Health and priorities
Singapore 23rd July 2010
My back is not getting any better and come Monday I will have to start some serious treatment, following my visit to the specialist today. Once you are limited in your movements and activities you realize how important good health is and how much we take it for granted! My meetings next week in India are unlikely to materialize under my current condition and I called my client preemptively today to inform him of my situation. There is no point in playing the hero, my personal health is more important. By calling him now at least has some notice to reorganize the planned meeting.
Over the years I have made some bad calls, specifically when it comes to my private life. But as you get older (and wiser) you become much clearer about the priorities in your life. There is a big cultural expectation in this part of the world that work comes first, then family and health. It is easy to get sucked into that especially when you are younger, more energetic and yet to build your career and place in society. Add to that setting up a new lighting design practice while having to assure the income for a family with school going kids and the pressure to perform may at times sway your priority decision making.
I remember a particular situation just after setting up my practice where the client sort of threatened me to kick me out of the job if I would not come to the Philippines for an important site meeting. This happened at a time that both my then wife and newly born were very sick and in need of support. Though I arranged for someone to look after them, I later felt the decision to go on the trip was not the right priority. I should have stayed home to be with my family. With “hindsight” I can say that now, but at the time it was a tough call.
As a designer and running a practice we are continuously put to the test of making decisions in regards to priority. Personal health and family no doubt has to be number one…