Sorry for all the oddities on my blog at the moment, I know there's some funny elements and missing links. I've just started this blog and I'm still working out the kinks, but it will all be fixed up ASAP. Cheers :)

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Has Modernity cost us our Families?

Ignoring my incredibly bad hairline (I'm the 'home-grown' baldy), this photo is of me, my brother, and his family. I don't want to name anybody here because, well, thats not my decision to make, but these are some of the people I love, and I miss, more than I could ever put into words. 

So today I thought I'd write about family and what they're worth, which is everything! See, for me this is a bit of an admission of guilt. I moved interstate around 10yrs ago and this photo is from one of the rare rare visits I've made. I know a lot of you can probably relate, and I know there are lots of reasons we all have. Some of my reasons include working full-time, than studying full-time, being absolutely broke, medical issues, depression, the list goes on... But now I find myself looking back at these memories of my family and my beautiful nieces and nephews, while realising they're entering high-school now, and I haven't been there at all for them, and know little of the people they've become. My oldest niece is deaf, and now has her own place, and is travelling on holidays by herself. Her younger sister did the same thing and at one stage was working what I think was 3 jobs. I have a little nephew (the little guy in the photo on the second floor :p) who I barely know, and a niece who topped the STATE with her grades, and was presented a certificate at an official function, which I only found out about 1 whole year later. I even have a niece who's just recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl, I'm now a great-uncle! Honestly, it kills me to realise how much I've missed. I've always prided myself on being an Uncle (I've been an uncle since the day of my birth, lol), and because I grew up being an uncle, i'm also used to being a friend, and right now, in reality, I'm neither.

So I find myself asking if this problem is my own, or whether other people are also experiencing it, and of course in western society we're surrounded by other people and dis-jointed families in the same or similar situations. We send our elderly of to nursing homes, the amount of children for adoption grows, and yet we call ourselves 'modern' societies. Now, if we were to compare the family values of our 'modern' society, to that of most native societies, we see that their family values are so much greater than ours we can't even compare. Now i know this is the second blog where I've seemingly 'dissed' modernity or the western world, so let me be clear: I LOVE modernity, especially with the freedoms we're blessed with in Western societies, but it's not infallible, and it has many weaknesses; the one that I see is a real problem is the consumer/commercial way of the world destroying the family unit. I'm not religious, or socialist, or anything along those lines, I'm just an Uncle missing his family and looking at society helping him miss them.

On the other side of the family tree, we have my grandparents, both of whom are passed away now (and if you're reading this Nan & Pop, I love you both dearly). Now, my grandmother lived with us in her last years, but she had dementia. Because of this condition we had support from an aged care home service, who would come two or three times a week for a few hours to give my mother support and a chance to rest. For my Grandfather however, he had no major mental illness and thus did not qualify for this, and spent his last years isolated in a smaller community which he could afford to live in. A lot of it he did to himself with his grumpy attitude, but again, that came from his war-time experiences. Alas, despite us all being there for the very last few days in hospital, he spent his last few years alone. BUT, at least within Australia, there is a service for these people that you can either request assistance from, or maybe even help out? This service is called the "Community Visitors Scheme", I worked with them for a few months before I decided to go back to full-time study and it was the most rewarding experience ever, and the people were lovely. I simply visited one or two people once or twice a week, it was as simple as that, they were lovely people, and they loved my visits as for some of them I was the only person they'd see besides their doctor.If it wasn't for my depression on-top of full time study I would have continued, but they're always looking for people if you're living in Australia, and your interested? Just click on the link above...

To my family if thy're reading... Mum, Dad, Matthew, Robert, Lindon, Joanne, Terry, Robert & Sharon, I love you all so much and I hope you know that. Shane, Samantha, Terri-Anne, Renee, Dean, Sophie, Chantelle, Julian, Jet, and Isabella. please know I love you all more than you could ever realise. And of course my love to the rest of the clan as well.

Maybe this is a conversation we need to have though, does modern society support the holding together of a family? It feels like my blog is really becoming not only more of a personal journal, but also very pessimistic on modernity, I think I'll need to work on this, haha, but thanks for reading, and please lets discuss this: Are you happy with the way your family keep's in touch?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-Christmas, Post-Childhood, Post-Merry?

A Christmas Stress-ball... How appropriate?
Image via Axell @ Flickr
     Merry Christmas Everybody!!!! Deck the halls, ring the bells, etc... etc... Whether you spent the day with family or friends, at home or visiting another's home, wherever you were and whatever you did, I truly hope you had a great day! Personally, I spent Christmas eve catching up with my Father & Step-Mother who visited, and then had a lovely two days sharing wonderful meals, a few small but well though out presents, and some great Christmas spirit with my mother and brother. Of course me and my friends all wished each other the best Christmas, and Christmas as a community is fantastic, but at the end of the day family is where Christmas is truly at it's best.

     There was something different about our Christmas this year though, as we didn't have a tree, or any decorations. We didn't mourn over the regular Christmas rituals, we simply took it slow. Now, while this could just be a sign of a grown family on a low income managing Christmas, I think it's also a sign of the times... Christmas has transformed so much since modernity, with the influences of retail, sales, and advertising; Technology advancing so fast that a brand new x-box is already superseded by the next Christmas to come; The pressure to buy buy buy, spend spend spend, has never been greater. The cost of living rises at least five times as quickly as wages do... and to top it all off, if you can't keep up and provide for your children on Christmas, well, that's not seen as a failure of the system but a failure of the parent. For kids, Christmas is still a wonderful fairytale, and hopefully that never changes. But, for the rest of us, Christmas can sometimes seem to be a big pressure point that comes at the end of every-year at just the time we're suppose to be able to finally relax.

     Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to knock the good ole' Christmas tradition. The whole history of Santa and the north pole that lights up childrens faces everywhere, the amazing joy of sharing our love for one another, the opportunity to reflect on whether we've been naughty or nice... It's all fantastic stuff. This year, i was dressed up as Santa Claus briefly for a friends costume party, and had the opportunity to let a small girl receive a gift from Santa personally, and it was truly marvelous! Christmas is grand! But I'm just worried that despite all these wonderful elements, the commercial transformation of Christmas is taking away the 'grander' side of this holiday period for most of us. Christmas day itself is always great... but people are often working (if not on Christmas itself) the very next day. People often start reflecting on their Christmas not by who they got to share it with, but by what they were received, or were able to give.

     So I guess in the end, I don't see Christmas as evil, useless, or anywhere near dead. BUT I do think it's going to be important to stress to future generations the 'spirit' of Christmas, above and beyond the commercialism of the day. I am an Uncle and I Looove my nieces and nephews, I want them to have the best of Christmas, every year. But tell me, what do you think of what I'm saying here? Is Christmas degraded my commercialism, or do you think it's strengthened, stronger than it's ever been? Whatever you think, let me know...

     Now for those of you that are sick of it all together, here's a simple shoot 'em up online game called 'Kill Christmas' where you can vent some of your frustrations as a clown with a gun. And for those of you that are still full of Christmas spirit, and have something left to give, why not give it to someone less fortunate? In early February, for all you fellow Sydney-sider's, The Sydney Morning Herald are holding their annual Sun Run & Cole classic (swim). If your an active kind of fellow than there's still plenty of time for you to register, raise funds, and get involved! After all, Christmas is about the spirit of giving, not the dollar coin and the best brand name....
Merry Christmas to you all! Lets hope 2011 is a great year for everyone!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

So What is this Blog all about?.... (ie: My incredibly long Intro)

         OK well hello everybody. You're probably all wondering what this blog will be about, and why I'm blogging? Well, your not alone in that question because I'm asking it too, and the only answer that comes to my mind is "Why not?". Seriously though, I blogged last year as part of an Oxfam project, and I used to be an (almost) daily vlogger, so the idea of Blogging has always interested me. I also have always had a love for writing, for conversation, creativity, and more generally expression. And finally, I love idea's, I love people, and it's only when people and idea's are connected that change and progress happens. It's gotten to a point where my friends are writing awesome blogs, and the instinct for me to join them is overwhelming. So, I guess that's why I'm here :).

         The next thing I should tell you is what this blog will be about, but once again there's no clear answer here. It's going to be both a personal journal for me, and also an outlet where I hope to start interesting conversations. I'll start by telling you what you probably can't expect from my blog:
  • Consistency...
    • Sorry guys, it aint gonna happen. My mind is about as random as a rainbow turning up in the middle of a drought stricken dessert after the appearance of a rabbit in a tuxedo...?
  • Perfect Grammar, Spelling, etc...
    • In writing this blog I've used spell checker more than you'd ever believe. I am a Uni student who has to stress with every piece of writing I submit because honestly grammar is my weakness. So, while I will do my best to write well, I'm not stressing to much over this blog, so you'll just have to grit your teeth and bare it! :p
  • Regularly scheduled posts...
    • Yeah, I'll repeat it one more time: "I'm a Uni student", I also have depression and some other health considerations. So I'll try to post whenever I can and it's not just going to be pointless. but don't wait up.
Now, what you can expect:

  • Psychological and Philosophical related posts
    • My two main areas of academic interest.
  • Creative Writing
    • Poetry, Song Lyrics, Maybe even a short story or two
  • Sharing of the Internetz
    • The Web is fun!!!! Sooooo much fun!!! And fun is always better shared.
  • Rambling, Reflection, Questioning, etc...
    • Lot's of it.

Alright so that's my blog covered, now what about me... (does anyone else have that Shannon Noll song in their head now or is it just me?) As I said before I'm a Psychology student, studying via a Bachelor of Arts so I can also study Philosophy. However, my long term goal is to actually study sociology as well, and then be able to treat people for both their psychological needs and their sociological circumstances. I grew up with some physical weaknesses, which I often cruelly phrase as "I was born Retarded", and also into a household and family that strangely belonged to two socio-economic groups simultaneously. This meant I was exposed to all sorts of thing at a very young age, so thats where I guess I got my inspiration for my career goals. Before I went to study I worked in retail and sales for 8 years, selling electronics, manchester, and banking products. I've also done volunteer work in aged care, general fund raising & awareness, and also briefly acted as a co-convener for an LGBTI rights group here in Sydney called CAAH (Community Action against Homophobia)

I Love people, conversation, movies, and music. The movie 'Empire Records' (1995) is an obsession of mine, along with 'Almost Famous', and I loved 'Inception'. Music-wise my tastes are very varied, but more mainstream than anything else. I am a lyrics person though, and probably would have to say R&B and Dance are my favourite Genre's, including the Artful Dodger & Babyface. 

I think that's about all there is I need to tell you. If you have any questions please ask, I really want to make this blog as interactive as possible, and now I will bid you farewell till next time. Have a great day