As it seems that I am getting older every year, I found out that my fitness level is not exactly keeping up. A lifestyle of eating and drinking for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or as like to call myself: Brunchner). Although I am not at my equity high, I am also not too far away from it. I therefore decided to call 2016 the year of fitness for me. I had some very bad attempts in the past with the year of the Gazelle, so I did not want to name it after an animal again (elephant might have been too easy to achieve).
At certain point in your career you find out that you can rarely impress with with your know how as most of the facts are saved in an internet page called google, which I think is quite well done. But what certainly can happen in your career at a certain point of time is that you depress the young kids when you sit in meetings looking like a fat, undisciplined, old fart who lives from the past. Although I certainly have been sometimes at stage when I wanted to just let go and do nothing but eating and drinking I always pulled myself up and did some kind of training. My latest sport I am currently very much into is called walking.
Like centuries before, I leave my house and walk. With the only difference that now I don’t need to go and look for food (well sometimes I do), I just walk. But as I am a techafficionado I bought myself a Fitbit which counts your steps and your heartrate (and I am sure a million other things) and compare myself with other old wannabes. Although I never believed it but I do walk at least 30% more than I used to. I have never tested the accuracy as I don’t really care as the only thing that counts is that you walk. The best friend of a walker like me are podcasts. I first started to listen to music as I thought I might get back into DJing only to find out that with the music I like the dancefloor would be empty in a minute.
A friend of mine introduced me to podcasts which are the best companion when you walk (or drive in car or sit in an airplane). There are so many good ones out there you should subscribe to. I listen to them for 3-4 hours per week and get the best interviews, the latest trends, the best workout techniques etc. Just drop me a line and will write you some good ones.
In my opinion you see a clear trend that people want to live and look healthier even if it means leaving the office earlier or coming later. Our lifetime work hours are much higher than they used to and we all will have to retire much later. Unless you want to do die right after the end of your career, go get up from your couch and start walking. With or without a tech gadget (although it is more fun with someting like a Fitbit). If you have a bad stretch for a couple of weeks, just get up again and restart. None of us will win a Gold medal in Rio but we all should try to stay healthy for as long as we can. If you want to fight a walking battle on Fitbit just contact me.
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A couple of years ago I was travelling an awful lot for business almost around the globe and was able to go to many different places in a very short period of time. Unfortunately I did almost only stay for a day or two and did not see much apart from the usual tourist highlights, a fancy restaurant and lots of airports (and taxis…). The only exception was when I travelled with my good friend Mark who was always a bit more adventurous than me. He is an American, which means that he is selfconfident by nature (I guess its taught in highschool there). It also helps if you speak English really well (not all Americans do). Fluent does not mean that you understand a polished negotiation in a fancy glass office. Fluent means that you understand the slang in the noisy bar outside of the metropolis. It took me a while to get to that level (I had to hang out in bars for hours…).
I never learned English in school. I graduated in English but did not understand a word. At the final exam our teacher helped us to cheat, he was as embarrased as we all were. I learned English in the year I studied abroad. Not from the locals but from other foreign students and especially from my friend Liph whose death I described in my last blog. English is the only language you need to learn. The youtube generation grows up watching clips in English, they do not need to hang out in bars as much as I did. Maybe thats why they look much more healthy than buddies at my age.
I recently started traveling quite a bit again, but to much closer destinations in Europe, mainly to the East. English gets you everywhere. The cabdriver in Zagreb speaks better English than my Highschool teacher (ok, that is not a very high bar). I recommend everyone to teach their kids English properly instead of a few languages not good enough (most of them do anyway, lots of Tiger Mums out there). I still recommend to go to paths less travelled and not to the same fancy restaurants in every city. You learn more about a country when you talk to guys in dodgy bars than to CEOs of some multinationals who speak the same corporate bs anywhere. So always sneak out and have a beer with some locals even if you look as bad as me at 6am the next morning to catch a train, plane or whatever back home.
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A couple of weeks ago I got contacted by a friend if I am the guy who was on the French riveria with Liph for a holidays. The first thing which struck my mind was not, hey did he get married or is she the mother of his child, the first thing was that hopefully he did not die. This had to do with how Liph behaved after I lost contact with him a couple of years ago but it also is a matter of fact that at a certain age people who are close to you start to die. This starts usually with your grandgrandparents when you are a young kid and do not really know what is going on. When your grandparents die it can be very heartbrekaing as some of us might have had a very close relationship with them, sometimes closer than with their parents. As both of my parents are still alive it is very hard for to think how it would feel when they pass away.
Liph died more than a year ago and I did not know about. I have not been talking to him for a couple of years as he had a hard time copying with the life which was offered to him. I met him at university when I did a year abroad and he basically took me under his wings although he was a year younger then me. He was an A student and a party animal. He spoke multiple languages and was a sports freak. He was thinking of pursuing a career in secret service and he was the only one I believed could have managed to do so. But life is full of surprises and very hard to plan. If you are not made for the corporate world one might start to question yourself quickly.
This was also before the real rise of the internet where one can try to become successfull out of their living rooms without having to cope with the politics of large international corporations. Then all of a sudden you get lost in your own world, start your own family, champion your own life but loose tracks of your childhood friends who might live not next to you. You start hanging out with the parents of your kid’s classmates and even if you have less in common than with your old pals you accomodate. Maybe we should not or maybe we should at least try to stay in touch. Even if it is cumbersome, even if it is a one way road. Nowadays the technology offers us every possibility to stay in touch and if you skype over a beer with your buddy from school it might be more interesting than talking about the latest math homework of your kid again.
I wish I would have tried harder to stay in touch but I did not. I wish I would have drunk the bottle of Stoli with him which we promised each other to have at our last time we met.
This one is for you Liph, I hope you found the peace you were looking!
Although I am living in a fairly big city, Vienna in Austria, I am lucky to have a small garden which I barely use but work quite often to stare at it how nice it is. When my son was about to be born I thought it would be nice for him to have some grass right outside the door, so he can work on his soccer career and I don’t have to hangout with some bozos in a public park.
The good thing about the apartment with garden was that it was outrageous expensive about 10 years ago and I had to use all my savings, sell all my equities and take out a genourmous mortgage to afford it. My former boss back then just told I should not worry as everyone in banking will make more money than they can spend. Then came 2008… The good thing was that I had no assets which could go down apart from my real estate which somehow doubled in price since then. As always better be lucky than good.
My son actually never used it and his soccer career stopped after a couple of weeks when he found out that it is quite exhausting to train 3 times a week. But this year I found a way to lure him into the outside by installing a decent wifi connection. So he is at least breathing fresh air when he is watching youtube. So a pro gamer career is hopefully under way. I can hang out with some 15 year old nerds in Singapore when he is playing the finals. Well its not the Championsleague final in Wembley but one must become modest.
The actual topic was about gardening which everyone says help you to relax and get calm. I was carrying 30 bags of bark mulch for about 1 hour and felt not only calm but also outright tired. My other experience I really like is to hang out with all the other wannabe gardeners who wait infront of the door to get the best plants imported from frigging somewhere. I always go there as early as possible to reduce the waiting time to a bare minimum. Today I managed 15 minutes which included loading the bags in my car.
I usually go for a run or long walk on Saturdays but to be honest the two hour bag carrying was better than anything else. Unless you want to win some races I also think that you better spend your time working in your home, garage, weekend shed or helping in the neighbourhood. Not only you are doing something healthy you are also doing something good. No one cares if you finish a marathon in 3 or 4 hours. You wont win it anyway, but you will be liked in the hood or even better by your family if you help out.
Bragging over a beer how hard you work to make it look so nice with your buddies when they come over to your garden is of course the other important part.
Garden hard, party harder!
Over the last years I turned really old and at almost 44 I realized that life is almost about everything. To master life I tried to become an expert in almost everything and want share my thoughts on different aspects we all struggle (or at least I do). I will try to share my almost expert advises on a weekly basis and I do hope you will enjoy them. If you do, please write a comment, if I can be bothered I might answer them.
I will write about stuff which I experience as a husband, father, banker, tennis coach, wine lover and food eater. Sometimes I travel to strange places and hang out with locals which can also be somthing I might share unless it is too embarassing. A post should normally take more than 120 seconds to read as this is usually the time I read some my self. Apart from my own life I intend to steal ideas from podacasts, TED talks or anything I get my hands own. Most of the time I will support my views with a selfie or another strange picture. Someone told me that this will help to get my blog popular. I have no idea.
My goal is to entertain you a bit and help me to get some order in my weired mind. I also apologise for any mistakes you may find. English is not my native language and I cannot be bothered to spend too much time on spelling mistakes. I hope you will still enjoy the blog.
To finish off I will quote my fellow countryman whose English is about my level:
I’ll be back