“The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
I think I’m slowly figuring out this “work/home balance” thing. I used to believe good work/home balance was spending equal amounts of time worrying and stressing about work at both work and home. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, over the last few years I have made a conscious effort to have a clear line between the concerns and toils of work and the activities of living every other aspect of life. This means weekends have taken on new magical significance in the whole scheme of things. They are full of possibility, some highly anticipated plans, some spontaneous adventures, and some downtime and relaxation.
I was reflecting on the last few weekends in November, and noticing how much time was spent on really enjoyable activities with great people. That led me to realize that as of late, that weekend wasn’t really all that unusual, and that’s pretty awesome!
So, what happens to make a weekend so enjoyable? First, committing to being present in the weekend. That means leaving office stuff at the office. Leaving the email alone helps with that, and I find that making myself a “to do” list on Friday before I leave the office for priorities I need to address on Monday helps get those issues off my mind over the weekend. I can’t notice and appreciate a fleeting break in the fog, or a beautiful reflection if I’m dwelling on reports and budgets.
I also need to give myself permission to sleep or just rest if that is what my body and mind needs. An activity that should be energizing and enjoyable can be a bit of a chore if I tackle it when I’m exhausted. I’d rather put off an activity and rest, than have a disappointing experience.
My last thought on this is to create a network of likeminded people, who draw energy and enjoyment from similar things. It’s relaxing and peaceful to head out alone with my camera, and it’s a lot of fun to get out with someone who is equally interested in photography.
So what specifically made those weekends in November memorable? Let me share some of the moments that made them special.
We started with a visit to the George C Reifel Bird Sanctuary to see the snow geese. In reality, that is more of an audible experience than a visual one. The geese are out on the water’s edge, and are best seen as they rise in a noisy flock whenever an eagle passes by. Nonetheless, I always do love a trip to the bird sanctuary, as there is always something crying out for a photo.
On this particular day, we also wanted to catch the sunset at Iona Beach in Richmond. That requires a bit of hustle, since it seems to occur shortly after lunch this time of year (come on winter solstice and longer days!). There is a tree at Iona Beach that I have mentioned before, and I had an image in my mind of a silhouette of a man beside the tree at sunset. It took little, ok, no convincing to get Thor to play along, and I quite like the resulting photos!
The next weekend presented just as many opportunities for memorable moments. A friend and I connected for a photowalk around Roberts Bank in Ladner. If you have ever been there, you will be familiar with the numerous broken pilings standing in the river. There are usually herons, cormorants, or other water or shoreline birds roosting on the pilings. On this day when we arrived there were dozens of cormorants on the pilings, and the most remarkable thing was the river was flat calm. There is usually a ripple of some manner on the water breaking up the reflections.
Moments later a small breeze blew up, and the calm was gone.
It doesn’t take long though, to move from one spellbinding scene to another in beautiful British Columbia! I have been on the hunt for a “Christmassy” shot to make some Christmas greeting cards. I think this little guy obliged!
Later on the same walk, a horse and rider passed us, providing some great photo opportunities. One of my favourites was a shot from afar of the silhouetted horse and rider against all the great layers of the foreground and the land in the distance.
The weekend was rounded out by a hike with friends, old and new, in Deep Cove. Before starting up the trail, we took some time to enjoy the fog that had settled into the cove.
By the time Sunday evening rolled around, I had connected with good friends, gotten outdoors, had a bit of exercise, and taken a few photos I liked. I vaguely recall doing a bit of housework as well, but when I chisel that down to a few chores between more exciting endeavours, it seems pretty manageable.
It is my goal to keep my weekends modelled after the ones described above. I know they won’t all be full of wandering around the lower mainland with friends and my camera, but I’m committed to being present in them, whatever the activities. Who’s with me?