Friday, November 10, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane

I've posted this picture before, but it comes to mind once again as I pack my suitcase and prepare to leave my family behind for a few days. I captured it at Toronto's Pearson International Airport a year ago August, and it remains one of my favorites. [Click on it for the full-res version.]

This upcoming trip will be an interesting one: in and around Denver from tomorrow to Tuesday, then off to Seattle until Thursday, followed by a red eye flight to New York and Toronto before coming home early Friday morning (and presumably collapsing from exhaustion.)

I'm spending time with HP in Colorado and Microsoft at its Redmond headquarters. HP's introducing its quad-core processor machines at an event called QUADfest, while Microsoft is going deep on its enterprise search strategy. My brain's going to hurt by the time I get home.

It's the longest I've ever been away from my family, and I'm torn about everything I'll miss while I'm gone. Walks to school, tuck-ins at night, and excited hugs when I get home from work. It'll all be replaced by five solitary nights in hotels in two different cities on the other side of the continent. I'm also torn about leaving my wife alone for this long. Needless to say, she isn't pleased.

But it's what I do if I want to build my career. It exposes me to new groups of influential folks who can help me continue to expand my horizons and drive a better life for my brood. Staying home just seems like settling for the status quo. I don't do well with the status quo.

This image is one of my favorite airport scenes. It captures what I was feeling just before we turned onto the runway for our takeoff run. The images have been powerful ones for me for years: an awakening airport, a long journey ahead, a beckoning open sky, a single person sitting in the middle of it all, trying to remember what it all looks and feels like.

And wishing I could take them all with me so I wouldn't have to experience this alone.

Your turn:
Ambition vs. togetherness. Please discuss.

One more thing: I'm toting the Nikon with me. I'm hoping for some serious pictures of mountains, water, and whatever else crosses my path.


Queen of Light and Joy said...

Ambition vs. togetherness *le sigh*

When I was a little kid i watched my Dad slowly die from cancer, at the time they didn't have much in the way of medication that would improve his condition, it was more like he was a guinie pig.

The line of people who tested medication so the people who are taking cancer treatments now would have a better chance to survive.

He was a man who was able to balence work with family. He worked a in several fields from train dude, baker, to taxi cab driver, all for his family. I don't ever remember a time when i didn't feel completly loved by him. And I don't ever remember a time when I didn't feel like I was number one. He was a joy in everyones life.

I think it's possible to have ambition (and nessesary) but what extent does one follow through with that ambition? Could one take several years to fufill that ambition insted of doing it in a couple of years at the expense of the family?

Like my Grandpa always said "At the end of your life, ones never says I wish I made more money but hope that you never say I wish I spent more time with my family, because then you will have wasted more than just one life."

He was a lover-ley man... oh so much love.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Pearson. So many times I have flown into and out of you. And wondered at your inexplicable YYZ call sign. :)

An excess of either ambition or togetherness is no good. Too much of one and you turn into a Tokyo salaryman; too much of the other and you start reeeeally getting to hate the people you're with. ;)

I think the trick is to trust that each person can find their own level, like water. The spot on the balance where they are most comfortable. In the long run, everyone is happiest if you can work, and play, just the right amounts. Those who are closest to you are hopefully also the ones who understand, and love you anyway. :)

Not everyone can find their level unaided, of course. We have this chilly societal wind that wants to freeze your level higher or lower than you might want it. And we think, because society says so, that we must live like that. Some of us eventually become unhappy enough to seek outside help...a therapist, a friend...and with them reach a better balance point.

Some of us never really even understand why we are unhappy.

Here via Michele's today.

... Paige said...

There are times when one must travel with out your family. I have not had to do that. My beloved had to go out of town overnight once. It was hard for him and me too. Now that he has cancer I cherish every little moment with him. We have learned that life for so many is way too short, better to be with the ones you love then to be with out them.

utenzi said...

I have no ambition so that choice is easy for me. All I require is enough money to make my mortgage and cover the bills.

The first picture I ever saw on your blog was similar to this, Carmi. It was a shot over the wing of a plane looking out at the tarmac. This picture that you took a year ago is a lot prettier than the one I recall tho since it's taken near sunset and has the plane in the air for visual interest. Great catch.

Michele sent me again!

craziequeen said...

Fantastic photo as ever, honey.

I thought it was gonna be the tellytubby Po in the Glass photo - are you still carrying Po with you on your travels? :-)

Ambition vs togetherness? Never an easy formula to crack.....

Michele sent me here, my friend.

November Rain said...

hi from Michelle and me...

Catherine said...

Ambition vs togetherness? I'm not sure - sometimes I think I don't have much of either (though I do have a family). Life is pretty dull without brain challenges, but I'm not good at "career building". I find my challenges in different places. I don't sacrifice family for ambition, but I definitely need alone time, and don't mind if my husband is away for a while (though in the early days of our marriage he was away for four months, and that was quite another thing).
Here from Michele's.

Lazy Daisy said...

Balance in everything. When you are home (be home, fully engaged in your kids life and playmate to your wife.) When you are gone make sure you check in frequently.

You are a good dad and husband. Sending prayers your way for till you are safely back home with those you love.

Michele sent me, but I knew the way.

Moogie said...

Have a safe trip Carmi. It's so difficult to leave family. My heart aches for you. You are moving towards your goal, which will ultimately be good for your family. And they will be waiting for your return with open arms. I for one, will love to hear about your trip and see all of the wonderful photos that you take.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Better career n income will make for more future time as a family on vacation- hopefully!

Marie said...

Safe travels, Carmi... Sneak away to The Tattered Cover while in Denver if you can! It's a great bookstore!! Let me know if you need ideas for interesting places to eat -- I have a sister out that way.

Michele sent me...

Anonymous said...

I don't like pearson, it's sort of a pain to fly into and taxi around, granted some of that is due to it's being designed differently than just about everywhere else.

I joined the military not that long after we got married (I spent our first anniversary in a highly educational training program) and the job I got when I separated has away from home around 15 to 20 days a month. It's what we do, and we're used to it so it seems normal to us. I like it better, because with a few rare exceptions I'm home every week.

Before, it was possible I might not be home that year.

Michele sent me.

Catherine said...

Hi again Carmi. Michele sent me back here. And now I am going to go and post something new on my blog. Have a safe trip.

Catherine said...

And I'm back again - I have to say I find the apple in your previous post rather disturbing. Not because it isn't red, I don't mind yellow or green apples, but this one looks ill.
Michele sent me again.

srp said...

Here from Michele.
I think you've done a great job balancing home and ambition. My ex had neither, well ambition maybe, but not for the provision of his family.

So, as a single mother for .... well, forever now, I've had to do the balance on my own. The practicality of this is a life packed with the ambition of profession and ambition in raising a child. At least it made me make a schedule and stick to it and it gave my daughter the stability of knowing I would be where I said, when I said. 8 o'clock bedtimes left four or five hours to smock and sew her clothes and do other home projects.

The one thing I decided early on was that both job and home life took precedent over personal life. So, I grew content with this life without dating. I don't regret it at all.

Have a safe trip. My brother flies to Montreal tomorrow for two concert performances next week.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

It's a difficult balancing act Carmi...I have bo answers where this is concerned...I hope you have a very very safe trip my dear...

Michele sent me tonight...

And if you have a chance..there are some pictures I would love you to see...Do Drop By!

Alex said...

Im a good ole' "togetherness" kind of person. I haven't really ever had much ambition to be the high flyer. But Carmi, I am sure that you will know the balance between family and work, when you get there... :)
Here via Michele's, yet again!

David Edward said...

i am not sure if you will like denver or LOVE denver, but keep in mind that the rockies are only an hour away.
I take togetherness, never been good at ambition, yet my kids seem to have plenty. I am sure you are balancing them the best you can. G-d be with you!

Jennifer said...

Good luck on your travels. I hope the time flies by for you!

For Your Eyes Only said...

hi Carmi!

you posted on my blog a long time ago!

you look like this airplane, taking off toward what is part of your life, your own desire
you are able to face them, that's very positive
and you are coming back
it's just a few days
(cut the umbilical cord for a few days!!!)
feel good
think about the loved ones
you well beeing with them
when your not (with them)!!!