President’s Message – A New Year to Appreciate!
By Frans Hansen, President, The Cruise Web.
It was a little painful bending over to tie my shoes this Monday morning. It’s all good, though. I was just sore from playing pond hockey two days in a row, three to four hours per day, with my two young boys. Ponds don’t often freeze over thoroughly in the Washington, DC area, and last year when our pond did, it was ‘un-skateable’ with three to five feet of snow on it. This weekend it was skateable and we jumped on the opportunity, bringing out the old ice skates and hockey sticks.
Plopping down for breaks between our unofficial hockey ‘periods’, it was easy to appreciate the scene of a beautiful glistening frozen pond speckled with skating and laughing neighborhood children, all surrounded by winter woods. I plan to do much more of this. No, don’t worry lower back — not to play ice hockey three to four hours every day. It’s my 2011 New Year’s resolution to appreciate everything. This may sound easy enough for someone as fortunate as me — someone who has beautiful and healthy children, his own health, loving family, great friends, a successful business, superb company managers, wonderful employees, and a nice home in a terrific neighborhood that’s part of an outstanding school system.
Actually, when I write it out, it’s clear that I would have to be crazy not to appreciate all that I have! Still, there is that inexplicable side of human nature lurking inside every one of us that is never satisfied and that always craves what it doesn’t have: bigger success, higher race titles, fancier toys, better fitness, more friends … less stress, minimal chores, fewer family issues, easier work … and so on. Every tabloid magazine and gossip news show in the country is littered with examples of people who seem to have everything, yet are still quite obviously grasping for more.
In 2011, instead of wanting this or that, I am appreciating this and that! I will still work hard to make The Cruise Web stronger, I will still parent my best to help my children learn and grow, and I will still seek to experience new things. The difference is in the mindset to appreciate and enjoy the trying and the seeking, instead of rushing through these moments in order to get to somewhere I am not.
Being in the middle of nature, especially when you have the opportunity to watch unique wild animals in their habitats, is also a very easy way to come to appreciate a moment. For some, the simple act of looking at a beautiful tiny flower can raise an appreciation for nature, and spur a feeling of joy. For the rest of us who are often ‘too busy’ for these simple appreciations, it can take more: a frisky three foot salmon jumping a few feet from your Alaskan salt-water kayak; three elegant bald eagles soaring above the trees; a curious big brown bear peering out at you above the reeds; a nurturing humpback mother whale and her calf coming up for air; all of these sightings definitely qualify as that special ‘more’! And while ‘pond hockey’ may top our list of favorites so far in 2011, these incredible wildlife encounters from our last cruise vacation to Alaska will forever stay atop my boys’ and my all-time list.
I hope that each of you will find appreciation and joy in your friends, loved ones, and surroundings every day in 2011. Should you have the good fortune to visit wildlife up close and personal in another part of the world this year, I am most sure that no efforts to the contrary will be able to contain your appreciation and enthusiasm! Happy New Year!
Frans G. Hansen
The Cruise Web, Inc.