It is my wife’s birthday this weekend. She turns _____ years old (as a hint, she is old now 😉 ). We have spent five lovely years of her birthday together. In fact we are five and a half years into our beautiful relationship. During that time we have taken exactly 2 pure vacations. In 2010 February, we travelled to Great Falls for 2 days, that same September we went to Phoenix and Vegas for a week. Since that our vacations have consisted of quick camping trips over weekends, our wedding, Ata’s wedding and trips to hockey tournaments. This weekend we head to Salt Lake City for 4 days.
Life is funny and sometimes when the writing is on the wall you make a decision. I chose to part with my coaching career a few weeks ago. We could all bitch and moan about what lead up to my decision but it is irrelevant. I am happy to recapture my family life and spend more time on me. I don’t miss the games, or the schmoozing with parents or listening to board dictate to me, a group of people who never show up or offer their help. I don’t miss dealing with the ego’s of the annoying coaches and I don’t miss the ego’s of a lot of the so called experts. In fact I only miss one thing about it. I miss the kids. I love those kids, each having had an impact on my life. I miss some very specific young men who were like friends to me. I would happily help them hide a body if they needed my help. Breaks my heart to not have anymore time getting to know those kids and enjoying my time with them.
But here I am with a lot of free time, thing is it isn’t all that free. Our house is regularly clean now, that is nice. I have made some fantastic dinners in our very expensive upgraded kitchen in our new home. Loving that. I have spent more time with my dogs who enjoy the extra time and my wife and I are reconnecting in a lot of positive ways.
The thing is hockey was an addiction for me. I went back because I felt I had to. I don’t think I will need to anymore, I am in recovery. It is often said you should take stock of the relationships in your life. Identify the ones that are positive and continue to grow those. Also identify the negative ones with the ones that have no positive impact (neutral) and let them go. Focusing on the positive relationships helps you grow. Hockey was not ever having a particularly positive impact on my life, all of the great positives I got from the players was neutralized by the awful politics and annoying parents. Like a business choosing to better serve its top 20% and let the other 80% go, I am focusing more attention on the other parts of my life. Miss my kids, a ton but all life decisions come with some pain, this is still a positive step.
So my wife and I will pack up for a birthday trip and experience a weekend in Salt Lake City with our dogs. We will do some shopping and tons of dog park time. We will enjoy the drive and talk while we go. We will curl up and watch some White Collar on netflix and just have fun together. It will be a lot different for my wife, who has spent the last number of birthdays in a rink. In fact last year we were in dumpy Brandon Manitoba for her birthday. This will be a serious upgrade.
I no longer will save all of my vacation days for potential hockey trips, no instead we will leave someone in our home to house sit and will travel as a family. In May Tiana and I will be leaving the dogs behind while we drive down to Houston for 3 days, watch a Astros VS Blue Jays game and then head off to the east coast for Savannah Georgia and other awesome stops. On our way home we are stopping in Chicago for a ball game at Wrigley field, a Twins game in Minnesota and a day spent at Mount Rushmore. I am pretty excited for that vacation.
So here is to one phase of life ending, thanks for the memories to all the guys I met in the game, I will still be following your careers from afar, and to the next phase, one where my family comes first, one where I am a better husband, son and definitely a way better Uncle Fun!