Greg Owen


Looking back to look deeper within

There’s nothing quite like the isolation of a pandemic and a bit of extra space to bring you back to the things you’ve been putting off for some time. I’ve made a few unsuccessful attempts to write in the past, so I’m giving it another go.

Like many of us, living through the COVID-19 crisis and being forced to slow down has offered a welcomed pause from the rush and some much needed time to take stock. It’s been such a disruption to the regular rhythms of life that I’ve found myself starting to ask more and more questions about what life could look like when all returns to normal. I don’t think it’s a case of just picking up where we left off, this time has changed me and I’m wondering what I need to leave behind, what to hold onto and what to introduce.

There’s plenty of surface level things that could change but I’ve noticed something a little deeper going on in me over this time. I’m reconnecting with the things that I’m most passionate about that have been buried of late. I mean they’ve probably been there the whole time, just buried and squashed by the fullness and pace of life that comes with having three daughters, each with their own thing; a wife who’s rediscovered her own thing, and the daily responsibility of running a business, keeping clients happy and the relentless pursuit of progress – the gift of 21st century capitalism. Let’s just say it’s been a welcomed pause!

It’s not that I’m unhappy or discontent in any way really, I’m privileged in so many ways, but I’ve become acutely aware that at a deep level I’ve lost my spark. I don’t know where or when it went, but filling less time with busyness I find myself musing again on the things I’m most inspired by and passionate about that have led me to where I am in the first place.

Passion means different things to different people but I’m talking about the kind of passion that lies deep at the core of who we are. The passion that fuels us to live and act in a certain way. The passion that lives in our belly and compels us to make our unique contribution in the world.

Throughout my life I’ve always been aware of and driven by my passions and it has really guided the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve lived my life so far. It’s lead me to independently move to Canada just after my 16th birthday; have a long and successful career as a professional ice hockey player; get married young; start a family young; hold two jobs whilst studying full-time; represent my country just shy of 50 times; and start a business to ‘do things differently’. It’s the passion that as a 10 year old kid would keep me on the driveway for hours on end, shooting hoops or shooting pucks against the garage door, perfecting my favourite sports and dreaming of one day becoming the next Steve Yzerman.

It’s helpful to look back and be reminded of a version of myself that was passionate about what I was doing and where I was going. My professional sports career forms a huge part of my identity. I lived it, and came out the other side with a wealth of experiences that shapes who I am today. That came to an end and I’ve found new energy and passion as a designer, co-founding and running my own studio.

But today, as I take stock of where I am and how things are I have to be honest and say I’m not particularly energised or passionate. So what now? What needs to shift? Like most things in life, the answers aren’t obvious. Something needs to change, new realities need to be imagined and inspired. The first step to finding that spark again is to commit and share my thoughts on paper (metaphorically speaking) in an attempt to articulate and stir something in me.

And this is the start, an honest appraisal of where I’m at. Where it goes from here remains to be seen. My words will follow my thoughts so expect chaos and random threads of consciousness. But I promise, to myself more than anything, to be as open and articulate as I can. I’m a work in progress and what I hold out to you is fragile, so please be kind :)