Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas Message 2009

Happy Christmas and New Year to all I hope that wherever you are, however you celebrate Christmas that you are happy, warm, secure, amongst those that you love and like and at peace with yourself and the world.
For me Christmas is a time when I seek calm and quietness, a time to recharge the batteries and reconnect with myself after a hard and difficult year. A time to refresh my mind about what is important and re-prioritise what is not.
It also happens to be a time when I update my life story and tell friends, family and various others what I have been up to.
It is scaring me that 2009 is almost over and a year that seemed to start so slowly is now just about finished. I started the year literally on a plane back to Australia from Fiji. The future was not clear and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) just beginning to bite. For me that set the tone for the year and I decided to bunker down and concentrate on debt reduction and getting finances back into control. That meant tightening the belt and paying off a chunk of the mortgage. Spending more time at home, less spending on entertainment and focussing on home related activities.
To that end I took some practical courses in Landscaping. Specifically I learnt how to build retaining walls, fish ponds, do basic concreting and build block walls.I put some of that into practice with a water tank stand, see a previous blog post.
In April I was offered permanent employment and so gained some financial security again. It would seem that the GFC is now behind us and my firm is busy with work, opening new laboratories and mergers and acquisitions.
So what else happened this year. A visit to Adelaide in March to coincide with my Sister's visit was the only holiday that I have had. Trips to Mackay and Gold Coast for work and that basically covers major events.
Of course there has been all of the normal social events, lunches, dinners, BBQ's etcetera. No other major milestones of note.
So I guess with hindsight I have met my objectives and had a quiet year. Certainly I focussed on the garden, digging up a section of garden to put in a new area of vegetable and herb garden. That was a big task, mainly due to a huge Golden Palm that proved difficult to remove with only muscles and hand tools. (Let me tell you there is a lot to be said for power tools, chain saws, "Dingo's and other labour saving devices.) At the moment however I don't mind using muscle power as it gives me the opportunity to exercise and learn how poor the soil is on my land. The contrast between work , which is all mental, organisational and social skills to physical labour in the back yard is therapy in it's own right for me. The ground itself is crap. We endure long periods of no rain, in that time the ground dries out and becomes as hard as concrete. Anything growing dies and only very tough hardy perennials survive. Generally these are weeds, although some succulents have done well.
The water tank has been blogged about previously.
Looking back over this message, compared to previous years it looks sparse, but it has been a full on year. A lot of time has been the "with friends" time that doesn't make headlines but is one of the keystones of a full life.
The year ahead is unknown to me. January is already busy with a holiday with my good friend Phil in Bali, then a work trip to Noumea (no that will NOT be a jammy!). Work-wise the first half of the year looks manic. That's kind of good. I like being on the edge. However I have made some bad mistakes at work this year, so it is a year to prove that I am competent and reliable. Another year to focus on debt reduction, but also a year to focus on friends and family.
So once again, have a very Happy Christmas and I hope that 2010 is a fantastic year.