Go to the edge and jump, you never know you just might fly…

T.S Eliot said: Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

It’s a funny thing, this risk business. You’re either into it or you aren’t, no fence sitting where risk is concerned. It makes you either grin ridiculously or panic spectacularly. I’m the grinning type and so are hundreds of others I know. They’re all around us these risk-takers. Know anyone who has left a relationship, started a new business, changed jobs, moved house, got married, had kids…..they all took risks. We don’t always see ourselves as risk takers – and let’s be honest, we all know people in our lives who have never risked. Some stay in the job they hate, the marriage that darkens their soul, the house that makes them ill or unhappy. I’ve had a bit of risk in my life and I really encourage it, even though it may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do! I was one of the early adopters if you like a risk taker before my time. As a kid, I was the one always getting into trouble, having accidents, being found out….some things never change.

What is it that makes some of us take risks and others’ not? Is it confidence and belief in ourselves? Is it out of necessity? Is it learned – did our parents risk? Or, do we risk new things in spite of what we learned growing up? I think it must be a combination of all them – or some of them at different times.

I had parents who took risks. Sometimes they turned out and sometimes they didn’t. We moved a bit as kids, some moves bigger than others. Always those moves meant new schools where we adjusted to life and made new friends. I know we weren’t always happy about it, but those choices were never our decisions to make, so we went along with it, coached and supported by strong parents, committed to their decisions. I remember being very happy to move to the Gold Coast – beach, sand, sun etc – but not necessarily all that happy to leave 5 years later! Did my parent’s cautious risk taking affect me? Yes, absolutely, what great role models! They decided to move because of job prospects, better education for my brother, sister and I and to be closer to (or further away!) from family. My Dad took the biggest and bravest risk of his life, changing profession as an older guy – from construction to this new-fangled computer business. What a tough few months for my family, and what a proud daughter I am to think back on that now he isn’t here.

I risked so much when I chose the Unhusband. Friends and family were surprised when my marriage fractured (or was smashed with a hammer as one of my friends likes to put it!). So was I by the way – but that’s another story. The phone call and message that stuck in my mind was from a gorgeous friend who told me how brave I was! I never thought I was brave, I just did what I felt was the “right” thing to do – for my soul to sing. Brave wasn’t something I set out to be – and it certainly wasn’t top of my feelings list.

You do become brave, you do grow, you do feel like you are much better than you ever thought you were, because you took a risk.

Things don’t always turn out, I’m not Pollyanna (she was blonde and American…) Sometimes life is tough and sometimes it sucks like a Hoover. It’s about making those new circumstances work for you. Accepting the status quo, just for now, until things can be better. The Unhusband and I took the biggest risk together when we moved from Australia to the UK. Sheltered little naïve things, not quite entertaining the impact of this little thing called the GFC. Wow – what a shock that was. It took a long few months to get work for Unhusband, but thankfully he is an uber-god in the geek world and London needed his skills. I wasn’t in such high demand. As an HR professional, falling into an enormous pool of HR professionals who had been made redundant, I wasn’t needed so much! And they all had UK employment law experience, which I didn’t have. So, no-one was quite falling over themselves to employ me I can assure you. I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. I had come from a high powered job, complete with a post-graduate degree to being unemployed for the first time in my life. (Although I never saw myself as that, maybe it helped.)

So I did what any woman in her early forties would do. I panicked. Then I re-invented myself. I can assure you the story was not as wonderfully romantic as it sounds, but I got through. I started my own business walking customers through the mire that was social media (it was early days). I was fascinated with social media in the HR arena (still am) and thought I could help some people out. I took a massive risk. I also had amazing people supporting me. Would I have done it otherwise? Probably – I would have had to!

Is it the best thing I ever did? In many ways yes. There was an awful lot of pain – not the least financially! But on the back of that came a new-found confidence, pride in myself and an ability to appreciate that I was a risk-taker; that I would put myself on the line to make something new work. In a lot of ways there was choice. I could have chosen to remain defeated. I honestly did try being the un-housewife for about 2 weeks. Unhusband came home one day to find me quite literally bored rigid, frozen on the terrace.

With risk there comes change  and if you don’t like change, this risk thing is going to be a bit of a malarkey!

I have watched people come in and out of my life, some I really care for who don’t have enough personal power to take a risk that will change their lives forever. It makes me sad and I wish I could bottle my risk taking and give it to them. As my Mum says, it would be a boring old place if we were all the same, but don’t you just wish you could gift the things you know you’re good at?

I have other people in my life who have taken risks that I admire. Three of whom stand out right now. Interestingly, they are all women (this is not a gender assessment, simply a comment). I admire them for their courage, for their determination and for their belief that whatever they are doing now, there has to be something else better. My sister is one of my current risk-heroines. She chose to be alone with her 3 amazing children rather than be in a marriage that was failing to live up to all she had created. All my family at one time or another have taken risks that I admire them for. An Adelaide friend is another. She is about to launch her own business. She has two young boys who are far more important to her than her next career move and this enables her to focus more on the life bit of that balancing thing. Her values are so strong; she knows she can take her unique style of professionalism and turn it into something people want. Brave women.

The last one is my cousin. She had risk thrust upon her. Well, actually she had change thrust upon her when the love of her life, and father of their gorgeous boy Will, died suddenly with cancer at 38. So there’s a risk no-one planned for. She is an amazing woman. Brave and strong and tough – and emotional and fragile and doubtful. But they took a bigger risk too. Before he died, her husband started his own business. She is keeping it going. It is so far out of her field it’s almost funny! Incredible. Would I have the courage to do that – who knows? I have the blessing at this time to not have to find out like she did. These women all have something in common. They are mothers. How fortunate are the kids they have, to be shown these brave role models. I don’t have kids, I don’t think that affects whether you are a risk taker or not, but I do think they have much more to lose than me!

Bottom line: At the risk of alienating half the world, I like the risk-takers. I respect them. That’s not to say I won’t be friends with you if you aren’t one, but I think there is something fundamentally different about people who take risk. We believe in ourselves, we are optimistic, we are prepared for either the worst or the best of times, we plan ahead and we adapt.

What is the worst thing that could possibly happen? Can you manage it? Short of death, I bet you could!

My favourite quote must be this from Bertrand Russell. “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps most fatal to true happiness”.

even in death there are lists to make

My best friends’ mum is dying of cancer and I am riding my bike up the French Alps and, yes, those things are related.

I visited my best mate recently; not my standard idea of a holiday. She won’t exactly get a great rating on Trip Advisor for the quality of the stay, the entertainment or even the food – I cooked most of it myself. I do think she got one more smile she hadn’t planned on, one more chuckle she thought was gone and a quick flit of time where my best mate in the world got a tiny reprieve.

Life never ceases to surprise and delight. In the midst of this phase of life, I saw some amazing and shocking things that reminded me of the joy and beauty of life. I saw sadness and helplessness, frustration, anger, disappointment and bitterness. I saw a woman stop her car, pick up a wounded bird and take care of it. I saw a sunset out of a plane window that reignited my faith. I needed the jolt I can reassure you.

The only other woman I have ever called Mum has lung cancer and secondary brain tumours. She is in the final stages of her life and her daughter is trying to make that as memorable, pain free and relatively normal a life as she possibly can.

She writes lists my mate, just like me.

On my friends’ list was written the word “End”. She explained that it was a reminder to her to ask the doctor what happens when her mother passes away. You might think it odd to write yourself a note to remind yourself of something so important. I marvel at how she manages to remember to breathe in and out for herself every day, given that she manages every imaginable facet of her mothers’ life right now, including how she breathes. Writing herself lists is quite possibly the only way she does make it through the day; her reminder of what normal is.

I’ve known her and her family for 27 years. We have had the most interesting intertwining lives that any friends could have. We have been quite literally parts of each other’s family for that long. I dated her brother, she dated my cousin, and we even married brothers. I am convinced we only did it so that we could be related, to strengthen a friendship that comes once in a lifetime.

She’s tough, my best mate in the world. Always has been. Endures things far longer than anyone else because she is just made of that and that’s just what you do. You pitch in without being asked to help; you have close personal conversations with your friends’ kids because their parents can’t quite get through to them. You travel vast distances in short periods of time for a party, funeral, or to support friends, family or even someone you once knew.

Our lives have mirrored each other, but we ask that no more. Both our fathers’ died of cancer within years of each other. Whilst marriage to the brothers probably wasn’t one of our finest moments, she did create the most awesome adorable child from hers. I have a lovely wedding day photo album.

My bestie is the eternal optimist, finding the sun shiny bits of life amongst the bleakest coal darkened moments. She cares for everyone, she puts others first. She is without question the funniest human I know. She is sharp witted and intelligent and loves a debate. She is fiercely independent to the point where she hasn’t fully realised that she can accept help however it comes, and she can even ask for it.

I have always had great respect and admiration for her and all that she does. Of course she has made some dubious choices, who hasn’t? Sometimes her choices have been influenced by me and sometimes not. Those influenced by me aren’t always the smartest, but boy have they have given us some wonderful stories! We recently decided that the Child of the Union is Saffron and we are the Ab Fab girls. Mad as cut snakes, hilariously cracking up laughing at our own humour, antics and bad jokes, whilst the Child of the Union asks us not to disturb her as she does her maths homework. The kids’ life is a combination of puberty, divided parenting, step-families; I-pods, books, boys and now death. And she wants to focus on her maths enrichment homework. Admiration and respect for the kid too.

So I temporarily entered the world of the carer. Not for the first time. I watched it from afar when it happened to my own father and when time and distance permitted, popped in there too. (Not nearly enough and a world of growth later acknowledge that I could have done better.)

The carers’ world (for the acute patient) is one where the phone never stops ringing, where you spend your days driving to and from the hospital, doctors visits, appointments for scans or x-rays or medication appointments, or treatment or therapy or a dozen other different things. A world where if you don’t make lists, the tiniest details are forgotten or not done. A world where you have to repeat the same information over and over and over again to all the best intending and well meaning people in the world. A world where you are asked what to do to help, but you can’t give a definitive answer. There is so much to do, what is important, what gets done first, what can be left alone? A world where you cancel appointments, but would never dream of asking someone to cancel theirs.

It’s a world where millions of people live for myriad reasons. My own sibling and his family do it for his son with cerebral palsy. I saw my Mum give up every part of her day, every aspect of her person to care for my Dad. They were partners for life and she stuck to her end of the bargain up until the day she threw his medication across the room in anger, sadness and frustration. That she had worked so hard and cared so much and still was powerless, she still lost him.

My bestie finds her caring rewarding. So does every other carer I know. Of course she is frustrated, angry, upset and sad. She keeps going through it all. My brother and sister-in-law keep going through it all. My mum just kept going. That’s what you do as a carer. It saddens me deeply to know that we live in a world where Governments get a reprieve because of people like these. Collective governments around the world breathe a massive sigh of relief, because these people are being looked after by someone else. The carers’ payment from the Australian government is $7.57 per day. Wow. Been to Coles, Woolworths or Tesco lately? I know what you can get for $7.57 a day.

I’m not a campaigner, or a crusader for unfair treatment. Perhaps I should be. Or maybe I am. Maybe I will crusade for dying with dignity, voluntary euthanasia or fighting the governments for the right for carers to be recognised, acknowledged and supported in our community. My bestie is doing this short term. My brother is in it for the long haul. They both have quite low maintenance models to look after on the grand scale. My bestie enquired about respite care. There are people in this world who come to your home just so you can go out, get some fresh air, sanity and pay your bills. They survive on donations!! There are a few things in the world I classify as just plain wrong; that is one of them.

So, get on with it Sharon!
I made a commitment to ride up some mountains, to raise money and awareness for Macmillan, the cancer carers’ charity here in the UK. Does it help my bestie’s mum or my nephew? Nope. Not directly – and for them, not indirectly either. But the feeling of being useless, unable to help, unable to champion the cause or make the pain go away or get them some fresh air is not easy to shift.

Not everyone can be a carer. I doubt if I could honour that role myself. If you can’t be, then take a meal, do their gardening, take the dog for a walk or to the vet, buy some milk, bread & fresh fruit, do a load of washing, their ironing, make them laugh, sit with them and watch a movie. It doesn’t have to cost money and you don’t have to solve the issue, just give you. Don’t get me wrong, if you can – give money too!

So, when I say it out loud, “I’m riding a bike up a few mountains”, it doesn’t really mean much. I love the idea of challenging myself, don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of doing something for a good cause. I get a massive kick out of the fact that if I do something, someone will be helped. It isn’t the people I know. Some of them I can help and others I can’t. I hear stories about Lance Armstrong raising over $235 million for cancer. What I don’t hear is the impact that has. What did that buy that $235m?

I have a theory. Governments and NGO’s can’t afford to cure cancer; it’s too big an industry. The drugs cost a fortune; companies produce them to make profit. End of story. Take away the need for the drug, remove the need for a cure, and remove all that profitable revenue.

Call me a cynic, and please try and prove me wrong.

I am hauling my ass up a few mountains to raise awareness of these invisible members of our community; carers of others. It is a tiny 310km up a few Alps in France. It will last for 3 days plus a few weeks of training. Training I am fortunate and blessed enough to be able to do and enjoy. I need to raise a minimum of £1800. It will buy definite things. Things I know will help sufferers and their families. If you would like to add your bit of help, please donate here. I’m not curing it. Riding up mountains won’t change cancer, or the number of people who get it, or die from it. It probably won’t even raise awareness. It will make me proud of my own achievement and you proud for doing your bit too in sponsoring me. I’d love to reach my target; I’d love to smash it. I’d love to cure cancer. I’d love carers to be recognised. I’m not even running for Miss Universe, but I can still have these dreams.

the cobbler has no shoes

I first heard that expression when I was talking to a friend of mine whose partner is a financial adviser. They had just paid a massive tax bill. Not ever a pleasant situation and I know at some point or other we may have all had to do just that, but when you think your partner has it all under control and then learn the opposite, well let’s just say, not a happy time! He is the managing partner of a large national firm. Yes, you could argue, who could possibly have time to do their own tax, when some of the most influential business people in the country rely on you to do theirs – sound familiar?

Surely it is one of the most common psychological phenomena in the world. Like the plumber who has a leaky tap, the electrician has their wires crossed (sorry, indulge me!), the overweight doctor who smokes, the link building/SEO company that has an atrocious website……or in my own case, the blog that is out of date and the laptop that needs attention (un-husband is in IT!).

I am learning slowly that I do good work for my clients (there is that whole female fraud thing we do so well, but that’s another story!) and I can do all that wonderful strategic thinking, planning and carrying out – for them…but I am loathe to admit, it is something that I don’t do very well at all for my own business. For me, it seems a strange bit of imbalance; I focus all my time on my clients and usually the stuff I do for me is last…and I’m not even a mother!

Is it because we are so busy (we are all as busy as we make ourselves though, remember that!) or is it because of what we expect people in professions to do because they are good at it? You know, we think – oh, they’re in IT, I bet all their own stuff is in order. Or in fact, is it because (particularly for careers in IT), when you go around to your friends and families places, the first thing they do, after handing you a beer, is ask if you wouldn’t mind taking a look at their laptop! A friend once told me when I had started out that he envied my being able to do this blog and that write-up…..because he had become so engaged with his contracting work, that he barely had any time to focus on his own business. Now I’m almost there and none too sure I like it either!

I know I am not alone here, it is a common problem. In truth, I do know the most obvious reason behind it is: this is what I do all day long, then I have to come home and do it all again here too. Where is the fun in that? I’d much rather go for a ride, or go to the gym or throw the Frisbee around the park – anything but more of the same.

So what is the answer? For me, I apply the same rules to this as to any other issue – I call in the network! Professional networks across all of my “professional spheres” – social media, HR and corporate relations, including coaches and of course social media groups, discussions and forums. The personal ones include friends, family and at times, specialist help, counsellors, therapists etc. I have never been too shy to admit that I can’t do it all and I can’t do it alone. I have cleared out all my self-help books….or most of them, but I keep my network of professional advisers.

For those of you who know me, I am the great outsourcer! I love a beautiful garden, but am not that good at it. Get someone in. I love a clean house but resent the time spent cleaning it. Get someone in (bless you Shelley!); I love to cook, but there are sometimes when that just isn’t feasible (un-husband his share of shifts, as does Cook and the local takeaways) – so why not apply this logic to an age old problem?

I am really fortunate to know a very cool and talented bunch of uber business people; the group we call The Rocketeers: thankfully, all very different to me! When I need some help to strategise about my business, or to kick off the strategy for some corporate fund-raising (or even some personal fundraising, big plug) then I get a great team of people together to bounce ideas off – and they come up with stuff I had never thought of.

I do rely on coaching quite heavily as well. I am fortunate enough to have a life coach and a business coach, both work complementing each other and both have very similar strategies to help me to achieve my goals. If you can’t afford a coach right now (I am fortunate that my business coach is a part of the remuneration of my contracts), then the old networking group is a great solution. There are only 4 of us in our group, and even though we have different needs at different levels for different reasons, I value their input individually and as a group. It is also an interesting learning for me, I was never very good in a team unless I was leading it, so they are very patient with me!

So, the old “I get by with a little help from my friends” (big concession, I am not a Beatles fan!) has never been truer, especially now in tough economical times. The answers are usually all there, we just need to step outside ourselves and do some creative thinking, and especially creative listening. Either that, or outsource! Who could ever live in a world without shoes?

Growing up an Aussie kid

The things you learn when you don’t realise that you are. As a kid, I learned so many things, like we all do. I thought I would share a few, because it is a unique environment and this time of year, I get a bit homesick.

I learned that most Aussie days are sunny. If you’re anywhere north of the NSW border, any time from around 4am in the summer, it’s daylight. Winter is a little more kind, closer to 6am.  Imagine teaching that to your kids – “yes, it is daylight now darling, but you can’t get out and play, it’s 5am”. Daylight and sunshine, two of the most taken for granted things when you grow up there and the things I am missing the most right now!

I learned that we are the land of the “big” things – Big Banana, Big Lobster, Big Ram, the list goes on. I am not sure why, all I know is that the drive from Sydney to the Gold Coast every year meant we stopped at the Big Banana. Very exciting as a small child. Going back as an adult however, left a little to be desired. There is very little excitement surrounding a large fibreglass banana.

I learned to take sport and exercise for granted, and although it doesn’t seem that way now with so many obese people wandering the streets, as kids we were in that daylight and sunshine as much as we could get, swimming, running, riding our bikes – could never get enough. I have some English friends who shudder at the thought of daily exercise. I do think there was nothing like computer games when we were kids, except for that thing where two lines moved on the screen stopping a square ball – and we were amazed!

I learned to take friendliness, happiness and smiling for granted. So much so, that I am sure I am considered simple here and throughout Europe! All that heat and sunshine makes you feel different, makes you want to be alive and happy. We talk to people on the street, say hello, pat their dog, help with their bags – weird stuff like that!

I learned that fruit was sometimes out of season! That Christmas meant stone fruit and mangos and that as much as my Dad tried to tell us they were awful, we learned not to believe him! I learned that you only ever bought Australian made! My father even stipulated in his will that the funeral directors had to be Australian. Now that was a tough call!

I soon acquired the taste for prawns, crab and most seafood, except for oysters. Once my Dad told me they tasted like snot. Just once….and I never ate another one. He was right. He was also greedy; that meant more for him.

We watched shows like Skippy and thought Sonny was the luckiest kid in the world. Not only did he get to live with all those grown ups (what was going on there??) but he got to ride in a helicopter and he owned a talking kangaroo. No one owned kangaroos in Australia, especially not talking ones. It took me a while to learn that not everyone could afford a helicopter – and that roos didn’t actually talk, or tsk like that.

I grew up knowing bush fires were part of life, that if you lived in the bush, you had to have a fire trail around the house, and you had to make sure you had an escape plan. I knew that we would get sunburned on every holiday – even every second day when we went to the beach. I know that vinegar is what you put on a blue bottle sting and you learn to dodge real quick when there is wind in the air, ‘cause they blow around in the water a bit.

You don’t get out, that’s just ridiculous.

I learned that Huntsman spiders come in pairs usually, and they jump. They also like the water, which means they will catch you in the shower, naked and frightened, not a good place to be!

I learned that you can run really fast on the hard wet sand but it takes you ages to run up all that soft stuff. I knew that mossies got you if you stayed out just after dusk and that if you put a cross where they bit you, with your fingernail, they didn’t sting as much. Later I learned that you rub Vicks on them to make the sting go away. The lump stays but the sting goes. I also knew that my sister was allergic to them and they made her have big rashes all over her body. She passed that onto her kids! I know that I got hives when I ate too many tomatoes; just like they were apples.  I also learned that if you rubbed tomatoes on your sunburn, it would hurt less. Unless of course the sunburn was on the top of your head, where your part was from your pontyails, that really hurt and nothing makes that better!

I always thought I would keep my permanent tan mark from my thongs (the ones you wear on your feet, the only kind!) but I actually grew out of it. A good summer meant you went through more than one pair. You live in shorts and singlets and when you grow up; you just add jewellery and lipstick.

Sunday nights were all about roast chook, peas, mashed potatoes and then choc chip ice-cream. I learned to deal with getting picked on at school because my European mother would make us food none of the kids had ever heard of. But I learned to fend for myself – usually by swearing at them in Maltese, they couldn’t help but be impressed then. At least we weren’t like Gerard Said, he had cockroach sandwiches. OK – they were dates, but they looked like cockroaches!

Speaking of cockroaches, you learn really young that they can fly, usually at you when your mouth is open! And when you go outside at Christmas time, the Christmas beetles fly around and get stuck in your hair! Between those and the cane toads, the back yard could be pretty treacherous, but always big fun!

I learned that Christmas was all about rushing to open the presents then heading outside for the rest of the day to play with your toys, occasionally coming in to eat the hot dinner that mum cooked because that was tradition, even though some of those days were almost 40 degrees.

I lived in a land of either machismo or just plain stupidity when people had ceiling fans and not air conditioners. The land of above ground pools with a bucket next to the ladder that you put your feet in so that the grass didn’t get into the pool. Heaven forbid you had to go around with the scoop before you were allowed to swim – that took an eternity! I learned how to stay underwater and hold my breath, just so I could beat my brother and sister. I learned to hold it even better when Mum told us it was time to come in…..!! Heard perfectly well of course when Dad called! I used to love going out shopping, fresh from the pool, straight into a pair of shorts and singlet, stopping sometimes if we were really good to get a slush puppie or a slurpee. Raspberry of course, oh unless they were the coca cola ones. Then make those disgusting noises, get into trouble, apologise and do it all over again.

I knew that we could never ask to go in the pool until an hour had passed so that our lunch would go down and we wouldn’t drown. I also knew that we could go in, but had to make sure our little sister had her floaties on if she wanted to go in. I knew that if we were at our grandparents place in their pool, we couldn’t wet Grandpa’s hair – I mean toupee. I also knew that there was no way you could wee in there, they had that purple dye that followed you and so everyone knew that you had done a wee in the pool.  (Mean, mean, just mean – until now of course when I tell my nieces and nephews the same thing!). I learned that if you had swimming for PE then you had to make sure you wrapped your cosies up in your towel afterwards and then put it in your bag, or Mum would get really annoyed!

I learned the slow and hard way never to leave fruit in your school bag, especially not hidden in your glasses case….’cause then you forget about it, and bananas go brown really quickly! They also smell just before they have been in there long enough to disintegrate.

I knew that you never opened your eyes in the pool after Dad had put that floating chlorinator thing in there, or if it got in your way, you picked it straight up and threw it at your brother. I learned just how to wet the tennis ball playing brandings and throw it hard, and fast, usually at the head.

I learned all these things and so many more and I am sure that any kid, anywhere in the world can tell stories like this. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich, and we certainly didn’t’ have any spare money. We had hand-me-down clothes (great as the middle child whose older sibling is a boy!) we ate home cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner. We barely ever got money to spend at the tuck shop and if we did, it usually came from Grandpa (with Mum clicking her tongue!). We always ate fruit, lots of it, and all the time. We barely ever ate junk food and soft drink was a Christmas treat. We never asked for anything, if you asked you never got, plus we always knew Mum and Dad never had any money.

Holidays were at places like Burrunjuck Dam or Hastings Point, or on the Gold Coast before we moved there. We used to drive there every Christmas, 1000km of fairly treacherous roads, in the back of the station wagon, sleeping side by side in the back. (God – our parents will never live that down – especially when we remind them, which of course was often!)

We used to stop off at the side of the road to have breakfast, usually in our pyjamas, eating coco pops or weetbix or rice bubbles in those cute little Kelloggs packs – the only time of year we ever got to eat them – what a treat! Mum and Dad had instant coffee in the thermos and we got to eat cereal in our pyjamas by the side of the road, with all the cars and trucks going past. And you want to know something? They were some of the best times of our lives. Some of the richest memories I own.

So when people ask me what it’s like in Australia, I don’t usually tell them these things. I tell them it is way too hot to be comfortable most of the year, that fabulous weather doesn’t always make up for bad politics, racism or expensive groceries or having to drive everywhere or having your TV viewing censored up the yin yang, and your media controlled by one megalomaniac.

But I’m always glad I was raised an Aussie kid (we’re Weetibx kids you know). I am glad that I eat Vegemite and not Marmite and glad that I know what Twisties and Tim Tams are. I still know all the words to the Aeroplane Jelly song, would murder for a pack of Jaffa’s or a Violet Crumble or a Redskin and as a grown up, know that I can order a long black or a flat white and not get looked at strangely! This isn’t about what is great about growing up an Aussie, it is about celebrating the fact that I got to this age and can remember it (my siblings will be surprised!), feeling a long way from home at Christmas and appreciating that I can remember, that I got to live to the ripe old age of 43 and I can think that I am rich and privileged in the smallest possible way, to have lived a life made up of the simple, wonderful things that families and different experiences can bring. How blessed!

Hello world!

I figure if we all talk about the stuff that happens to us, we can share the pain, the glory and the experiences – making it better for some, different for others and hopefully entertaining for all!

I thought about having a business blog because I am into Social Media – now. I was into HR and Business Change Management and maybe one day I will go back to that…but for now, this is pushing my buttons. So I should not be the cobbler who has no shoes and will blog! I started a blog once, and it was about HR and Social Media, long before I knew how I would combine those things.  I fell into the trap of limiting my blog name (then not being able to change it – hilarious!) and then restricting what I could write about. So, starting afresh and there is much I do want to write about and lots of reasons for doing it. I’m now in the game, so I am practicing what I preach!

I don’t want to start too heavy though, so will save some of the business stuff for later. These are just some of the things I will write about:

Moving to an English speaking country – it ain’t all as easy as it seems!

Social Media as a whole of business strategy, not just a campaign.

Taking risks and reaping the benefits

Having a food allergy – not the boring bits, just some of the more entertaining stories…

and loads more either around these topics, or just “stuff” that I hope intrigues and invites discussion! Thanks for reading, stay tuned!