If we all decided to take stock of the time we invest in our relationships, compared with the time we invest in professional advancement, earning income, getting ahead, earning a recognizable name for ourselves, and achieving our ‘dreams’, what would we learn? I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a seriously challenging question.
As I type this, I’m sitting on a train from Manchester, UK, bound for London. One of my sons, Joel, is sitting across from me for this 2-hour train ride. We flew from the USA individually and connected at Manchester Airport a few days ago. We’re in the UK for several days to watch football…soccer to my North American friends. We made plans to watch two games on successive weekends, and just before we left, we decided to watch two more. This ‘adventure’ required a great deal of planning, and I can’t thank Joel enough for all the work he put in to make this ‘dream’ a reality.
I am a Manchester United fan, and Joel is a Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) fan, both of whom play in the Premiere League, the highest level in the UK. Manchester plays at home in Manchester, and Spurs plays at home in London. First, we had to decide which games we would watch, and Joel researched the schedule, finally deciding on the most convenient weekends. We chose to fly to Manchester and watch there first, then London the following weekend, partly because Manchester is a lot less busy airport than London Heathrow. We decided on booking tickets with an ‘experience’ of both clubs, as well as tours in both Manchester and London. I have to admit, Joel did a LOT of the legwork here. Purchasing game tickets is not that simple. One has to register for a membership to purchase tickets, and so said, so done. We don’t live in the same city, or the same state, so coordinating travel was another interesting piece of the puzzle. We finally found flight itineraries that would have us both arriving in Manchester about 40 minutes apart. Then we had to select accommodations and we opted for Airbnb. We also discussed and selected activities, tours, and museum visits in both cities, and created an itinerary. We paid for as much as we could in advance, including train tickets, knowing that we would likely use UBER, walk, or take the tube for ground transportation. Joel even created a spreadsheet mapping out our entire trip. A couple of days before we left the USA, Joel suggested that we watch two additional games, from a lower league, bringing the total to FOUR games. Cool!
On our second night, we met and dined with fellow football fans from a Facebook football group. We had chatted back and forth for what…a year…and finally connected for a proper English meal of corned beef hash at a famous eatery in Manchester. We toured the famous Old Trafford Stadium, home of Manchester United, the Football Museum and visited the famous Classic Football Shirts store as well.
This experience is far from over, with activities planned in London, perhaps including a visit to a Toastmasters club! However, the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of this experience, is the wonderful opportunity to MAKE MEANINGFUL MEMORIES with my son Joel. He’s over 30, and this is long overdue. We planned this trip TOGETHER. We decided on activities TOGETHER. We continue to experience this TOGETHER. And we will have the MEMORY of this trip for the rest of our lives.
I’m not suggesting that you take a football trip with your loved ones, but I AM encouraging you to take the time, make the plans, invest the money, and exert the effort to make memories with the people that you love. The plans need not involve international travel. They can be as simple as a day away from home, walking on a beach, going to a festival or any number of activities. The key is that you do it TOGETHER, and make memories as you do it. Let’s keep working to maintain a healthy balance between personal pursuits and nurturing our relationships. Let’s MAKE MEMORIES!