I have been wrestling with this one for some time now. Thanks to an incredibly difficult period in my personal life last year which was the culmination of four years of stress due to a family health issue, exacerbated by the pressures of work and managing staff, I began to wonder what life was all about. My first love from a professional point of view has always been geology so wherever I go I find myself looking at landscapes, rock outcrops and soil profiles. I also keep an eye out for developments taking place as they of course are always constructed on a geological substrate, and sometimes I find myself vaguely irritated that we hadn’t been appointed to carry out the geotechnical investigation for that particular project, particularly when it is in my own backyard.
Over Christmas last year I found myself wandering down through the beautiful pass of the Garden Route, Karoo and the Western Cape. The mountain ranges are perhaps not the highest, but they are undoubtedly beautiful and I found myself in my element, ticking off the ranges – Outeniqua, Swartberg, Langeberg, Hottentots Holland, and so the list goes on. I stood at the top of the Swartberg Pass in the Christmas Eve dawn, brandished my GoPro, and marvelled at the folded and contorted strata that are so prominently visible at the summit. I scrambled up rocky outcrops at the northern entrance to Meirings Poort and inspected a large recumbent fold which we had visited back in my student days. And it was immense fun, scratching around on those ancient outcrops.
I realised that I wanted to be more involved in field work and mentoring, rather than sitting behind a lap top pushing out quotes, supervising staff and keeping a watchful eye on the cash flow. But of course one can’t neglect one’s responsibilities and some of these new resolutions were put on the back burner as the new year started out with a bang. It has been going full throttle since and it has not been without its fair share of stresses. I have however been putting systems and a team in place to improve efficiencies and remove some of the deadwood that was holding us back. These have been by and large successful and we are beginning to see the benefits of the pruning and nurturing that has taken place. However I have not forgotten those happy days in the Cape Mountains and the need to add some play in my working environment. So I have been busy building a dinosaur website for the kids, – called the DinoZone – which is available here and have registered a Geosites website which needs some work. I won’t be supplying the link for this one just yet. In addition I am going to attempt to keep up with my monthly newsletter which was so well received before I somehow lost my way a couple of years back. Finally this all has been prompted by a wonderful book by Mitch Joel called Crtl Alt Delete on how to manage the work/leisure environment and how it is playing out in our connected, networked world, and how to achieve the blend as he puts it. I have to put the blame on someone.