21st Birthday of sorts

Turning 21..again!

21 st Birthday… I wish, times that by two and you would be closer to the truth… but today is a 21st Birthday of sorts.

If I’m not turning 21 then whats up?

Today is 21 years since I joined the Fire Brigade…

What 21 years in the same job?

There are not too many “jobs” in which someone spends 21 years (or lot more) in these days. But this needs to be looked at in context, and the Fire Brigade has been far more than just a “job”.

I may have been in the Fire Brigade for 21 years, but I have had a number of “careers” already within this time.

I have spent time operationally on the fire-trucks doing the stuff you see firefighters do in the media and loved every minute of it.

I have spent time in Corporate Strategy and project management, I have spent (a short time) in training. I have done specialisations like Rescue and Hazardous Materials. I have spent time in additional roles like being a member of our Critical Incident Support team.

I have also been fortunate to have progressed  in rank to where I am today, an Inspector (for those looking for an equivalency in rank terms, think Major in the Army).

I gained an education… in more ways than one.

I gained a valuable vocational education, but beyond that I have earned three post-graduate degrees and picked up plenty of “life lessons” along the way.

Twenty one years has provided many great examples of leadership (as well as a few how not to lessons on leadership).

I have been shown the true nature of “the firefighter family” when my own families circumstances have been dire .

Lessons learned

I have learned how fragile human life is.

I have learned how strong the human body can be, despite what people and circumstances can do to it.

I have learned how indestructible the human spirit is, or can be.

I have learned that there is always someone willing to help (including when you find it hard to ask for help), and some one willing to watch your back, and how to reciprocate such loyalty and friendship.

I have learned that there is strength in unity.

I have learned the truth behind a quote that I have never been able to re-find the source for……“Bravery is a single act usually over in minutes, true courage is putting on the uniform every day knowing what it is you might be called upon to do”, and I thank my fellow firefighters and members of other emergency services for putting on the uniform and showing up every day to make our communities safer for everyone.

I have learned….. that I have never finished learning….. and that….

21 does feel like a beginning again..

Just like a real 21st birthday, today is full of hope. I potentially have a long time and a lot more to achieve in this “fire brigade” life, just like when I was turning 21.

I hope the next 21 years (if it lasts that long) is as full of fun, friendship, learning and life that the last 21 has been.

Royal Wedding Madness

insert your name here!


Firstly congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton,  enjoy your day I am pleased for each of you as individuals and I hope your lives together are happy and your marriage  lasts your lifetimes.

Congratulations to you too, you are invited to the Royal Wedding.

But now for the RANT

While I am happy for William and Kate as individuals the Royal Wedding is sending me crazy and it’s time for a RANT, because I HATE the crap surrounding the Royal Wedding (and the institution of Royalty…but more of that further below)

You’re invited (whether you like it or not)

Like the caption on the invitation image says… insert your name here, because like it or not you are invited to the spectacle of the Royal Wedding. Sure you might not have a seat at Westminster Abbey and you may not get to rub shoulders with the upper crust, but as a member of the Hoi Polloi you have  front row seat to the circus.

WHAT? you’re not interested in the wedding! Well then you had better turn off your TV, switch off the radio and avoid all newspapers, magazines and newsstands for the next week or so, or you’ll have to endure the circus.

And it is a circus…. how much crap advertising and bullshit media have you seen regarding the wedding already… things like “we’ll be doing live crosses to the Royal Wedding all week” … FFS the wedding is happening on ONE day, ONE day!

Take that Silver Spoon and….

The other thing that really bugs me about this is the concept of Royalty itself…

By an accident of birth someone gets born into the Windsor Family and they are entitled to a life of privilege and public subsidy, all because of a history of bloodshed and inbreeding that resulted in the house of Windsor occupying the palace and historical developments that result in a conservative status quo that means another palace coup is never going to happen…..

I am opposed to any system that rewards someone simply by virtue of the accident of their birth, and particularly a system that imposes that accident of birth on a population in another country half way around the world.

The Royal Family (despite what the  constitution of my country says)  in reality has NOTHING to do with the day to day running of, development of or prosperity of my country and apart from being an anachronistic appendage delivers nothing.

So I guess  it is no secret that I am in favour of a Republic for my sunburnt country.

One bright spot….

At least one bright spot is that a couple of Australian media outlets have decided to give people like me a break and continue to screen other programs like sport and push the wedding off to their alternative digital channels ….THANK YOU!

Will you take up your invitation?

Are you going to insert your name in the space provided, are you going to soak up the saturation media coverage… or are you like me, and over it for a few reasons.

I’d love to know what you think about the wedding and the Royal Institution, so let rip in the comments!

image credit

Mark Hillary

Is it out there?

When you are confronted with a problem, where do you look for the solution? Do you look for it “out there” expecting to find some magical fix, or expecting some else to provide the solution?

Or do you look for it “in here”………………….

Sean Dsouza was kind enough to recently share  a video he located, it is a snippet of a interview with actor Kevin Spacey, and it contains some very powerful words about there being no prize “out there”…. but I’ll let Kevin speak for himself (and thanks Sean)

After you have watched this… where will you be looking for that prize you have been seeking?

Running on empty

Running on Empty - Jackson Browne - photo by Hectorir @flickr

Running on empty?

Running on empty – Jackson Brownes lyrics said it all…

I had been running around shuttling the family from one place to another and  finally got around to heading home to pack the car and take the family away for the weekend to unwind.

Running on Empty

All was going great until I got about 5 km’s away from home and then the car STOPPED…………The fuel gauge in this picture is what I was confronted by……EMPTY!

After a long walk to and from the service station to get more fuel, and then taking quite a while for the fuel pump to decide that it wanted to actually re-prime and pump enough fuel to start the car we finally headed off for our weekend….. a couple of hours later than we should have. Needless to say we got to our destination VERY late and the first night was a write off.

The fuel gauge as a metaphor

That day was not an atypical day for my family… running around from appointment to appointment, trying to maintain being on time and looking forward to the next thing on the agenda wondering how/when we are going to get there.

On the way home I looked at the fuel gauge and thought… yep that will be enough to get us home and around to purchase some fuel… WRONG!

Over the days following my embarrassing episode of running out of fuel I really started to think about that fuel gauge as a metaphor for life.

Watching your fuel gauge

Cars are built with fuel gauges so we can see how much is left in the tank, in fact most even modernish cars have a warning light and/or buzzer that tells you that you are getting low on fuel.

You and I on the other hand are not built with a gauge… and we have to try and look at our physical, mental, emotional and social fuel tanks and try and monitor them all at once.

How often have you been running around, getting from appointment to appointment, looking at yourself and thinking, “yeah, I’ll just keep going at this pace until…..”  What is that until?

Until the weekend, until your next holidays are due, until… until… until…

Until your physical, mental, emotional and social fuel tanks fuel tanks are empty and you breakdown on the side of your desk, you are worn out and you haven’t seen your family or friends in how long?

Warning signs?

Even though we aren’t built with gauges to flash or buzz at us when our tanks are getting low there are often warnings signs that your levels are being depleted…..

Some of us are better at seeing and paying attention to those warning signs than others….. let’s help out a few others by listing what your warning signs are in the comments….

What is your concept of God?

John Lennon - GOD?

John Lennon by Bixentro @ flickr

John Lennon put it this way in his GOD lyrics…..

God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain
I’ll say it again
God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain
I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
Í don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra
I don’t believe in gita
I don’t believe in yoga
I don’t believe in kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me…………………..

What is your concept of GOD? and what do you measure by it?