We don’t celebrate 4th July in the UK. It’s a pivotal day into the U.S. calendar of course, but it’s not mentioned in the UK. I do celebrate 4th July however. I always take that day off as a vacation. I do the same for Thanksgiving as well. A large percentage of my email traffic, phone calls and instant messages come from, or involves, colleagues and friends in the U.S. If I take a day’s vacation when the U.S. is working, I wake up the next day to a mass of emails. If I take a day’s vacation when the U.S. is on vacation, I wake up the next day to a near empty inbox.
But this year I did celebrate on 4th July. This weekend was our annual family reunion. All my side of the family were there. Some for the weekend and some just for Saturday night…but we were all there this year. A good time was had by all…no an excellent time was had by all. Not enough sleep, too much food; not enough time to talk (to everyone), too much opportunity to drink (with everyone).
It’s an event that only happens once a year…it’s a weekend that reminds us who we are; that allows us to reconnect with each other in person; that allows us to hear about everyone’s highs and lows, successes and failures, from the last 12 months. A weekend that allows us to dream about what we want the next year to bring us…individually and collectively. A weekend designed to do exactly what it achieves – to keep the family together. A weekend dreamt up by my parents some 15 years ago.
Over the years, this event – along with all of our lives – has become more complicated…inevitable as children and grandchildren grow up, go to University, leave home, and settle. But yet all our lives are intertwined. There are similar names and similar faces…and a similar sense of humour. We celebrated this 4th July for sure.
We drove home today. Some six hours in all – a long way. I always enjoy the drive home almost as much as the weekend itself. I have such a positive feeling of belonging…a feeling that is increased as my wife and children were with me. The weekend was wonderful and there was so much to talk about…what happened, who said what and did what; how much we laughed and how much we cried. How much everyone had changed; how little we had changed.
My parents were delighted everyone came. They were at times amazed and surprised, very happy but also quite sad. Tired and energised. I worry about them…but then again I love them. They inspire me.
It was a weekend all about family at the end of a week that was all about work. The middle of the year is a busy time. Mid-year reviews are due – for me and my team and for everyone else. I enjoy and engage fully in mid-year reviews – it’s an opportunity to celebrate and to adjust…on personal performance and team dynamics…on partner satisfaction and personal development. It’s an opportunity to review ourselves against our personal and our business performance goals and to prepare ourselves for the second half.
We arrived home late Sunday. And now I am looking forward. Forward to my next five days at work; forward to our next six months together at work – me, my team, our organisation and our partners; forward to our next twelve months as a family. I am excited. I am ready. It will be amazing.
We will go forward together. I am there for you.