Archive for Personal Views

1/52 – Marriage

Posted in Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Year of 52 with tags , on January 7, 2018 by Neal

On January 3rd 1998, this incredible woman said “I do”.

For some, being married for 2 years is considered a milestone of epic proportions, especially given the current divorce rates of the world. Being married for 20 years can be seen by some as freaky, unnatural and amazing.

It’s cliche I know but Mandy and I have known each other since high school. Our final senior year she set her sights on me and for the first 6 months of the year I was totally oblivious to her many attempts and hints at catching my eye. Yes I was a little slow on the uptake but that’s just who I was at the time. When I surprised her on her birthday with jewellery and flowers I think she was relieved that I finally got the right idea. I’m not going to say everything was perfect from the first day. Being an introvert I kept a lot of my thoughts to myself and that caused various conversations of raised voices and tears from both sides in the beginning. Not to mention the typical ridicule and torment that comes from teenage friends as well.

Recently one of the young ladies I work with asked me for advise on relationships. She’s having issues with her partner and since I’ve got a successful marriage, what was my secret…. Gee talk about putting someone on the spot. It got me thinking and lost at the same time. After all we have had enough ups and downs in our marriage to create the world’s most extreme roller coaster. The only real advise I could give her was that being in a relationship is a seesaw of give and take. Sometimes you will be the one leading and making all the decisions, other times you will be the follower and just doing what you have to keep the peace.

The two of us have been far from typical in our relationship. We’ve fought about family, finances, children, friends, pets, possessions, professions and holidays. Given each other gifts and surprises ranging from large to small. After all I did buy her a Ferrari for her 20th birthday, she just never specified what size she wanted. There have been some downs thrown at us by the world that have stretched our commitment together but we worked out ways around the problem and grew from the experience.

Many, many years ago during one of our seemingly all too frequent discussions, Mandy gave a response to something I said that took years for me to understand. This was during an extremely low point in our marriage and things could have swung either way from that point on. I had commented how I felt taken for granted and that she didn’t need me at all in her life. Her response “You’re right I don’t need you in my life. I can look after myself. I can handle the finances. I can care of the kids. I can do what ever I want so I don’t need you in my life. What I do want is for you to be a part of my life.” Now keep in mind, for some guys we don’t see a distinct difference in certain words, they tend to have the same definitions. So you can imagine how hurt I felt at the time being told I wasn’t needed in her life. It took me many months of self discussion and reflection to finally realise what she had meant. We don’t need each other in our lives. A need implies that something is required for each of us to live. Sure we need food to live but not hugs or kisses. We need a house to keep us warm in winter but not hugs or snuggles. We need to breathe but don’t require words of adoration to keep living. My view of needing Mandy in my life wasn’t accurate as I could still live without her. I wanted her in my life which had more meaning to it than needing her.

Writing this I can’t help but think of all the cliches that people tend to write about their partner. They go on in flowery prose about how amazing that person is and that they are the embodiment of perfection. Seriously some stuff is so sweet it would cause you to gain 50 kilos and diabetes from reading it. How many times has someone complained about their partner’s negative qualities? Could you imagine the Hallmark share price if they changed their cards to using the truth instead of flattery?

This has morphed into something totally not what I had in mind. I was going to use a heap of comparisons and examples about our life together. Instead I’ll leave everyone with this bit of personal wisdom that may make a bit of sense to some.

A successful marriage is based on wants and not needs. You marry someone you want to spend your life with, you do things together because you want to support the other and help them succeed, you want them in your life to bring joy and laughter to it but also work through each other’s problems to become better.

Mandy, it has been a long road with lots of holes and detours so far but I’m sure that the longer we travel together the easier it will be for us to find smoother paths in our journey.

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Let’s Try a New 52 in 2018

Posted in Personal Thoughts, The World, Work with tags , on January 7, 2018 by Neal

No this has nothing to do with The DC universe. It’s been a while since I wrote anything and there are a few reasons for that which I’ll elaborate on in a moment. 2017 has flown by and it’s now 2018. I won’t bother going on about new year resolutions or goals because that is just too cliche for my liking.

My absence has mostly been in part due to work commitments. I no longer have time to ponder the deeper sides of existence in my new job. I’ve stepped out of petrol and gone into the supermarket side of life. While my previous position gave me a lot of flexibility in what I did, my new role as nightfill support has me working graveyard shifts (9pm till 6am) 5 days a week. There is very little down time as we strive to get stock items from pallets to shelves before the store opens in the morning.

My aim for the year is to do at least 1 post a week for 52 weeks. This is in theory an easy goal but I would like to do more than that each week. I’ll post a range of things but the main focus will be on things that make me who I am. Movies, music, games, people and events that all have contributed to the person I am today. It will probably be a little dry at times but as with anything unless we exercise muscles they don’t improve and my hope is to improve my mind again and take back some of the creative spark I have lost over the years.

As always if people want to comment, add their own ideas or spread the unusual words of wisdom I have then please by all means do so.

Confused About American Politics

Posted in Parenting, Personal Thoughts, Politics, The World with tags , , , , on May 18, 2017 by Neal

I’m not looking to start a flame war or fight but I’m confused by American politics at the moment. Now I know a lot of people weren’t expecting Donald Trump to win the presidential election, so it was a bit of a surprise to many I’m sure. He had some very controversial policies and views during the campaign which caused serious concerns amonst not only Americans but the world at large. A lot of hype comes from the media and assorted action groups on social media so you need to be cautious of what you read. After all “fake news” or “alternative facts” seem rampant these days. 

What has me stumped is the complete lack of respect for President Trump. Sure a President or Prime Minister cops a certain amount of flak and disrespect from various people and groups during their time in office. Comes with the job. Yet things started before Trump’s inauguration. Sure some will say that President Trump has not earned the respect of the people because of his actions but are they basing that on the man or the position? From what I’ve seen the position of President of the United States carries a certain amount of automatic respect with it. You may not agree with governement policies or actions but you pushed that aside for a moment when it came to the president. The best example I’ve seen of a backlash for presidential-disrespect, was when the Dixie Chicks made this comment during a concert in 2003

“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” 

The backlash they got for that was extreme. They had boycotts, sponsorship losses and a long list of threats against them as well. Bit excessive for expressing an opinion. Perhaps views on freedom of expression and speech have changed over the last 15 years?  I know social media makes it easier to get your word out into the world. 

As I said I’m a little confused by all this but perhaps it’s just my views that make it confusing for me. President Trump has a style and approach that none have ever seen in a president so perhaps that is changing the political and social landscape of the world. Just some ponderings for consideration. 

What A Messed Up World – part 1

Posted in Parenting, Personal Thoughts, Politics, Religion, The World with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2017 by Neal

Who hasn’t heard of sponsoring a child? You’ve probably walked past sprukers in shopping centres or seen donation tins at the counters of stores. There are a wide range of NGO’s that help children in less developed countries with food, clothing and schooling. All stuff we take for granted. These organisations help improve the lives of children, their families and their communities with stuff we take for granted. After all everyone in the world should be able to buy fast food and throw away most of it because it isn’t what you really wanted to eat, able to leave the tap running into the drain while arguing over which celebrity wore a particular dress better, complain that there isn’t a single thing to wear despite having several wardrobes full to the brim and not to forget that school is so dull and why do I need a job when I can get a government hand out? 

The sad part is some people actually behave and think like this. We are supposed to be the more developed countries yet we act like children most of the time because we have access to everything and more than we need. The real catalyst for my ramblings is a radio add I heard this morning for child sponsoring. It wasn’t for Somalia, India, Rhowanda or any of the normal countries in dire need of assistance. No it was for a country that I had never figured would need child sponsorship, Australia. 

This got me thinking which is always a bad idea. In particular I was stunned that poverty levels in my own backyard were so bad. I’m not deaf or dumb to the way things really are. The media goes on about statistics and figures which seem to just smoke screen a lot of the real issues. Governments can spend millions on a royal enquiry for this or that but can’t support community shelters. Hundred of thousands can be spent on exclusive state dinners but funding the school breakfast programs is too much of a burden for tax payers. There are thousands of children that are being miss treated by their peers simply because money is now the biggest factor in their lives. Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke was derided for his pledge that “no child will live in poverty by 1990”. Yet after 30 years, assorted governments and global situations there is an increasing number of children every day being affected by poverty, something they have no control over and should never have to worry about in the first place.

I know that there are a wide range of problems, causes and solutions but when did the lucky country become so desensitised to the common person (would use common man but that starts a whole arguement of sexism) and their plight? When did the have nots outnumber the have lots by a billion to one? The sad part is that there is no easy solution to this problem. To tackle things on such a large scale would require a lot of time, planning, money and compassion for others. 

That being said I am guilty of allowing our finances influence my children. The stress of juggling bills and income tends to bleed out from my control and affects my kids. I remember telling myself when I was younger that I wouldn’t allow money matters to trouble me or my family like it troubled my parents. Don’t get me wrong we never lacked anything but the stress of running a small business and family at the same time took more of a toll on my parents than I ever could know. 

What I want to stress is that children should not be troubled by the burdens of poverty in a country with as many opportunities as Australia. They should be allowed to be children and not grow up to think like an adult before they’re old enough. The same for developing countries, children should be happy and not wondering if they will eat at all today. If you can help someone please do so. It doesn’t have to be financial, sometimes a random act of kindness can help remove the cloud of doubt that hovers over us for a while. If you have loose change then give to charities or if possible sponsor a child. 

Remember: you can’t move a mountain intact, but you can chip away at it one rock at a time. Change the lives of others with one deed at a time.