksy invasion too and we hit the streets in search of some fantastic works he had just painted and are long since covered up.
You remember I mentioned an ice hockey game? Well we went to see the New York Rangers obligingly beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a nail biting fight to the finish. We had the best seats in the house with snacks and beers on tap. And at the first period interval this happened:
Dad’s name lit up the score board and 20,000 people sang Happy Birthday to him. Unforgettable? Unforgettable!
On our return I remember speaking to a good friend about our trip. Adrian said to me ‘what you had there was a rare opportunity for some Father and Son time that many of us don’t have, and you took it, well done’. The truth is I didn’t take this opportunity, it was given to me and I am forever grateful.
I’m motivated by this memory and determined to make 2012 a year of making things happen, an unforgettable year. Would you care to join me?