JENNY'S JOURNAL: On Trades & Focusing on What you CAN Control
Last January, I went to work like every other weekday. Ben was leaving later that morning on a mid-western road trip, so I said good bye and left around 6am to beat the LA traffic. For those of you who haven’t been to LA before, you can’t mention driving with complaining about the traffic. It’s almost a bragging right to see who has the longest commute to work. (And for the record, I had the longest commute at our office)
I was working at a PR agency and constantly scanning social media conversations about the brands we represented. I also had a habit of browsing hockey news, as many players or families in the league do. While sipping coffee and scrolling through Twitter, I read that the Edmonton Oilers had traded Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators. They would need a goalie to replace him, and Ben’s name was tossed into the mix.
“Are you sitting down?” Ben texted me, moments later.
“Edmonton?” I replied.
At that moment, our casual conversations of what we’d do if Ben was traded came rushing back to me. The framework of our plan unfolded; Ben called his family and I called mine. I then let my boss know I’d be moving to Edmonton in a few weeks and sat back in my chair to take a deep breath. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath us.
A lot of people ask how much warning Ben gets before a trade. That day, he was already seated on the Kings plane to St. Louis when his coach told him. He grabbed his bag and left. It’s that simple. From the moment he found out, maybe half an hour passed before the deal was announced publicly. He was given just enough time to return home, pack a bigger bag and catch a different plane to meet the Oilers in Minnesota. I said goodbye to him that morning thinking I’d see him in a week, but that week turned into six. That’s how long it took me to finish my responsibilities at work, pack up the rental house and say all my good-byes.
What I’ve learned from both playing hockey and being married to a professional hockey player is to only focus on the things you can control. I can’t control when or if Ben will get traded. I can only control how I react by picking up the pieces and moving our lives to the next city. Every spouse deals with trades differently, and I’ve learned that throwing myself into work and volunteering is the best way for me to adapt to the change and fit into a new community.
As soon as Ben signed a two-year contract extension with the Oilers in March, I began my job search. I had been in Edmonton less than a month and was already impressed with how involved Edmontonians were with local charities and non-profits. Although my previous roles were in marketing and PR, I was inspired to transition to the non-profit sector. Edmonton seemed like the perfect setting to merge my background in communications with my passion for volunteering.
Coincidentally, Ronald McDonald House® Northern Alberta was looking for a communications manager. Once I met with the team and took a tour of the House, I knew I wanted work there. I didn’t look at other opportunities or send another resume-- this was the place for me. If you are unfamiliar, what they do is provide temporary housing for families who have to travel to receive medical treatment for a sick or injured child. If you have a children’s hospital in your city, there’s a very good chance you have a Ronald McDonald House too. There are over 350 worldwide. If you haven’t visited your local House yet, I suggest you do!
When I started working in April, I met an entirely new group of people who lived the lesson I was learning about focusing only on the things you can control. I remembered the moment in January when Ben was traded. I remembered sitting back in my chair that day and thinking “Did that just happen?” and waiting for the realization to sink in. I thought I was thrust into uncertainty, but families at the Ronald McDonald House rush to Edmonton often with no diagnosis, no treatment options, and no timelines of when or if they will return home. If anyone exemplifies focusing on the things you can control, it’s them. Some days, they can control how well they eat or how much they sleep. Other days, they can only choose their attitude. And when you walk in the door of the House and are greeted by a family in crisis asking you how your morning is going, you will understand what it means to choose your attitude.
For me, I choose to live in the moment, to enjoy being in Edmonton instead of worrying about Ben getting traded and having to pick up our lives and move all over again. I’ve often considered if it’s worthwhile meeting new people and starting a new job if our time in this city is so uncertain. Is the effort and emotional toll worth my time if we’re just going to be moving again soon? But worrying about something I can’t control won’t get me anywhere, and I will end up missing opportunities, like meeting families at the Ronald McDonald House.
From all of my years on this earth, I’ve learned to not worry about the things that are out of my control, like trades and my husband maybe not making our wedding, and instead focus on what I can do.
I’d love to learn how you deal with the “trades” in your life! What motto do live by when your life is seemingly turned upside down? Tweet them at me @JenScrivs using #HockeyWives
Until next week--
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