Time certainly flies when you sit back and try to comprehend just what roads you have paved in a decade. For all I knew I could’ve been dead within ten years, such is the precious nature of life. So the list started with a short term goal, as most do. It filtered through to some life changing aspirations. From this, I have created a memoir of sorts, a “ten things you should aim to do by thirty” checklist for all you aspirant readers out there.
“Grow Up!” I eloquently wrote some eleven years ago; it was the first of ten but obviously one of the most important for me at the time. I was reckless, rebellious and unforgiving. I was a footballer without too much respect for those who I needn’t care for. If I was going to fit in, on my new adventure I was going to have to mature and to it rapidly. I was always wanted to get out of my home town; move away, just get away and not worry about the concerns in which small town politics bring about. Independence was the key to achieving this goal. The first year away was tough but, with perseverance and some very strong role models in my new-found football club, life lessons were quickly learned. I quickly understood the power of routine, putting only my best foot forward in any endeavour you undertake. I found the reward in the up keeping of high standards.
I needed a cause in my journey, I wanted to promote my quirky insight on life and build a little team of future stars. I set a goal of getting a qualification. This was completed early in the piece and has given me a platform forward to many valuable life lessons since. Teaching is a life style in itself. Its nature has allowed me to take steps toward many of my other aspirations and has shed light on the importance of nurturance, care and ambition. Messages I convey to those under my guidance.
‘Something you must do before you turn thirty’, I commanded myself, ‘is travel the world’. I’m so glad I never lost my urge to get out and see the world. Experience cultures, history and headspaces I never knew existed. With over 30 countries embarked upon, I feel I have checked the box, knowing full well my travels are still ongoing. The beauty of travel is that it gives you a profound take on perspective; a break from the every-day first world sagas, an epiphany for future life pathways and an appreciation for what is not only present right there at that moment, but for what you will eventually return home to.
As a kid, then as a teenager, despite thinking I had it all sorted, I was warped in my ideals; my understanding of the priorities in life and the manner in which I treated those around me. I was incessantly troubled; I bullied, I was reckless and really selfish. I needed to start a fresh and surround myself with a positive influence, no matter the life circle. It was here, number four on the list greeting me; meet new friends. Many people will tell you, the time spent at university brings about the closest, most like-minded friends you will ever find. This, in a way, was true. During the time at university, I reinvented myself and developed a mature and honourable way to converse with others, appreciate them for who they were and simply put others first. In this time I found treasure in the relationships I formed and, yes, tick the box, I attained some of the best friendships I’ve had and ever will.
Friends are great but what each of truly need to quench satisfaction on a social front is to find the one person that completes you. Yes, I’m a sucker for this sort of stuff but hey, I did this too. The most incredible human being makes my life complete. My complimentary soul mate; for all my stress, she is level headed, my judgmental temperament, she is grounded and my unremitting negativity, she is a positive breath of fresh air, drifting through every network filling the room with a vibrant, down to earth nature. Her positivity is contagious.
You set goals for a purpose. I set my sixth goal as an investment. This was to reap reward as I neared thirty; I wanted security for whatever life was to ultimately bring. Interestingly or ironically enough, as a teen, despite being reckless in most matters, I was extremely tight with money and budgeted as if my life depended on it. “Future Dreams” I named my savings account and even at Uni, I saved money. I bought a house, then invested in a land development. With one of the blocks, we built another house. By the time I hit thirty recently, I had sold the two houses and, although still having four blocks to sell, I am out of the game with no red to my name and another new account titled, “Future Dreams”. This one has a head start! Check!
Perhaps the whole reason I sit writing this blog is due to my next checklist item. I loved writing, especially creative writing which had hidden messages of hope and aspiration. It was on a trip along the western coast of Australia when something struck a chord in me. I just wanted to share my stories with the world. Five months later, Billy The Brilliant, was released. My very first children’s book! It was an achievement which felt very surreal at the time and even still a little now. Two books down, many more to come. The books getting into the homes of families was the aim but the transformation this whole experience had on me as an individual was where this past decade took its finest turn!
I wanted to make a difference so much I didn’t care how. I wanted to inspire, to share my story, help others become the best version of themselves without the worries of judgment or making irreparable errors. Through my teaching, my book journey and interaction with different sections of the community, that’s what I had done. I feel the whole purpose of this list in the first place was to do just this - make a difference. Naturally, I made a choice, and sub consciously, things started to happen. In a classroom and around the school community I was treated as God, though doing nothing other than giving kids a chance to explore what makes them great. In the community, the book and my footballing had (and continues to) opened lines of great involvement. This was making a difference in itself and I have unwillingly become a better version of what I thought I could have a decade ago.
My next checklist item was to give more than I take. I was so selfish growing up and now, I’m a different person. I haven’t forgotten the lessons I learned from being a curious kid and wouldn’t change the upbringing I had for a second, but for some reason I was selfish. This one I judge myself. I’ll leave the box unchecked.
Perhaps most important to me, or perhaps just another reflection of the pressure I put on myself, was my last checklist item. It read just two words. BE HAPPY! After one incredible journey, this box is being left blank. To the next decade.