It’s a strange feeling, celebrating milestones under lockdown. 25 years ago today, I married my wonderful wife Mandy.
What’s also strange is that I’m not at all sad that things have worked out this way. If the last few months under lockdown have taught me anything, it is to appreciate the little things – and that family is extraordinarily precious.
If you would have told me, at the start of the year, that I would be spending four months inside my home with my wife 24/7, and living with my four children for the first time since they were all at school, I would have laughed at you. “I need to travel to see customers,” the old me would have said. “There will be so many arguments. We’ll tear the house apart.”
The reality has been totally different.
I have loved every minute.
This pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many people, families and organisations. It’s a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Yet that has only made me feel more grateful, more blessed for the people I love.
I love our new life. I work in the lounge and Mandy is next door in the dining room. We pop in and out, and always sit down to have tea together – usually with the kids too. Before lockdown, I can’t remember the last time I made it home in time for the evening meal. I was always working till 7 or 8 o’clock.
I used to travel constantly, hopping on trains and planes to visit customers. Now, when I think of all that unproductive time spent travelling, and the carbon footprint, I shudder.
Being at home has been a revelation. I start work earlier but I have the flexibility to take a coffee break with Mandy and finish work in time to relax in the evening. Meetings over Teams are structured and to the point. Everything you lose in banter and small talk you gain in productivity.
Sometimes, my son Joseph brings his Playstation into my “office”. He’s got headphones in, so the noise doesn’t disturb me, and I love having him around all day.
Mandy and I have always made a great team, both at home and at the office – she worked with me at my last business, Masternaut, too. But this experience has only increased my admiration for her, and all she does.
Back when I was spending long hours at the office, and she was at home juggling lead generation for the business alongside looking after the kids, it was easy to miss how hard she works, and take her talent and energy for granted. Now, I see all that she does, and the amount she packs into her day. We’re both workaholics but when we work side-by-side, it never feels like work.
She is so perceptive, a great listener, and remembers all the details that I forget! I’m a better businessman with Mandy around.
So, yes, I’m celebrating our 25th anniversary under lockdown. But in many ways, this is a gift; the best anniversary present I could wish for.
This blog is dedicated to you Amanda Port, an incredible wife and mother, and a vital member of the team at BigChange. Happy anniversary. I love you.