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Alex

Three Abstractions – Part III (Death)

Dear Death,

You, of all of you, I fear the least. I welcome you with open arms, you are an end to the torment of love and time.
You do not scare me, I have accepted you.
If life has taught me anything, it’s that death is certain and we will meet, eventually.

Dear Death, I’m coming for you.

 

How beautiful is it to live in a world where nothing lasts forever. We must learn to fall in love with the love inside us, only then will every living moment be worth dying for. – r.m.drake

Three Abstractions – Part II (Time)

Dear Time,

You are the longest thing we have, and we do not have enough of it. I fear that I will run out of time before I can accomplish that which drives everything inside me.
We all fear you the most, we fear that we will always run out of time. It does not matter if it’s a second, minute, a day or even a year. We will feel as though we have not used you as intended and make us pay the price. But we will only realise this when it’s too late.
You are everything to those who look to the future, and nothing to those who not care about the past.
You are everything to those who look to the past, and nothing to those who not care about the future.

Dear time, I fear you, but I’m coming for you.

One day, you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle flat. And maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile back at you and welcome you home. – r.m. drake

Three Abstractions – Part I (Love)

Dear Love,

You are in every fabric of the universe, in the air, the trees, in anything you can touch, see and hear, and those you cannot. You are snow on Mount Everest, when we feel it we are at our highest. You are also the mud in the dead sea, without it, we are at our lowest. When we are on top of the world you remind us to stay hopeful, when we are at our lowest you give us hope.

I have loved, and I have loved hard. Only to be returned with hurt time and time again, yet you cannot feel what you are and that is the difference between you and I. Why do you do this to me? There has been nothing but forgiveness and giving.
With every new breath, love starts all over again, is equally spread and just as hard as the time before. I love you, but I also fear you, pondered never endlessly. Waiting for that moment to happen all over again and bring the world crashing down, like you have done to be me before.

Dear Love, I love you, but I also fear you.

Maybe I love too much and maybe I show it too little. – r.m. drake

Mirror mirror on the wall…

There should always be time for self reflection, be it how you go in a job, your personality, your goals, and even relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy parts with life, people pulling you left and right, the constant stream of work that needs to get done because of demands. Always make time for yourself to wind down, and always make time to reflect on how these things are progressing, and if they suit you.

It came to the forefront of my mind recently, that while I’m busy doing other things that I feel I need to do, prioritise or want to get done. It can come at a sacrifice to others, their well-being, headspace and health in general. Three things come to mind now, my commitments to the cricket club, voluntary commitments to others that I may help in some form or another, and also my own headspace being caught up with whatever may be bothering me. Those examples are that I was tipping a lot of time into getting the cricket clubs season up and running, I was also helping a friend who was doing some fundraising for Beyond Blue to create awareness of depression and anxiety, and I was also stuck in a place where I felt I had no control over my health. Waiting on a magical pill or doctors to find some way that my Fibromyalgia could have it’s symptoms reduced, instead of trying things on my own.

The problem with these is that while I was helping someone to raise awareness of depression and anxiety, I wasn’t paying the attention I should have to the woman I love and care about. Going through the same battle herself, it drips in irony. While I wasn’t completely shut off from this, sometimes taking action may be what’s needed to help them, to show that you’re paying attention to what’s going on with them and know that they are fighting a battle. But that they aren’t fighting the battle alone, they will have the support, love and care they need behind them through a tough time. They can’t see an end to it, that’s what the people for love and support are for, to show them that there is light at the end and things will be better.

Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up. – Alfred Pennyworth

It’s these kind of events that you need to take a step back, and realise that family, and people you love. Come first. They will, and have been the ones there when you’ve needed it. The ones you’re comfortable with, the one you can laugh and cry with. The one who will tell you during the bad times that things will get better, and enjoy the moment when the good times are there.

I was caught up in my own headspace trying to fix myself, knowing that there was nothing I could do to control it and didn’t offer any logical support, and that was a shitty thing to do. It’s something to learn from, something to take on board and self reflect from.

This is certainly the first relationship where I’ve found something close to “opposites attract” and is actually true. While there isn’t a great deal in common when it comes to hobbies and things we enjoy. There’s a certain comfort that comes from it, no expectations to be anyone we are not. Just ourselves. It’s fun and a good place to be in. Enjoy the simple things, like tea and custard tarts, and the odd arse crack and fart on Snapchat.

Your ego is a depreciating asset

“If it drives, flies, floats or fucks – lease it.” – Spencer Strasmore (Ballers)

At first, I giggled, and then found it crude. But also true to some sense. This is something that’s thrown around a lot by wealthy divorced men, I am neither rich nor divorced. But I do understand why those people have said about leasing assets like cars, planes, and boats. It’s solid investment advice. If I think about investing I find there are only two types to myself, financial and moral.

For those who want a financial investment, they will put money into to profit when getting money out.

If life has taught me anything, its that two things are certain. Life itself is followed eventually by death. As morbid as it sounds if I was going to make any investment for financial gain I’d look at education and health care. People must be educated and developed, and we continue to populate the planet. But we also die and have a heavy fixation with staying alive as long as possible.

I remember sitting at a cafe having my lunch and overhearing a conversation about a financial adviser and someone else selling life insurance “just in case something happens”. I can tell you this, death will happen. It’s unavoidable.

A lot of businesses in the health and education sector base their model around government grants and funding, which can be bad given it can be pulled out from under their feet at any time. This can lead to job cuts and businesses closing. There’s government funding into privatised schools and all the early learning centres that seem to pop up on every corner lately. While they a private business, they still receive government funding and base a lot of what they do off receiving that.

If you take a look at someone like Elon Musk, he continues to fund a lot of his own projects with his own money. So only he ends up out of pocket if something falls on its arse. That’s entrepreneur 101, risking your own money for financial gain or losing it. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean adding it to your Instagram bio and telling all your mates you have a great idea. You might have a great idea, but you’re more likely binge watching shows on Netflix, on your parents’ couch in track pants, covered in Dorito crumbs and wondering how you’ll pay off that Arts degree.

Elon Musk started PayPal, which he sold. Now he tips his own money into his own investments like Space X (Privatised space exploration), The Boring Company (looking to reduce gridlock by going up and down in high traffic areas… Bladerunner anyone?), and Telsa. Which produce Electric motor vehicles and batteries for home, which are all pushing against the grain of the government. Could you imagine living in a world with houses off the grid with batteries and solar panels? or electric cars with no emissions being able to go under and over large freeways without roads? (flying cars!). So next time you think about calling yourself an entrepreneur, maybe think again?

I like to invest my time in people, while it can end in disappointment. I like to see people in small business reach their goals or do something that makes them happy, and enjoy their time while they work. I have no interest in people who don’t want to help others or just make money to show it off. It’s all about inflating their ego so they can feel bigger and better than other people.

Swoots are for Snoots

Success… should mean never having to wear a suit. I hate suits, they are uncomfortable, expensive, impractical and wearing a tie is just plain horrible.

Why should success in a business-world be determined by what we wear? Why should our success be determined by likes, looks, or how much money we make? Maybe our success should be determined by our happiness, the value that one can get and give out of our day jobs. You could be earning millions, but still not be happy or find yourself fulfilled and satisfied with your job.
Maybe a dollar sign isn’t what drives you to do what you do, maybe seeing a smile on someone’s face is. We all do the nine to five grind because it is comfortable and familiar.

Are people too caught up in producing a brand that they have forgotten about identity? Have we forgotten what a human touch is? There is too much in the world now that has a lack of face, a lack of humanity to it. It’s a sterile and uncomfortable environment.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann

Don’t be ashamed to be selfless and do something that makes you happy. If sitting in front of the white backlight of a computer screen no longer makes you happy, then change the things around you. People sacrifice doing what makes them happy to do what they think is right. That job as an accountant might pay well, but you’re busy dreaming about building things in your shed out of timber and getting paid to do it. The smells of the hardwoods, the oils and machinery, every time you cut into the grains and ready to create your next piece that lasts a lifetime. Now back to the reality of that co-worker who marinated in cologne this morning, people demanding you like you have a clone so you can be in two places at once. It’s nice being in demand, but not too unrealistic expectations. This is not Star Wars and this is not Attack of the Clones, there is only one of us.

When I was five years old, my Mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.” [-]

With an impending career change on the horizon, the motivation behind it comes from personal experience. I no longer want to meet peoples unrealistic demands, but I’d rather do something I enjoy that has a positive impact on those I want to work with. I want to make people smile when they feel like they are helping the greater good, and reaching their full potential. It’s my own personal agenda, to help everyone reduce today’s footprint for tomorrows little feet.

The whole idea of a career change is to cultivate a career around my wants and needs of a lifestyle. The wants of a career to what and who I deal with, as well as the needs to be flexible for my health and working with like-minded passionate people. At the end of it, I’ll feel happy when I can work contently in a location that does not have the interruptions of the busy city, nine to five grind. Somewhere I can work quietly amongst the green scenery.  I prefer the quiet over chaos, I want my own time and not to be everyone else’s time. The perfect fit, not the perfect result.

Minimalism, for art thou savior!

Dear Friends, Do you have a moment to talk about Minimalism?

Dear Friends,

I love you. I’m picky with my friends. I’m picky about who I spend my time, and my efforts on. Is it from getting old and becoming wise? From the repeated disappointment that comes from the expectations placed on one another? You are my friends, you are a place I can bury my thoughts, my insecurities, to vent when I have a bad day, to seek advice from when I need it.

You all do the same, to vent, to ask advice, to bury your thoughts and insecurities. You are all capable of doing much more, you are in control of your life. If there is something that no longer makes you happy or suits its purpose, change it. It may feel like you have a lot at stake, but the fear of what is on the other side is holding you back. The “what if’s”. Change it anyway. Only until you make a change will you see the benefits after, regardless of the risk.

“If you no longer go for a gap which exists you are no longer a racing driver” – Ayrton Senna

My friends, do you have a moment to talk about minimalism?

Do you ever feel weighed down? And I’m not talking about the big things, the small things, the ones that each time something happens it adds a little bit more to the pile. More weight, more problems (Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems). It will keep adding and adding until eventually, you break. The straw that broke the Camels back.

Life is complicated, life is stressful. But it doesn’t have to be, you’re allowed to make it simple. You are allowed to have a simple, loving, fulfilling life. You are allowed to simplify everything. This includes your friends, family, work, and your commitments. You are allowed to say no.

Minimalism has its benefits, and I’m not going to go all ‘preachy, preachy’ praise minimalism, on you. We, as humans, are only equipped to handle so much, and some things we are not able to handle at all. Simplify a number of aspects of your life that you need to manage and then learn ways to manage the aspects you can’t. You will have extra time to do so, it’s time to start investing in yourself and your well-being. Invest in your growth, and make investments with your time. Don’t waste the time on people who do not help you grow, or stomp on your voice.

People are a great stressor in life, regardless of who a person is to you. There are always complications regardless of the type of relationship. If the relationship is no longer making you happy, reassess if it is right for you and then remember. You do have a voice.

 

Consumption Conshmumption

While I enjoy the consumption of things like coffee and endless hours of test match cricket. I’m not so fond of consumption of material possessions, or maybe the act of consumption.

Recently my Dad asked me about going overseas to see relatives, neither he or I have met from my Grandfathers side. Dad is pushing 70, so I see it as an opportunity to travel but also give him some assistance in being on the first plane in 30 years or so.

But when you’re asked if you want to go to Scotland, the first thing that comes to mind is “fuck, it’s gonna be cold”, and rightly true. To put this in perspective, I’ve been trimming down my clothes slowly. I’d rather have a few good items that do it well, than a lot that I might use occasionally. A jacket is one I’ve struggled with, I’ve thrown out several in the process that no longer fit, never wore or don’t like and I’m left with mainly hoodies. I went and bought a cheap jacket for $25 as it was Winter, and my previous one was broken. I needed to not be wet or cold given I’m in and out the car a lot. It was ok, but not particularly warm. I start searching and find a good quality jacket that will do all of the above. Warm, waterproof, durable. Like any jacket should be, and also more expensive but I’ll consider it a long term investment. While continuing my search for a jacket Mrs.E find me one that’s good on sale, fantastic! Warm, comfy, looks good and fits nicely.
But I still look for a jacket that’s a bit more suiting. I find another jacket on sale cheaply while looking for jeans and pick that up, I’m not sure why and now it feels like useless consumption. It fitted when I tried it on, but wasn’t the greatest fit when I started wearing it and needing to do something in it. Not everyone is built the same.

The disappointing thing was during this time I was also making a lot of purchases, I’m not entirely sure how necessary they were. But I was on a roll with the trigger finger and watching my bank balance deplete quicker than an Aus Post overnight express delivery. A shower caddy for the (little) stuff I have in my shower, my justification? Picking them off the floor with a dodgy back and a chronic illness starts to get a bit tiring. I’ve noticed it more going off my medication lately. My choice was to buy something a little more earth-friendly, so I got one made of Bamboo.

A new dish rack for when I wash my dishes, the old one is funky and falling apart and leaves crap on the sink. So I got one made of bamboo. I bought first aid kits as I keep cutting myself lately and running upstairs for a band-aid while bleeding isn’t a great idea in a rental. A second to go in the office, because I cut myself at work. More books as gifts, tea infusers so I stop using tea bags and also other people I know. Random gifts for shits and giggles. I also bought a vintage cricket bat, which well… I like looking at them. Cricket is something I’ve always valued.

I’m still trudging my way through The Minimalists book, and I’m up to a part about where Joshua got to a point where he stopped buying things and tried to see how he lived without them. Which I think maybe is something I need to try. Less buying, and more selling of the crap I don’t use around the house (I also refurb old PC’s from work and sell them off and they are everywhere at the moment). I think long term, I need to buy less, offload shit, and reassess my funds. I’ve dipped into my savings account too much lately for purchases, and also some that have come back to bite me in the backside (like a laptop that was gutless). I’ll need to be more thoughtful with my choices for purchases, I guess I “fell off the wagon” when it came to it recently.

Maybe I’ll give that no purchase thing a go for a while… except for coffee.

Death of Community Sport

One thing I’ve aimed to do is to make more time for friends, not just when I need friends but also when it sounds like they need it too. Sometimes it can be a vent about life’s frustrations or to switch off and have a conversation that isn’t related to work.

During one of my regular activities with a mate involving a few cheap pints on a Thursday evening, we drifted into our usual conversation on a passionate topic. The game of cricket. But before I bore you like a mid 90’s 5-day test match. Hang around and read on.

We both have a love for the game of Cricket, it’s a gentlemen’s game that requires patience and also timing. It also requires a large space to be played. Recently I’ve been working on a proposal with the council of where my cricket team resides about making use of their space and getting a second cricket pitch installed. After much lengthy discussion on the who, what, where and when. The conversation drifted into the use of community spaces.

Given he works in property, he’s noticed that a lot of new housing developments are designed to fit as many houses in one space. Tightly packed like sardines in a tin. Rack em and stack em, but with not a lot available other than a local shopping centre and closely located small park.

Part of Australians culture is their love for sport from a small age, and we have a tendency to take the land we have for granted by building out and not up. Children will take interest in footy and cricket and want to be like their heroes. But now with recent developments packing as many houses in to get as much money as they can, they’ve neglected to have any shared community space for sports. This means as the population grows, the demand for already existing clubs will grow. I know for a fact the association that runs our cricket competition already struggles to find enough grounds and we’ve seen some turned into synthetic soccer pitches. There isn’t much left for the good old fashioned game of cricket played on turf or concrete pitches across a vast space of real grass.

If more and more developments are going to take place with a lack of open space for any local community sport, are we going to see it die out? Not only will we see sports players become scarce, we will see an incline in obesity and lack of outside activities for communities. Which is why I also think we have to protect the large open community spaces we do have, make use of them and do everything to keep them. We are currently seeing this with the surrounding areas of Glenside Hospital. A positive that it creates jobs and housing close to the city which is what people want, but we sacrifice the open space that was used by the community and also a lot of the trees in the area. Unfortunately, we are never going to end up in a perfect or reasonable world. Given most of these types of developments are run through the wheeling and dealing of the government and large companies that can line their pockets, we won’t see any extra trees planted for the ones they cut down, or spaces created for sporting. Just small community parks, Glenside is an exception given that it’s so close to the surrounding parklands of Adelaide.

No one wants a death of community sport, but it’s creeping up on us.

Stretched thin

My original plan or expectation was to write at least one article a month, and now I’ve hit a speed bump only a few months in. A lack of time and being ‘stretched thin”. So to keep up with the expectation of myself to do one post per month I thought I’d write about why I haven’t had the time and also reflect on it.

The end of financial year for work certainly increases the workload for myself, while most people would find themselves busy. They may not reflect on the consequences or a “snowball effect” of being too busy. While I’m busy keeping up with the demands and expectations of clients at work, of which can also be unrealistic and unthoughtful at times. It spills out into my personal life, the house becomes a mess, things don’t get done. The dishes and washing piles up or the clean ones sit around and don’t get put away. General cleaning doesn’t get done. Clutter starts to build up on things you haven’t dealt with, the physical health is already affected and then the mental one of all the things you need to do creeps in, and starts to stress you out. Then the stress, in turn, starts to affect you physically. The majority of my week nights and weekends have been spent finishing up small bits of work to meet others expectations or resting because I have nothing left in the tank to continue. It is also my responsibility to manage these things, and also speak out when I need to with other co-workers.

It’s upon this reflection I wonder if I should look at a career change to suit my own needs and wants for the future, something that I can achieve a manageable work and life balance, that’s not going to stress or exhaust me. There’s also continued reflection that looking after myself, on my own is becoming a struggle, and it’s not something someone in their mid 30’s wants to start to deal with or think about at an early age in the life span. When work gets so busy it affects everything around it, my health and the people around me. Of which I don’t want my illness to affect anyone.

So I guess this post is to meet that expectation of a post a month, even though there’s no real content behind it. Other than to reflect that I’ve stretched myself too thin.