A Depressing Undertaking

In ideal circumstances, it is now 2 months from the day I go to Falls Creek (the snow). There is a good chance this will not happen, but in any case whatever my next step is, it will likely either be somewhere distant or on the way to somewhere distant. So I must be prepared. For those of you that are reading my posts, you will know that being prepared involves getting rid of all of my stuff. Besides perhaps a small selection of things that I will leave with loved ones.

For the remainder of today and all of tomorrow I will be photographing and listing every single book, CD and DVD I own, love and have left, for sale. Those that don’t sell I will be giving away for free. Be it to anyone that wants them or a charity store. Most likely the remaining books will go to the Melbourne Central book exchange shelf.

I wish to see more of this world, how that happens I don’t yet know and I will likely always remain uncertain about what comes next. The biggest step will be to get to the next place. The first place. And to start learning how to live with less.

The life I have been leading has now left me empty, depressed and wanting for more. But more it seems, is less. More is to enjoy the moment, to find myself in good company and in laughter. To leave behind the office and the seemingly endless professional repetition. I no longer have any desire to strive for a promotion, or a pay rise. These things are now meaningless to me. As of this June, I will no longer work jobs I do not enjoy. I will make sure that I am either somewhere I want to be, or working towards somewhere I want to be. I am the only person in control of my future. I want no handouts. I will make myself.

So for now. It is time to start taking photographs, weighing books and listing things for sale. Once I have started getting a decent amount of things listed I will place some links here.

Sigh*

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Grateful for a challenge

TED is telling me to do things again! *Sound the Alarm!*

I’m not ignorant of the fact that being successful isn’t the key to happiness. I have discovered that now. Being happy comes from somewhere else. Somewhere really distant and confusing. Typing “happy” into Google at the moment turns up a video of Pharrell, and lets face it, it’s impossible to listen to that song and not 🙂 smile 🙂 at least a little bit. So obviously, the key to happiness is listening to Pharrell Williams all day, every day. Right?

Well damn TED seems to insist that to be happy, there is work involved. Work that I am prepared to commit to consider committing too so long as I can be bothered. I have to be honest, I seem to get better and better at picking things up and putting them down 2 minutes later. The fact that this blog has now been going for nearly a month is astounding. Who are you weirdos that keep reading my stuff?

I’m not going to try and achieve all of the things recommended in the Video, because I’m just not that committed. But! I will try and list three things I am grateful for over the last week. So here it goes.

Three Things I Am Grateful For

1. Facebook    fb logo

Part of my “new life” (Matt V3.0) includes making myself easily discoverable online by my real name, and making sure I keep contact with people that I unfortunately may no longer talk to, or have simply just lost contact with. A simple exercise such as creating a new Facebook page and adding back all of the people I know has really made me aware of just how many friends I have. It has already put me back into contact with so many people I haven’t talked to for years. So if you’re reading this from Facebook, and we haven’t spoken in a gigayear, say hi. I would love to chat.

2. Kebabs   kebab 

Besides being irresistibly delicious. Kebabs have become a welcome lunchtime routine. Every day except Fridays me and my work mate, Mr Infaz, take a 500m stroll to get a kebab from Mums Kebabs and discuss anything life, politics, money, religion etc: A temporary escape from the trivial stresses of work, right in the middle of every day.

3. Coffee    coffee

Do I need to explain? Apparently there is a strange sub-breed of human that don’t drink coffee. Honestly. I don’t know how I would survive without coffee. Even if it has to be bad coffee. Too often I find myself up way too late at night telling myself that I will sleep when i’m dead, until it gets to the morning, and then I feel like I may be a lot closer to death then I realize. Until I get a coffee. Then everything is OK.

That was surprisingly hard. The three things I came up with seem quite pathetic too (except Facebook. Facebook really has been amazing). But I guess I am grateful for them. So there they are. Welcome to my pathetic gratitudes. Hopefully I can come up with something better and post again next week. Oh Internet. How you destroy me.

Preparing for Plan B

In 10 days now I have my interview with Merlin Entertainment, which could land me on Falls Creek (the snow in Australia) for an entire season. I remain positive, though proceed with caution. Anyone intending to lead a lifestyle of adventure, myself included, needs to be able to change with circumstance. I must assess the ‘what if’, analyse my options and be prepared to tackle plan B if needed.

The most pressing question on my mind lately is ‘can I lead the lifestyle I want, whilst continuing to get ahead?’. It seems the answer is an overwhelming yes. It just requires me to think outside the square, the rules of our world are different now. Though I am still so far removed from that reality that uncertainty is bouncing around in my head.

I have faith in myself. I see others jump in, take a risk, and chase a dream. I see them succeed. These are the people that get to the finish line with a real story to tell, a story of adventure, of risk and of overcoming. My story so far I am proud of, if for nothing else then for the education and experience it has given me. This is my life, our lives, ours to do with as we choose. Am I so scared of not being successful or being broke that im not willing to try and really live?

A desk is a slow and uninteresting way to fade away. I choose to live.

Memories of Travel in Spain 2

When we landed, we knew that we were potentially in a very dangerous situation. At the time Spain had an unemployment rate around 25%. It was night time, and very dark. From the airport we needed to get a train in to Madrid to get to our accommodation.

The train was occupied by locals and various other travelers, mostly in groups of at least two, others by themselves. When the train pulled up to our destination, my eyes were open and I was fully aware of my surroundings. There were many suspicious characters. The kind that seem to take the same turn far too many times, whilst seemingly communicating with others nearby but not immediately present. I made sure that those in our presence knew we knew they were there, and they seemed to keep their distance. Before finding our way out of the train station, we noticed one of the suspicious characters that I suspected was following us begin opening the pack of a lone female traveler. My friend spoke up, the thief left unrewarded for his efforts.

For such an awkward arrival time the streets were teeming with people. Seemingly, the excessive unemployment rate forced many people to do whatever they could to make a buck on the streets. We were completely new to the country and spoke none of its language and the locals were already trying to get us to participate in street performances. Magic tricks, with cards mainly.

I always pack lightly and as such only had a backpack, but it still made me paranoid. We must have obviously stood out as new arrivals. Expensive things must be in those bags. We were disoriented and unsure of which way the hostel was. The city is nothing like Melbourne, directions were given from plazas, open areas where roads meet. Eventually we found the hostel and found some relief. Our things were safe. Time to go for drinks.

I have many fond memories of being in Spain. Perhaps some of the most memorable are the innovative street performers. The ones that didn’t harass, but instead used a bit of creativity to make you feel obliged to give them some cash. The one I can remember the most clearly was sitting with a guitar in the alley ways of Sevilla quietly playing away in wait. As soon as our tourist group turned up he noticed and got right in the middle as we passed through the narrow alleys forced almost in to single file and started playing music that we all recognized. Though I can’t remember the song, for some reason i’m thinking it was some sort of Britney Spears, because everyone was in hysterics and his guitar ended up covered in cash.

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Letting go

My life is about to change. I no longer have space for unnecessary material possessions. I don’t know what comes next, only that possessions tie me down. Right now, the one person that knows me better than anyone else in the world is going through what is left of my things.

Everything I own triggers a memory, like a song reminds us of a childhood habit or a smell reminds us of a long gone and distant location. The things that last, that don’t end up in the trash, on the kerb or flogged off, tend to be the things that hold the most meaning. Sentimental value. Memories of people, of love, of pain, of times that were. Memories of people no longer with us and stories of people we never even met.

The more my pile of possessions dwindles, the more difficult it is to continue its reduction. I do not want to get rid of what is left. It hurts. But I do not know what to do with all of it. And so she is here. The one person in this world that has seen through my many facades and understands the person that lies beneath, and she is going through what is left. This is what she chooses to take with her.

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Each of these simple things hold more than a retail value. Each of them makes a small part of me. A part of me is in each of them. A story, one mostly of happiness in times that should have been miserable. A time when faced with real responsibility. A real reason to show up and be counted where a smile and laughter was found. But everything changes. It’s time to let go. We must all let go of something at some point. At the end all we have are our memories and the people we love.

Some people will loose everything they have, against their will. Be it a fire, a flood, theft or any other means. But I choose to become more than I am now, I choose to change, which means freeing myself from this endless consumerism, this accumulation of material. My memories will not fade with my possessions. Everything I know and love will be stored in 1’s and 0’s. To be reflected upon at will. My story from this day forth will be recorded, in writing and in photos. I must get better at taking photos. I have photos. Time to let go.

Contemplating enormity and fearing for our future

7.15 billion and counting. Often I stop to consider the complexities of my singular existence, and the extensive politics of the interactions I experience. We will not ever experience this life through the eyes of anyone but ourselves. Yet there are so many of us.

I often stand, and consider the complexities of my own singular existence, in the middle of a crowd. Surrounded by as many people as I can find. Thousands, tens of thousands even. So many people that I cannot see or appreciate how many, or how far the crowd extends. With the complexity involved in my own life, I contemplate the expanse of experience within the crowd. Each individual holding the experience of an entire lifetime. The knowledge of a path I have not travelled.

How many of us must have ideas that just needs to be expressed to the right audience? Ideas that could make a real and measurable difference in this world. I consider how small and insignificant the crowds I find are, how I can be completely submerged in masses of people that I could never hope to understand the complexities of, in a small city, in a country that has not even 0.5% of the worlds population.

7.15 billion and counting. The majority in poverty, a condition we have invented. So many without food or water. Why? With our own experience limiting our understanding of the world as a whole, it is easy, and understandable, that we often default to believing that our opinions are of the utmost importance, that our own comfort is paramount and that our vantage point represents the world as a whole. Yet there are billions far worse off than we can understand. Living in constant fear, hunger and under threat of torture or death.

How many Einstein’s have gone undiscovered? How many Mandela’s have been oppressed without opportunity? If we can just survive ourselves. If our governments can face what is really important, instead of piss farting around profit and wasting on incompetence, and we can save this planet and connect its population, where will we go? I often wonder if we are on the brink of greatness, with the imminent threat of total destruction becoming more real every day.

With so many people, the ideas to make our race brilliant are already in us. But we need to tap into them. We need to free our own people and provide opportunity and safety to everyone. Where will the next great discovery come from? Who will have the next revolutionary idea?

This world is not merciful to the majority. It is not merciful to the smart, or the kind. It is not merciful for anything but luck. But by the fortune of being born in to a safe place, with opportunity available only to the lucky minority.

What do I really want?

It seems there are so many good answers to the question ‘what do you really want?’

Some may say they want a nice house with no mortgage. Others, a fancy car. Many want a beautiful and loving wife with a family to suit. But what is the one thing, that most significant overarching achievement, that would truly bring satisfaction into your life? Is it a million dollars?

For me, it freedom of choice. Something we all already have to a lesser degree than my ultimate goal. I want to have the freedom to decide, after I wake up in the morning, what I do with my day, on any day, all year round, for the rest of my life without any stresses. I want to decide whether I go to work…. or not. I want to have the freedom to pack up, at any time, and go wherever I want. Tomorrow, if I want to go to New York City and walk the perimeter of Central Park, I would book a plane ticket and just go do it. Why not? YOLO right?

To many, this dream might seem so far out of reach that it’s simply not realistic. To me, this seems readily achievable, so much so that I’m already preparing for it to happen.

The first thing that needed to happen, was that I needed to focus. How am I going to make this happen? Really think about this. Consult google (seriously) and ask yourself, of all your ideas, which ones are reasonable? Which ones might just work? My current list of answers is getting so long I’m struggling to pick which I’m going to try first.

The second thing is to get to work. Get going, start learning, be the best, work and work hard. Don’t stop and don’t let a hurdle bring you down.

The third thing. Be prepared for success. Don’t be afraid and be prepared to win. Know what you will do when you do win. Because anyone that believes they can, that strives for it and that doesn’t give up, will win. Soon it will be my turn.

My focus has been clear for quite some time now. My ideas are vast and realistic, however I have found not achievable in my current lifestyle. I find it kind of ironic that I have made the decision to quit my well paid engineering career in order to pursue my goals. Counterintuitive right? Well, not really. My greatest asset is me. In my skills, my education and my time. The most important thing for me now, is to get out of the stressful professional job, start living a life with more laughter, more people and more time to make my dreams a reality. So screw the wage, I’m about to make my wildest dreams come true.

Starting Over

From being so far behind, to getting closer and closer to being back at the starting line. My motivation is returning. In torrents. I am the only person in control of my future and I am not satisfied with being average. I am not satisfied with just getting by.

What has been stopping me? Me. Only me. Nobody can tell me what I can or cannot do because they are not me. They do not know me and they do not know what I will achieve. I have failed now so many times. Lost and lost again, been laughed at and mocked. But at least I have tried. I have not settled with the option of slaving away for a boss until I am 65, to then settle for living in relative poverty. I have learnt far too much to allow that to happen. That will not be my life. I have fallen on my face, taken the hits, allowed myself to get trampled on and listened to the voices that have told me my dreams are ridiculous. They are not. My dreams are real. My dreams are possible and I will achieve them. I will not be average. I will fall and fail, as many times as necessary until I get to where I want to be.

I have been stagnant now for far too long. It’s time I got back in the game. No more piss farting around and pretending. My dream is real. My ideas will work. Just because they have not worked yet simply means that I have not worked hard enough at them yet. I want to be great and I am prepared to work for it. I will be great.

Fear. Fear stops us. Fear has halted me and I have found too many ways to find temporary release from it. I have feared and felt the anxiety of failure. I have written about it and allowed it to consume me. Fear of failure is akin to telling myself that I am not prepared to even try. Fear is pathetic. If success was so easy and failure was optional, than why are more people not successful. Why are so many people slaving away. I believe my dreams will happen for me and I believe I deserve it.

It’s 3:30 am. I’m not going back to sleep. I have work to do. Tomorrow, I get back in to the library. The next time I fall over, I will not stay down at all. I will get straight back up.

Memories of Travel in New Zealand

The very first thing I noticed when walking out of the airport in Queenstown, New Zealand was the purity of the air, so fresh and surreal. Looking up, regardless of direction, we were completely surrounded by mountains, all of which were capped with pure white snow. New Zealand is the only place I have ever been where I am convinced we have not caused detrimental impacts to the environment (though perhaps I am unaware of all the details). Besides the airport, the land immediately surrounding it and the surface of water, it seemed that flat ground didn’t exist. Everything everywhere was on a hill. The ‘stumble’ back to our accomodation, though remarkably close to the town centre, included a steep hill and an endless flight of stairs which never seemed to be a challenge during the day, but caused havoc at night.

Our first stop was the local supermarket. The struggle to find the freshest piece of fruit seemed foreign, the place was packed full of the freshest fruit I have ever seen.

The Town Centre itself was very small, perhaps because a bigger one wouldn’t fit. The locals all seemed to be in hiding. Queenstown really is a tourist town, full of young and care free people with no concern greater than which mountain had good snow and where to find the cheapest beer. Day 1 I was told we needed to get a Ferg Burger, not that I knew what that was. The burger place was completely full, with a line out front every time I went at every hour. I was told it closed its doors for a few hours every day, though I didn’t see it, and I had a lot of amazing burgers.

I recall walking along the boardwalk, with no destination in mind, staring out in to the water. The clearest water I have ever seen. Pebbles clearly defined beneath the surface and not a piece of trash in sight.

The snow was the main attraction. Of a 10 day visit I recall doing 8 trips to the snow. One at night after we told ourselves we weren’t going that day, and ultimately decided later to go anyway. The mountains were unlike anything I have experienced in Australia. With so much talk of which mountain had better coverage and where was patchy in town, I struggled to find anywhere that I didn’t deem to have almost ideal boarding conditions. Too many trips to Mt Buller, squeezing through hoards of the fumbling and stumbling, avoiding grass and ice at every turn had perhaps given me rose tinted goggles.

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Despite my many trips to the snow prior to NZ, it was there that I really learnt how to control a board. I will return there one day. The sooner the better, though I have learnt that I have a tendency to convince myself that the last place I visited is my favourite, and that the best decision is to go somewhere new. So to somewhere new I will go.

74 days left. Then I am once again free to live my life.

The Will to Continue

Things are hard. They have not been easy for years. Knowing now that work is coming to an end on May 30 only makes it harder to continue to turn up. Though, like so many of us I am not currently in a position where that is a choice I have the luxury of making. My current job fortunately pays me very well and so with it I at least have a good chance of getting myself back to the starting line before it is over. Without it, who knows how long it will take, being so far behind now for the last 6 months or so, after a series of terrible decisions, has pushed me further down and kept me there.

I have only really been on the rise again for about 1 month. I am making ground very quickly, but it is hard work and only reinforces just how far ahead of the game i should have been by now. By now, if i just had have been prepared, i should have been nearing the finish line. But I was just so unaware of the long term impacts of my decisions. No point beating myself up about what should have been right?

I know my potential. I have seen myself work. I have seen myself excel at everything I ever had passion for. Passion converts directly in to motivation. But being behind has drained both the passion and motivation from my life completely. I just need to get back to 0. Back in the positive. Back to the place where whatever I try is pushing me further ahead rather than gaining lost ground. 

It is hard to continue. But we must. Giving up will not achieve anything. Except maybe to teach us how bad the bottom can be. I hit my lowest about 3 months ago. I will not go back there. I cannot go back there.

Life got hard. But I am resilient.