When the time is right

How do you know when the time is right? It can be in small things, like when to buy that blender for the kitchen because the other retired ages ago, or for big things like when to have that important conversation or when to hand the reins over on a project, or maybe even your life’s work.

It may be a public decision in your community, business or family or an inner decision that only you will ever know, but it will impact your behaviour and choices.

Our family is Danish as most of you know, and in the middle of our Queen Margrethe’s yearly New Year’s Eve speech three weeks ago, her words took a turn. Suddenly leading to what none of us had seen coming. Her choice of retiring. A very public decision indeed.

Being a King or Queen is a life’s work. Most often you know from birth that the day will come when you take over the reins as your reigning parent dies. In this case, Margrethe was only 31 years young, newly married with two small boys when her beloved dad passed away and she had to step out on the balcony, in sorrow, to take on her life’s work.

She always said and knew that she would rule till the day she died, like her colleague and friend Lizzie from across the ditch in the UK.

Therefore, it came as a total surprise, a bit of a shock to the nation, when she announced that the time was right. For her to retire and for Frederik and Mary to take the reins. With two weeks’ notice. I’m sure Fred or Frede as Danes call him had a bit of a heads-up. To not be out of the country that day.

What a wise lady. As shown many times before. Not making the wrong decision “because I’ve always said so” or because “that’s what you do”. Instead, updating her views and decisions based on her own situation and the world around her.

Every year in her speech, she has wise words to share: a pointed finger at us as Danes if we have gotten narrow-minded or shown non-inclusive tendencies. Gratitude and motherly pride are shown in other parts of our evolving culture.

She had a couple of those pointed fingers, too, this year in her 52nd speech. And then it turned personal. About her gratitude for how she had always been met with openness and kindness by the people, and how illness and a big back surgery had made her ponder. And that she had made her decision.

No leaking to the press, no umming or aaahing or making it someone else’s problem. Rumours have it, that her sons only knew 3 days before the rest of us. It was her decision to make. And she had come to her decision.

There is a lot for us to learn still from this wise woman.

We probably will get in trouble for pointing fingers as she has done; it was a privilege earned through decades of serving the country.

But it may urge us to ponder ourselves: which decisions have we got to make? No right or wrong, no change of mind because of what others may say or think. None of that mess of making it someone else’s problem. Consideration and then a decision.

All the best to King Frederik and Queen Mary on their journey of many public decisions to come with an impact on an entire kingdom.

For the rest of us, which decisions do we want to make this year? Whether public or private. Whether small or big.

Let’s not be out of the country that day or have other excuses. Let’s make them when the time is right. Decisions, decisions.

Happy New Year.