Friday, January 29, 2010

What we give up along the way

The ponds in Central Park had a thin layer of ice this morning with the temperature at 16 degrees and with wind chill -1!  And like the warnings to potential skaters, it seems like investors are slowly and carefully testing out the depth of the ice or perhaps the depth of the institutional real estate investment market.  Those of us who have tested out the ice on a pond know how putting one foot in front of the other, very, very slowly goes.  We're a little tentative until we feel solid footing and then we turn around to our friends who remained on the shoreline and say "Hey look at me!" And just then, you hear that terrible sound of ice cracking beneath your feet and your heart starts pounding and while your instinct is to turn and run (back to your now laughing friends) you turn and go slowly, inch by inch, step by step until you reach land again and say "Phew, it was fun but I wonder if it was worth the risk.  

Some people call it work/life balance.  Others call it compromise.  Still others may say prioritizing.  Whatever you call it the result is that there are things we give up along the way.  When I first started traveling for work it was all weekday trips meaning I would be home over the weekend.  So, I didn't miss many of my sons’ weekend activities.  But I did miss the weekday opportunity of 'spontaneous parenting'. I wrote an essay on this a few years back called, "Hey Dad" which described my feelings of not being around (due first to travel and then to separation) when one of my sons could just yell down from his room, "Hey Dad, can you come up and help me with something?"  But that's one of the things we give up along the way.  But it's not just family matters that are affected.  When we travel, we can't commit to things that occur on a regular basis:  taking a class, volunteering, joining a band or just having some regular routine in our lives versus our work life.  We all have to give up certain things along the way and at some point, looking back, we may regret what we gave up or what we compromised on mainly in the spirit of our careers.  But one of the things that I learned from "The Power of Now" is to forgive myself for the past....for the past mistakes, for the past bad behavior, for missing out on the things I'd given up along the way because thinking about those things can 'make you crazy and old before your time' (Crosby, Stills & Nash from 'You Don't Have To Cry').  And the same holds true for the future.  "Who knows what tomorrow may bring?" (Traffic) And trying to imagine what the future holds can also drive us crazy.  That's why living in the moment, focusing on doing the best we can with what today offers us, accepting what is, no longer paddling upstream has lifted a burden off my shoulders.  I can't go back and recapture things I gave up along the way.  But I certainly can capture those things that present themselves to me today and all the future todays I have left.  

Restaurant of the week:  Norman Rose Tavern, 1401 First Street, Napa, CA (  As described on their website:  “that comfortable spot where you can meet family and friends for a nice pint or glass of wine paired with a great burger or other classic, American comfort food.”  It's true!

On the road....
2/9-11:  Palos Verdes, CA to attend IREI's VIP Conference
2/17-19:  Raleigh/Durham for meetings and to be a judge in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Challenge
3/14-25:  Boston to attend the PREA Spring Conference
4/12-14:  Dallas to attend the UBS Annual Client Conference 
4/19-20:  New York to attend the ING Annual Client Conference
4/21-23:  Venice to attend the Annual INREV Conference
4/26-30:  London

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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