At some point in the last ten years, I was led to believe that the dawn of the age of social media was supposed to help us socialise, be more sociable, keep in touch with long-lost friends, etc. Sure, I have met lots of people via Twitter and even managed to meet some of them in person, many have shown me such kindness and generosity that I never thought existed in real life, let alone people I had never met in person before. I have also reconnected with friends near and far who I have not seen in a long time.
Of course, with every positive, there is always something negative you can find with the use of social media. For example, I am so glad I am not a teenager growing up in today’s age of constant technology, where schoolyard bullying extends beyond the confines of a schoolyard. A tweet, a photo or a video posted on the world-wide web picking on someone can ruin someone’s life within seconds. Continue reading →
2011 has been a bittersweet year for me. As I struggled to look for work, I was suddenly faced with something I had never had this much of before: time! Time to do many things I had been putting off doing but was always too busy to do before. Although the opportunities of the “paid” variety were lacking, I was also given opportunities to do other things that just may one day lead to a more fulfilling life.
And so, as another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the things and events that have impacted me in whatever capacity. Many have been happy but some, not so much. So here we go…
Retiring Swans Co-captain Craig Bolton takes a lap of honour around the SCG
The year in AFL has been a mixed one. My team, the Sydney Swans, spent most of their home games in Sydney playing in wet conditions, which means I spent a lot of time trying to stay dry in the stands. With the well-respected Paul Roos now retired after a very successful 8 years in the senior coach’s position, the reigns were handed down to his former assistant, John “Horse” Longmire. It had been six years since the Swans won a Premiership and with many of its Premiership players retired or retiring, many critics did not give the youngsters on the 2011 playlist much chance to make the finals series. As usual, the Swans showed their “Bloods” spirit and proved the naysayers wrong and we made it as far as the second week of the finals, finishing sixth on the ladder. Not a bad effort at all. Go Swans!
I stayed over at my sister’s house last night as she and my brother-in-law had a rare night out. I was minding my nephew who has to be the easiest kid to babysit (once you’re used to his routines as if they’re the Order of Service at a wedding :)) and he asked his Mum, my sister: “Is Ah-yee (meaning your mother’s younger sister in Cantonese) living with us?”
Now, for those among you who are cynics, he wasn’t asking the question in a whiny way. He was serious. That was a precious moment – he wants me to be there all the time. Ah, that is a proud aunty moment, for sure, and one that I will treasure for as long as I can before he becomes a grumpy teenage boy! Lol
After receiving a phone call last week from an old friend’s sister-in-law to inform me that my friend had passed away suddenly from a motorcycle accident, then attending his funeral 2 days later, I needed some good quality family time. My friend was only in his mid-30s and has left behind a wife and four young children.
So I am keeping this short and sweet. Go and hug (and maybe kiss – if appropriate :)) someone you love. Tell them you love them and show them you appreciate them for being in your life.
Do it. Now.
If you ever need a reason or motivation to do it, just watch this wonderful video – Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. I have watched this a couple of times and have also read his book. It is powerful stuff.
Less than two weeks ago, I wrote about a friend of mine, Mary, who married her long-time partner, Rodney, in a beautiful, yet simple, ceremony in Sydney (see “Picture of Love, Togetherness and Strength“). Last Friday, I was so proud of myself for using my new-found Windows Movie Maker skills when I made a short wedding video with the photos I had taken at their wedding and put it to music with a couple of Bruno Mars songs. It was my little gift to Mary for her 39th birthday. She had replied back, via Rodney, to say the video had put a smile on her face. Rodney was excited about being on YouTube.
Mary and Me in Adelaide, Nov 2009
Sadly, today, I awoke to the news that Mary had passed away this morning in Adelaide, having lost her brave battle with cancer. The news has greatly upset me all day for many reasons and I have been trying to find the right words to express this. The passing of a loved one is never easy to accept. The loss of one so young – a contemporary, well, actually younger than me by several months – with a young family and so much to live for, just adds to the craziness of how the world works. Perhaps the most frustrating (is that the right word?) part about this loss is that I feel like Mary and I only just “found” each other again 2 years ago after having only seen each other once or twice since we finished high school. When we caught up in November 2009 in Adelaide, we had even talked about meeting up in Melbourne one time when my football team, the Sydney Swans, played hers, Collingwood Magpies.
“As we grow older we think we’re losing friends when in fact we are realising who our true ones are.”
I must start by apologising to whoever came up with this quote. I cannot remember where I read it – possibly on one of my Blackberry apps for Quotes of the Day…no matter. Whoever you are, I thank you.
I am a Gen-X’er who grew up in an era of typewriters (electric, at that!), Pac-Man, colour TVs and encyclopedias. I used to write letters with pen and paper and had to visit the post office for stamps or aerograms to keep in touch with friends interstate and overseas. Some people might say that in the pre-“www” age, it was harder to keep in touch with friends. I don’t necessarily agree. It is true that you had to make a bigger effort to keep in touch, but if the friendship is worthwhile, then shouldn’t the effort also be worth it? And these days, with the ease and availability of email, Facebook, Twitter and mobile texting, what excuses do we have for not keeping in touch?
Last weekend, I attended the wedding of a friend I met in my last two years of high school (which was a very long time ago!). We were friends even back then, but I would not say we were close. I suppose you could say we both had the personalities that would get along with just about anyone. After we finished high school, we had only seen each other once (for a mutual friend’s 21st birthday in the early 90s – just to give you context of the timeframe) and then not again until we re-discovered each other via Facebook in 2009. And, as Fate would have it, she was living in Adelaide in South Australia and I was going there for a holiday just a few days after we realised she was no longer living in Sydney, where we had grown up. Even better still, she lived only about 15 minutes from where I was staying with another friend. So we arranged to meet for lunch. That lunch date lasted nearly 4 hours. After all, we had over a decade of catching up to do. I now feel closer to her than I did in the two years that I went to school with her.