A wise man once said, ‘make change not excuses’.
The key to finding out who and what you are is actually done by finding out what and who you are not. It sounds very simple indeed, and part of my decision to make my way from the apple isle to Western Australia some five years ago was to do just this. Now, as I am in the same position, only the other way around, I find some real vindication in the journey the past half-decade has offered me.
A path of self-discovery, real independence and professional and spiritual growth was on the cards. The challenge of moving away and finding my feet is now an accustomed feat I find solace in. Following my, "seek challenge, seek change" mantra, I now reflect on my time in the west, I analyse, knowing the things that have taken place have indeed happened to make me a better person. All this in readiness for the next phase of life.
To sit back and admire the accomplishments of the past five years, is actually quite the challenge, compared to the previous five years but a deed worthwhile doing all the same. To think, in the previous five I feel more comfortable saying there was fulfilment in riches now seems an oversight. For the fact I'm writing this knowing there is a strong following reading is something I wouldn't have imagined possible five years ago. I type with a ring on my left hand, having locked away the most influential beauty I have ever met in Fiji, again, in the last five years. I look beyond the computer screen and see toy boxes, belonging not to me but the angel my wife and I brought into the world, yes in the most recent five years of life. And of course, I now leave the state of Western Australia to take on a dream pair of professional acquisitions. What could beat this? This is living the dream!
To compare this to the previous five years, I will note some reasonably substantial occurrences happened also. Multiple premierships at state level, complimented with a League B & F medal, plus the acquisition of my very first home and the meeting of my now wife. So, what has this past half decade offered me that will continue to build on the journey that is my life? To do so, I must recall that my most recent experiences have shown me what I am not, as opposed to what I am. And this in itself, is what has helped me become the 'me' of today.
Scratching my chin, I think, 'where could I begin?' I could go on for an eternity but ten should suffice.
1. Well for starters, I'm not patient! I want to be better in this area but I do see it as a good thing as well. A former mentor of mine told me, "keep prodding". I find I make a bigger impact doing this, so, although I can tinker this, I'm happy it has brought about significant gains.
2. I'm not pretentious! This is what has been hardest to come to terms with in my time here. Too many times we cross pretentious folk, ready to throw you under the bus at the next opportunity. A word of advice: steer clear of these people and, naturally, you will be surrounded by incredible humans who, inherently challenge, inspire and change you, for the good.
3. I'm not a robot! Sounds funny, right? But in the big bad world out there, too many of us are content with being the same, same but different. The world needs innovative and inspirational beings, ready to push the boundaries. This is what I've learned about myself and what I am.
4. I'm not a bully. I grew up playing 'the bullied becomes the bully'. I've seen it almost daily for the last couple of decades in schools and I know it lives and breathes everywhere. And now, even in adulthood, I feel bullies surround us all, but thankfully, I have changed my ways and promote well-being and good vibes for all.
5. I'm not selfish. I realised during my time in Western Australia that selfless people are few and far between, they make up a minority and are rarely valued the way they should be. I thrive in environments which put others first, where there's a sense of team and everyone works together. I consider myself lucky to be heading back to this type of setting.
6. I'm not a narcissist. Many people in life will show you how not to act if you want to get ahead and stay ahead. The narcissist is one of these. Coming across several of these has allowed me to realise the importance of others.
7. I'm not disloyal. Although there were times where I could've easily changed my mind and conformed in differing networks; football, work, friendships, it goes on, I feel I have remained loyal to those worth being loyal to. Then there were times too, where I stayed loyal for too long to those who I needn't worry. But it is all great learning, slowly developing my character, to the point where I stand today.
8. I'm not as mentally strong as I thought. Well, I was not, is more accurate. When I came over to the west, I thought this beast was going to be easy to tame. I have grown mentally stronger in order to deal with the arrows in which life always throws. But there were times where I had to question myself and my mental toughness.
9. I'm not "time poor". We sit around procrastinating an awful lot. We perhaps excuse our tardiness, our negativity and lack of organisation on the saying, "time poor". As I quickly realised; with a book or two being published, a football schedule readily seen as a part-time job and a young family, I am very busy but will always find time for those in need where necessary.
10. I'm not unkind. Inherently, where someone is in need of some cheering up, a chat or even a shoulder, I feel of sense of pride in helping. Like I'm making up for poor decisions in the past, I go out of my way to aid those who need help. You never know the difference you can make, just by showing you genuinely care.
Finally, the thing I have found easiest to come to terms with is the fact I am not a West Aussie. I take pride in being from 'over East' and it sits well with me knowing I now leave making a difference in some sense whilst on a five-year stint here. It has been an absolute blast. An adrenaline pumping roller coaster at times, and I come out the other side better skilled for what prosperity lies ahead. To those who I have made some sort of impression, lasting or not, I salute you and truly hope our paths cross again. Life's journey is one of learning and this stretch has given me a toolkit, ready to assist on the path that lies ahead. I feel I am READY.