I have always a pretty positive person. I can say with conviction that it really doesn’t take long for me to see the bright side of things even in the midst of what some people might consider despair. I recognize that this is the result of a mixture of things that might be a little more than I have tome to list here.
I know that one benefit of this mindset is that I am always open to encouraging content. I read a lot of crime and mystery books when I was a kid, and I remember that pretty much in every case the protagonists would find themselves in difficult and seemingly impossible situations. However, through tenacity and clear minded thinking they were always able to overcome such obstacles. I see a definite parallel in the kinds of resources I draw on these days. There is a vast array of content that is chock full of real life stories of bravery and triumph over difficult odds.
In a time where everything can be found online, I fully stand by the title of this post. How can one possibly pass through life without taking time to feed their minds with the any one or more of the encouraging content that is at your fingertips? You can even search for it according to your particular passion. Name any walk of life, and I bet you can find someone that has faced similar obstacles to you and in that you will be inspired to lift yourself up and have the life you were meant to live, or at least consider the possibility.
Another important aspect is to always be aware of the attitude of those around you. I know this has been done to death, but I have not been immune to forgetting how important this is. Even more critical is being astute in selecting those you may consider entering into business partnerships with. I personally had a friend once who was also a business partner. It came to pass that at some stage he needed help in a business that I already knew a lot about, and at the time I was looking for a new project. We kind of fell in together. I should have known very early from his words and actions that it may not have been a good investment of my time or money. My idea was that I saw an opportunity to build on the success that had come along in the line of business. I threw myself into it, trying to develop new ideas and use encouragement and mentoring to hire, develop, and manage staff. He went about his day in a fog of mistrust of those we worked with, even his own wife. Conversations where filled with gossip and derision of pretty much everyone he knew, including friends.
It was a constant battle to try and instill a sense of direction in anyway, shape or form. In an attempt to transition into larger, more sustainable opportunities, I introduced him to others in my network. It wasn’t long before they were one by one refusing to continue doing business with him. This was another sign I should have heeded. In the end, we parted as business partners, but sadly, also as friends. I found it was unsustainable for me to feed his neediness at the expense of shining a light down my own personal path. In the scheme of things I am grateful for this experience. It allowed me to firmly plant a stake in the ground and be firm but fair in considering those I do life with.
Now it may not be for everyone, but I myself have found in my consumption of encouraging content that I want to share the same encouragement with others. I am in the early stages of developing my platform in this regard, and the online world provides a great vehicle for this. A large part of this will be the podcast project I am working on. Based around a travel theme related to Australia and it’s neighbors, I will also be filling it with a good amount of inspiration for the very idea and reason for travel itself. In this I get to engage two of my passions in the one format.
Along the way I will be looking for more and more opportunities to also engage in communities that I know will enhance all my efforts, but more importantly perhaps allow me the chance to reciprocate and be an active participant. Through it all I want anyone reading this to share your thoughts and provide your stories. Never doubt that you have the chance to touch someone in a significant way yourself. We all have different ways of relating to things we see.
As I gradually rose from my state of slumber this morning, I became immediately aware of the tantalizing aromas emanating from our kitchen. That unmistakable scent of home cooking.
I think that everyone will agree, there is nothing quite like it. My own mother back in Australia is a wonderful cook, and has honed that craft from years of experimentation and adaptation, the result of which is always something that I sadly have probably not taken enough time to appreciate. This realization now has me stop when I can as a meal is laid in front of me to take in the sights and smells of the plate. Try it sometime. Those extra seconds of anticipation really heighten the enjoyment, and the space is often made a little more special if you can have someone fill it with a short message of thankfulness.
This morning’s tickling of the old olfactory nerves was courtesy of Pani Maria (or Babcia to our three year old) She is my Polish mother-in-law, who is now visiting for the holidays. It is fair to say, from a combination of tradition and opportunity of exposure to a wider food culture, that her menu offerings may be rather narrow. No shortage of meat and potatoes here. However, in this simplicity, we may find a deeper knowledge and understanding of the merry dance that we as humans perform in honor of our food, but there is probably a whole other blog that can be written about that.
For now though, it is safe to say that It took me a while to swing my legs out to the cold floor. I found myself swimming in the smells, trying to pick up on ingredients and game myself a little on what was being prepared. I could even envision Maria moving about the kitchen, a space somewhat uncomfortable for her in unfamiliarity, but as is the skill of the Polish in general, constantly adapting and slowly making it work. For keep in mind that even the use of the gas stove is something new to her. She has spent her whole life cooking on a wood fire stove, in a kitchen that was adapted from the chicken coop that was once attached to their two room house. Over the years, upgrades have been made of course, including the installation of an actual floor instead of the original linoleum covered bare ground. It is in this heritage that the true message lies, for in such a kitchen, the very food she prepares for us today has been produced with love and care for her family. Through the hottest of summers, to the depths of the cruelest of cold winters. And through all this, this wonderful woman has left her house every morning to walk to her church and give thanks for all the blessings she has.
I don’t know about anyone else, but if I have spent any time at all in a place while I am travelling, I get this strange, almost whimsical feeling just before I am about to leave. I find myself in a quiet mood and think about what I have just experienced and what if any effect it has had on me. Have I learned anything, what do I particularly want to remember, what do I want to repeat, or for that matter not repeat if I get to return? What if I never get to return?What then. Have I done enough to be content with the experience?
I guess as an expatriate, there was also the day I left Australia to live overseas. I certainly remember thinking of it then as just as an extended holiday. Would I have felt differently if I had known that 12 years later that I would still be “away”.
There is in every leaving some degree of something left behind, and for some I can see how that something, however intangible, can be hard to let go of. If it is your home you are leaving, then it may also be the longing to have it stay the same, so that when you return, it will be like a warm blanket of security you can always rely on. Rarely, however, is this the case. The knowledge of this fact may also produce anxiety.
So there then becomes a struggle between the feeling of leaving, and the anticipation of “arriving” at your new destination. I would argue that one side is not exclusive of the other. They both come with positive and negative emotions.
There are many things I could make this blog about, and so I will. Got myself a head full of ideas, all born out of various experiences over my lifetime. However, I am not so naive to think that these experiences give me any licence to pass out advice. In fact, the idea is that I will only deepen my knowledge in my area of interests from what I know will be thoughtful and well informed feedback from anyone who wants to join the conversation. So….. here is my short list of topics to go on with:
- Australia – My home country. Yep, born and bred in the suburbs of Sydney town. Passionate about my homeland and so very proud of its place in the world. Ask me anything, I can find the answer even if I don’t know it.
- USA – My country of residence, and recently, citizenship (I do get to keep my Aussie passport too, more about that in the future.) Specifically Chicago area that I now call home. Love the different opportunities my life here has brought. Certainly the country has its challenges, but there is no denying you can make a go of anything here if you’re willing to put the hard yards in.
- Poland – Birthplace of my wonderful wife. I have grown to know and love the history and traditions that surround this country. I love its people and though I have traveled there many times, there is still so much to learn.
- Kids – I have a couple of my own. My first daughter Samantha, now a beautiful and woman in her own right. A devoted wife and proud mother of two small girls of her own. Her little sister Emily, now three going on thirty three. Possessed frequent flyer status before she was 1 year old, speaks two languages and devotes each day to the task of capturing my heart. I simply love and adore both my girls.
- Marriage – I am basically married to the most wonderful woman in the world, so really what do I say. If I do start, I may not stop.
- Kakadu Traders Australia – If we must work, why not do it with something you love. We will learn more about this great family company in the future. I get to work alongside the US crew as purveyors of some of the finest apparel you can buy.
- Cultural Competence – What? you might ask. Well, there is every chance this could engage a pretty wide audience. Over the past 6 years, I have been involved in supporting programs as a country specialist in preparing individuals and families for expat assignments in Australia. In this I have found a passion for the field. I am now more more directly involved and have become certified to deliver more general programs for a wider array of expat destinations. So cultural competence, perhaps also cross-culture training basically means having the tools to navigate the challenges that come from doing business and engaging socially in a foreign culture.
I be thinking that this is enough to get the juices flowing. If you’re reading this, then you’re one of the first. Don’t be shy, I would love to hear what comes to your mind on any or all of the above topics of conversation. Feel free to share with your friends, let’s see where this goes. Think of it as much as your blog as mine, I certainly don’t want to be the only one writing. I am needing content for my soon to be podcast series, and the feedback and comments I get here will form the basis of conversations there as well.
Looking forward the journey!