I have been contemplating what to say in this blog. By default, we tend to circle around the usual type of financial topics, hoping to offer some direction or opinion on products or planning that helps in the area of finances. After thinking about it though, I decided I’d like to share some non-financial experiences and observations that I have been through lately.
As I gaze out my office window in the midst of quite a heatwave here in Ontario (sometimes up to +45!), I am reminded how SHORT our Canadian summers are. And you can feel a real yearning spirit of freedom that seems to blow through July and August, can’t you? I encourage you to take advantage of that yearning and really ‘sharpen the saw’. Get away, change the channel that the other ten months of the year demand we subscribe to. Refresh and renew. I find that even the proverbial ‘change is as good as a rest’, truly applies. Leave a little early. Start a little later if you’re not officially on holidays. Summer lets you soak up the scarce freedom these days offer!
In June of this year, Heather and I joined our third son, Peter and his wife Sarah in Memphis TN where they live. Peter left home 10 years ago at the age of 17 to pursue a soccer scholarship at a US school. He followed his passion and ended up marrying and starting life down there. We really enjoy our short, intense visits with him and his wife Sarah. Through them, we’ve experienced southern US hospitality, sports, food, music and non-Canadian customs. Summer lets you see more of your kids’ world. With more time to be their biggest booster!
In July, we returned home from a week in Greece and the island of Crete. It isn’t hard to spend time on the Mediterranean, where we went to introduce ourselves to the parents of Stavroula, the wonderful woman our second son, Adam is going to marry. It was a whirlwind tour; hot, beautiful and so exciting to think of our own Big Fat Greek Wedding there next summer. I learned that parents’ love for their children doesn’t really differ all that much amongst nationalities and languages. Food, music, laughter, humour and conversation (with the help of our Greek-English translator daughter in law to be): we all enjoy these the world over and they seem universal, wherever you go. As a parent, I am delighted that our Canadian is warmly adopted by the Greeks and of course, vice versa. These two met in England, pursuing their archeological graduate studies. What a small world we all now live in. Summer lets you spend some extra, quality time with your kids, one on one!
This very day we await our third grand-daughter. If you haven’t experienced it, it is amazing when your children have children. We get the mulligan we always wanted for the mistakes we made as we experimented by trial and error with our own children. Son # 1, Jordan and his wife Jessica have blessed us with a window into the lives of little girls. Spending time with your kid’s kids: loving, spoiling, teaching, reminding, being delighted by and cleaning up after them: wonderful distractions, in the best ways. Summer lets you find your own distraction and dive right in for extra, with abandon!
Head to the beach. Go for a picnic, pull out the lawn chair on the deck (cottage or home, it doesn’t matter!), leave work early, take the battery out of your cell phone and go device free, plow through a good book. Whatever you do, enjoy this time and don’t let it pass without logging some rich restoration and wonderful personal memories. You’ll be glad you did. When it’s -45!
Peter Fraser CIM, FCSI, CFP, RFP
Manulife Securities Incorporated