Friday, 27 December 2013

Family - Bah Humbug Warning

Lady Diana Spencer aka Princess Diana or Lady Di.  Now there's a name or three we all know.  No matter how old you are, even if you weren't alive in her lifetime, most people will know that name. She is famous not only for her position within the English Royal Family, but for the Humanitarian opportunities that position afforded her. The cute penguin picture above comes from a website that is a list of quotes from many people, and also lists many of the wonderful things Lady Di said. Some profound, some sentimental and some just sounded wonderful, because she said them.  People listened to her, they loved her.

This is why I wish she had said something more than this about family, something realistic.

What if you have no family.  What if your friends are the only constant you have in your life?  When it comes to the crunch, where do you fit in "that" family? What if you are not a part of the "huddle" depicted above?
It is wonderful to have good friends. I know. I'm blessed with many good friends. *Waves to those who I have heard from over Christmas*

I have lifelong friends that make it feel like we've never been apart when we get together, friends I've met at work and still keep in touch with despite life changes and location, friends who have been brought in to my life through common denominators and who have been great strength and support for me, friends who share many of life's woes with me and we support each other; I have many friends.

Friends, not family.

So when people say (and believe) that family is the most important thing in the world, where does that leave me and people like me?

I can tell you.

You are never the first person they phone with good news like the announcement of an engagement, wedding, pregnancy; on the other side of that, I suppose it is a good thing, you will never be the person to get "that" phone call either.

When your friends have family functions, you always hear about them, later, and how wonderful they were and how much fun was had and how happy everyone was. Or, in this day and age, you get to see the photos on Facebook.

Precious moments of "drop in" and visit never happen, people always plan to see their friends, make appointments, plan an outing.

When you fight with friends, they don't have to be your friend anymore. When you reconcile with friends, the relationship is scarred, it is never the same and there is no pressure from within any structure for it to be repaired, it's just you and your friend.

You very rarely hear families say, oh well, if he/she (brother/sister, Uncle/Aunt) is going to be like that, you are better of without him/her in your life. Again, the pressure from within is there persisting with the value of that family relationship and being part of a bigger whole.

WHY NOW? WHY THE FUCK NOW?  I hear you ask .... Come on Sandra, we are all still trying to get our colons to work properly after the feast that was, wallowing in the glow of over indulgence and simply being spoilt by our loved ones ... We are getting ready to make ourselves sick again, and try to stay up until midnight for the fireworks! We are away, on holidays, with our families ..... OOOOOOOHHHHHHH, now you get it.

This concept is what I ponder at this time of year, every year, because it is said, about this time of year ... "It's all about spending time with your family, being together.".

I've taken to just saying to people "We don't do Christmas", "We're not Christians" etc in response to the questions, 1. How was your Christmas Day? 2. What did you do? 3. Did Santa come? 4. What did you get? 5. Are you going away? 6. What are you doing for New Year? At least people who know me have learnt to be polite and not to ask about family, probably more to save themselves the embarrassment than for the emotions it may (or may not) stir in me.

Well, here are the answers.
1. I spent the day trying not to cry in front of the kids and justifying my complete disdain for the whole holiday. So, the answer is "Good!" Since I didn't actually cry at any point.
2. We slept in until about 10am, we sat around for most of the rest of the day, we all had showers, we went for a drive, we came home, we had dinner and we all went to bed.
3. No, Santa never actually comes, he is a lie, a marketing ploy.
4. Here's what we got ... that will save me having to recite the list again! (See pic below)
5. Ummmm, No ...
6. I will be in bed by 11pm.

So, I suppose you are all wondering what gem I will pull from my repertoire to make this seem like there is a Happy Ending .... well there is, NOW you are all more aware that not everyone has what is considered a "Normal" Christmas.

Now, maybe when you, out of habit, ask that friend of yours, your colleague, the woman at the check out in Coles what they did for Christmas, you might consider, the answer may not be what you expected. Loneliness is a feeling that people experience all, year, round. It doesn't go away on "special days", those days are special because of the experience of the day, and if you have nobody to share that experience with, well ...

Christmas, Easter, New Year etc etc, are different for everyone, and while our Christmas seems to have been one nobody would want, it was ours, and, despite all else, we have a roof over our heads, we did not starve to death, we weren't bombed nor was our house ransacked or set on fire, like the reality of people in various parts of the world, so, we still have much to be grateful for. So there ...
In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable. John Steinbeck

Friday, 20 December 2013

Where is the Humanity?

There was a time I knew, when people organically cared about each other. I remember a neighbourhood of friends, not neighbours.  I still have many of those friends. We still care about each other. We may not live near each other, but when times are tough, we take the time to let each other know we care, and when times are good we rejoice together. We do what is within our power to do, we always empathise.

Empathy is something that does not seem to exist in some people, sadly, people who have the power to do good not evil, often lack that sense of empathy. Take for example the situation with Asylum Seekers here in Australia, the abuse and bombings of citizens in Syria, the withholding of Human Rights for GLBTIQ in Russia and the ensuing punishment for breach of their inhumane laws, and many, many more atrocities all around the world.

Some, we hear very little of they are so unbelievable. Even if we had heard an illegal or embarrassed whisper, we would be unlikely to believe it. Much like our history, The Holocaust and the many more mass executions that have taken place since WWII. Who would have believed the attacks in Syria if it weren't for this age of digital photography and media? We could not see the Holocaust during WWII, so people simply chose to not believe that human beings could be that destructive, that cruel and murderous to other human beings.

Unfortunately, that is the result of a mass mentality pushed in the direction of evil, not good.

I found this wonderful video today that I believe we all need to watch.
It talks about the evolution of human empathy. It addresses how we influence others and most importantly, it talks about where we find ourselves today.

Take the time to watch it. The second part of this post can wait for another day.

My Happy ending will be when the tipping point gains momentum and the world finds empathy again.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Where I thought I would be ...

When I wrote THIS POST just over a year ago now, I really believed it.

Some of it I can still believe ...

I know I have had another year of learning about myself, mostly things that have helped me to understand myself, and love and forgive myself for many things.
I know I am very proud of my children and I love them dearly.
I know I am grateful for what I do have.
I know, once again, that I have what it takes, and I can do what I need to do.

I am not however, exactly where I saw me being and once again, I will be glad to see this year end.

In Scotland they celebrate the last day of the year, Hogmanay, and express this celebration with a tradition of "out with the old and in with the new", First Footing symbolises this and marks the opportunity for blessings of good luck on the home.

It is a time for new beginnings, of leaving behind the old and embracing the new, it is a time of hope and dreams for the future.

So once again, at this time of year, that is where I am at.  I am at a place of dreams for the future because planning never seems to quite work out for me ....

Yes, the Happy Ending for me will be when I have enough stability in my life to enable me to plan a solid future for me and my children.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

How much social media do you do?

Today I took some time out to have a quiet coffee and regroup. 

As I sat down at my table in the Cafe, I noticed the local paper. Wow, can't remember the last time I read an actual real newspaper!

I flicked through. I savoured the sound the pages made as I turned them, the smell of the ink on the rustic paper, the feel of the rough texture only a newspaper has, the need to at times wet your fingers to separate the pages so to turn only one at a time. Heaven forbid I should miss the best story. 

My mind wandered off a bit as I perused the images that sprang from the pages. I really do spend a lot of time on my digital devices, I started to wonder if the electronic subscription trial I had just undertaken might be best converted to a hard copy subscription. 

My attention was caught again by an interesting local piece of news that was both refreshing and heart warming. It confirmed to me that I really do spend far too much time on social media, when I raised my hand and moved it toward the article, only to realise I was looking for the "like" button!

Do you ever consider cutting back on your computer time?  Should we be getting out more IRL?  Do you enjoy the tactile experience of holding a real newspaper, magazine or book?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Still in need of a Landlord!

Just thought I would update you all as to our housing situation.

I am frantically trying to find properties to inspect that may (or may not) suit LJs needs.

I have a few inspections lined up around Wollongong of properties that have been listed on the popular dot com sites, but of course, at this time of year, competition will probably be fierce with the University population in turnover mode.

I have had a bit of feedback from my first Community Call Out post, you remember? This One

ABC TV/Radio have interviewed me, but the TV version of that interview will not air until a bit later this week.  I have had reports of people hearing me on radio, so hopefully, a Landlord may hear me too.

In the meantime, I ask again, if you know anyone who has an investment property or a few, in the area, or you know someone who knows someone, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ... put them in touch with me.

Thank you all once again, my wonderful online community!

Happy Ending here will be my boys and I are settled in and able to put up a humble Christmas tree in time for Christmas Day in our new home.

Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.
Jim Rohn