2018, America, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized, writing

Influences; Haruki Murakami

The one, major thing I want to accomplish before I die is to write a book. I want to sit down each day, write at least 2,000 words, and write something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be Lord Of The Rings. I just want to tell a story and create something that is more than I am. Larger than I am. Something that has meaning, something that might inform or give understanding.

I’m not sure exactly what the story would be. Or what genre. I often toy with the idea of writing a fantasy novel, or a sci fi novel.

On the other side, I’d love to write something like what Haruki Murakami writes about: stories about the human condition, stories about relationships, loss, thoughts, sadness and joy. Murakami is one of my all time favourite authors. His stories feel so vivid, real and so relatable. His characters feel familiar, as though I know them. His writing is at the same time simple yet so complex and imaginative. He’ll write about a meal that the main character is cooking, and it will be such a well-described, beautiful piece of writing.

 

He’s become an influence on my life, as well as how I view the world.

 

Haruki Murakami’s writing is spell-binding. I can’t explain what it is. Anytime I read something new of his that I haven’t read yet, I get a bit excited. Whether it’s a short story, or a massive 500 page tome like IQ84. He’s one of he few authors whom I like to buy the physical copy of their work as opposed to an ebook, which is my standard choice. Not sure why. Maybe because his work feels special and magical. The covers are always intriguing as well. They are without a fault almost always minimal and simple and abstract.

 

There’s something special about his books. He may write in a setting that is very mundane, perhaps a regular, run of the mill inner city suburb in Tokyo, and his main character may be the most nondescript person you may meet, yet something odd or strange might occur. Sometimes his work touches on science fiction, but not in a typically star trek kinda way. Someone might get out of a car on a highway, walk down some stairs and find themselves in an alternate reality version of the world, where only one thing has changed. He might write a story conversely on the most simple themes; love, coming of age, loss.

 

There seems to be this certain theme that runs across his work; one of flux, loss or change, change that can happen abruptly, and often without reason. One of his books, for instance, has a character that simply disappears from the plot for no reason at all. She literally shuts shop and fades away like the wind. Leaving the poor protagonist in the lurch. In another book, the main character’s long time girlfriend similarly leaves him without any reason. It just happens. Another character also suffers a full-blown social out-casting by his friends whom all in sync, stop speaking to the main character, who then goes on in life with no reason given as to why this happened.

 

This narrative of loss and lack of reason is really something that I have taken to heart and found tantalizing. And one of the reasons I love Murakami. He will make you fall in love with someone, and simply snatch them out of thin air, and that person will simply no longer be there. You’ll get upset about it, then feel resigned. This is life, and you don’t know what fate will bring. The main character will reminisce, or may even undertake a quest to find reason, as well as the person who disappeared. The idea that people can be props,  as though we are each simply extras in someone else’s life, is what consistently pulls me to his work, and why I consider him as an author, an influence. Through him I learn that humans feel the full range of emotion, thoughts.

 

Returning to his books feels like coming home, or putting on a new layer of skin. Like wearing someone else’s form. I feel their emotions, their pain and joy. It’s hard to explain.

 

I met someone the other day who was reading Norwegian Wood, probably his most well known book to date. Which was also the first thing of his I read. I’ll never forget it. I was given it by a good friend of mine on my 21st birthday. A friend I still have and love. It still sits on my bookshelf. A little more tattered and worn than it once was, all the way back to 2004. That book represents so much to me. It marks a turning point in my life. It was the first book I read which I fell completely in love with. It was the first book that told me that it’s ok to not have to feel ok all the time, and that other people out there feel the same. I loved the world this person created, how he managed to paint this setting so vividly and made the characters seem right next to me in real life.

 

 

Murakami has become a touchstone for me. A kind of guide who has lead by example. The fact that he started writing later on in life than is conventional, [in his thirties], gives me some solace when that voice in my head tells me that I’m far too old to be entertaining dreams of being a published author. It’s one of those thoughts that you put right back in the recesses of your mind.

 

 

To write something like a fiction story would be my great, major accomplishment in my life.

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Gayblog, Life, Opinion, Thoughts

Procrastination.

The one habit I am trying hard to break in my life is procrastination. I am such a terrible procrastinator. It has meant that I struggle so hard with things that shouldn’t be as difficult as they are. It’s something that I am always battling with. And have for as long as I recall. I don’t want to be this person who is always putting things off that need attending to today.

 

My dad who would always say ‘domani,’ [tomorrow in Italian] when mum would ask him to do something which required his attention.They would have such massive fights about it. Dad would rather be in the back garden working on some crazy project [he once built a 20ft boat. A fully workable, marine-certified boat which he used to try to force me to go on with out in the local inlet. But he built it all. On his own. With his hands] rather than dealing with pressing issues or tasks that needed doing, which almost always snowballed and went critical due to inaction.

 

Heck, he once had a giant row with mum as he wanted her to go to the optometrist for him to get glasses as he didn’t want to, without understanding that no, someone else can’t get their eyes tested for you.

 

What could have been nipped in the bud easily and with a minimum of effort would turn into a high-drama of Ancient Greek tragedies proportion. Aeschylus couldn’t have written better prose or as heated arguments.

 

Always ‘domani.’ Tomorrow becomes some far-off utopia of a land where everything is perfect and green and sunny. Domani becomes a proverbial light on the hill where you have achieved and become the best you can be, and you are smiling down upon all your successes and prosperity and live filled with love and light.

 

Tomorrow is a fallacy, and one that has been transferred to myself by my dad. The strong allure and desire of ‘Domaniland’ as I call it entices me to this day. As I sit here at home on a Wednesday without a job at 9.20 am, it’s hard of me to not think of myself as a grand master-level procrastinator. The no job no money-coming-in thing is really getting at me. Yet I feel as though I am never doing enough to remedy this. I’m not proactive enough, I am not productive enough. I know I’m just going through a bit of a tough time at the moment, a proverbial valley that cuts deep. I know that one day soon I will get the hallowed job that I know is out there, and that I need simply to reach out and grab blindly in the dark for it. I know I do work hard at life, and try to be as productive as possible. Hence this blog. Also, hence why I exercise daily, spend a minimum of an hour and a half in my apartment block’s common area job hunting, as well as trying my hand at cooking dinners.

 

Daily. It’s a battle. Every single day. I have to constantly push at it, work at it, come at it from different angles of attack, figure out wily ways around it, constantly change battle tactics and strategy. Almost like playing one of my strategy video games. Like Command and Conquer, Warcraft or Civilization. In order to win, you need to adapt, take the initiative, sometimes attack, sometimes defend, but always moving and evolving and getting stronger and fortifying your position.

 

I’m reminded to this very day of my Year 11 English teacher, a hard, shrewd and highly intelligent and respectable woman, someone whom I still look up to. Mrs Rawle clearly has had an impact upon me. It was coming up to study time, and she was instructing us on proper usage of our time; things like keeping study timetables, how to write notes, that kind of thing. She spoke on the pitfalls of leaving things to the last minute, and warned us that once we started doing this at such a young age, it would stick with us forever, and be interminably difficult to shrug off and overcome.

 

She was right. My whole academic career was plagued from an early age, to my degree ten years ago with last minute efforts, cramming and late submissions. All this could have been avoided had I the smarts and wherewithal to simply have gotten my shit done sooner rather than later.

 

‘If not now then when,’ the famous saying goes. Perhaps I feared the ignominy and embarrassment of failure. Perhaps I feared my own potential. Maybe both things. Who knows. Fact is, I struggled to get my work done, and when I did, more often than not it was half-baked, poorly executed and usually just passable. The old adage of ‘he would do well if he applied himself’ was certainly appropriate to me.

 

Procrastination is like an elusive drug that promises you eternity. Putting your success and future on lay-by, rain-checking it for another time and place. However, this time and place exists solely in some fantasy world or plane of existence where dragons and unicorns roam. Why do it now and be uncomfortable when you can watch Netflix, play video games or hit that refresh button for the thousandth time on Facebook?

 

Procrastination lets us have the comfort we as humans instinctively seek today and set aside the pains, worries, anxieties and stress that should be thought upon today. It really is my one major vice in life. It makes a fool of me.

 

Much of why I feel as though I am in a rut is due to this. This blockage of progress, this denial of success and means of inhibiting my own personal growth has meant I feel stymied and at a loss for much of the time. Which leads to inaction, which leads to me spiralling out of control.

 

I think to myself, I have so much going for me, why is it that I am feeling so lost and so uninspired, so unaccomplished, so washed out and empty? I feel as though all my potential washes down the drain indelibly, and that procrastination has so much to blame for. Yet, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Baby steps, I tell myself. The fact that I write daily now is a testament to me trying my hardest to break this habit. The fact that I am still pushing with this blog, years after I started it, is testament as well.

 

Do you procrastinate? What are some of your strategies to manage it, lessen it or abolish it entirely?

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Gayblog, Life, Opinion, Thoughts

Life’s Conflicts.

The biggest conflict in my life today is my job situation, or currently lack thereof. In more of an expanded sense, I have a conflict of identity and purpose.

 

I simply don’t know what I want to do with my life.

 

I don’t know what I am talented at. I don’t know what I enjoy doing which could bring me some prosperity in my life.

 

I look on to those who have had a clear sense of purpose in regards to their career and what they want to do with their life, and I feel an acute sense of envy. And that sucks. Envy is such a debilitating thing. I try my best to let it wash over me like a wave, or if I see the wave of envy coming toward me, I’ll dive under it, pass through, let it go over me, and I’ll rise back up, unaffected.

 

I wish I was that person who studied hard from an early age and knew they wanted to study law or medicine for instance. They may have had this in their mind from perhaps age ten upwards, and kept this goal, studied hard and maybe forewent all the things that make adolescence a little bit fun [sex drugs rock n roll and all that], and instead kept their heads down and made it, and became what they worked hard at doing.

 

I also wish I was that person who wasn’t academically inclined, always struggled at school from a young age, graduated and fell into a trade, and now have burgeoning and successful businesses which means they get to enjoy their lives and not worry about things like money and rent.

 

Right now, I just don’t know what I have to offer to anyone. I really don’t.

 

And it’s been something that has plagued me for over a decade and a half since I graduated school.

 

I used to think I wanted to be a photographer. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the creativity of it, the fact that I was world-building. Fusing a story and narrative and weaving them into something marvellous. Creating something from my mind’s eye into reality was the core of what I absolutely loved about photography.

 

It was this act of creation that pulled me towards this art, and what made me fell in love.

 

Somewhere along the way, however, I lost this passion. I lost the love. It slowly faded and died, turning into a dry husk of what was once vibrant and alive. I turned my back on this art form, bitter and let down, both by my own failures at it, and the fact that it just wasn’t appearing to work out for me.

 

Each new shoot became less fun. Each time haggling with clients over pay became less fun. Receiving less and less money from clients became less fun, as was the expectations in terms of ever-increasing workload. Exposure for the work we did slowly became the industry standard, and I hated it.

 

I get saddened over the fact that I lost this great love I once had. I really don’t think I’ll get it back. I’ve had seven months worth of time here in San Francisco to start shooting portraits, yet inevitably I’m drawn away elsewhere. Why is this? Maybe it’s that venomous interior that I sense when I equate my photography past to present. Perhaps I just don’t enjoy it all.

 

So, here I am in the unenviable position of being 34, not qualified for much at all, and unsure as to what I should be doing. Or what I want to be doing. I’m extremely lucky to be able to live in a vibrant place such as San Francisco, and have the opportunity to move here from home [I remind myself of this daily], and I’m the first to say I’m privileged to be able to live in this country due to my nationality, and the hard work of my husband, who through his determination and sheer talent, has meant we are here.

The fact is however, I feel like a bit of a transparent ghost sometimes. Drifting in and out. Haunting spaces in an in-between dimension of purgatory, with no real purpose.

 

What do I do? Which direction is good for me, and something that will bring me some kind of career and prosperity? Do I try to seriously pursue my writing? Do I try to revive from the proverbial dead my photography?

Do I keep applying for those mediocre crappy jobs that I know I won’t enjoy and don’t get any response to anyway, yet would bring that much-needed money in?

 

I definitely sense that I’m in a rut. That I’m simply running on neutral, and spinning the wheel.

 

I hate that I’m always in this situation, and I know it concerns the other half. I get scared about it. I tend to worry a fair bit about it, and this overpowers my drive to search out new work or pin down what I should be doing here in this town, and with my life.

I don’t want to miss out on enjoying life here and seeing this great country and travelling. I don’t want to feel like a failure and disappointment to myself anymore.

 

This is the biggest conflict in my life today. Yet, I still know something great will be around the corner, and this faint light of hope and faith in the future, and myself, is what keeps me going.

 

 

What’s the biggest conflict in your life today?

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2018, Life, Opinion, Thoughts

Money.

The one topic I wish I knew more about is something rather banal and dry, yet something I think would be incredibly useful for my husband and I with regards to our future.

The one topic I am talking about is finance and more specifically, investment and commerce and basically how money works.

I always thought looking back at my education as a kid and into adolescence, attending an all-boys Catholic school, that there were some major gaps in my education.

I attended a relatively privileged school back home in Sydney, Australia. It had large green lawns, well attended cricket grounds, rugby pitches, an Olympic swimming pool, indoor sports gym and buildings kept in perfect condition ranging from the 1920’s to modern expensive buildings.

It wasn’t a cheap school to attend, and this was reflected by its wide range of facilities and high degree of teaching, which resulted in majority of the school body going on to tertiary studies. Including me. Couple this with its ethos and focus on sport and you had what was essentially a hold-out and outpost of British post-colonialism.

This anachronistic feature of my school was even present up to when I graduated in 2001. Modernity was still something that was knowledgeably kept at bay by any means. Good old-fashioned English sports like Cricket and Rugby were praised; teachers were generally of the strict old men variety, mass was compulsory, and there was a school speedo swimmer uniform we had to wear. Which proved awkward when we all hit puberty.

My school was mired in old outmoded and anachronistic tradition that would really simply make me laugh today. Like calling every male teacher sir. Compulsory competition sports. Regular grooming inspections where Year Masters would inspect us all [arrayed in lines ie military parade] our haircuts and nails and shoes to ensure they were all up to scratch. Standing up whenever a teacher walks in the door. Obedience at any cost really was a key factor in our education, and punishment could be swift, harsh and severe.

All the more made obsolescent and yearning for an imperialist past by the apparatus of a School Captain, that upstanding individual who represented the best of the school, supported by all, including the school cadre of School Prefects, that vaunted group of senior students who demanded respect from all and sundry in the school, including nobody proles like yours truly.

Despite this environment and education, I still feel to this day that so much was missing. Namely, any practical education. So stuck in the past was this place that basically it was unspoken that men don’t pay the bills or cook for instance. OR do the housework. Only women and queers would.

Yet funnily enough here we all are fending for ourselves.

I really wish my school or schools in general had more foresight in teaching students things that will be valuable for them later on.

Specifically, from something simple like how to wash, iron and fold clothes. How to cook simple yet nutritious meals. And perhaps most importantly, how to start bank accounts, utilities, pay rent and bills.

In hindsight, it’s amazing that schools or at least schools where I’m from never taught this. For years afterwards in my case, the decade or so since graduation was an era of giving no fucks about the future, being a dirty little grub of a uni student and not to mention being very lax in my general hygiene and not looking after myself.

I wish I was taught how to pay those bills, how to manage and look after money and make it grow. It should be something that is compulsory and mandatory. In order to be an adult, you need to be able to be independent. Which means unfortunately, being able to budget and limit needless expenditures and not live in a state of abject poverty.

For a long time I didn’t know how to do any of this. It has taken me decades to learn how to be self-sufficient and how to budget. I really feel as though had I learnt this in my school days, no matter how boring it would be, it would serve me some use.

Joining and extending upon that is the topic of finance, and growing what you have. I really wish I knew more about this topic, and had someone knowledgeable in this topic instruct me on ways that I could grow my money; how to invest, how to contact a broker, what generally to invest in and what to do with said investments.

The only lessons I had on this topic was with an old friend of mine, who was a gay man in his 40’s whilst I was in my early 20’s who talked to me about this and gave me some advice. And that was it.

I’m at a point [34 in a month if you can believe it], where I am starting to think about this topic more and more. I want to ensure that I can be comfortable in the future and not worry overly about what my situation will be.

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2015, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Sydney, Uncategorized

Success In Life [without being an arsehole]

I live in an increasingly gentrified and fast-paced part of town, which is quickly changing from a ghetto into a trendy, hip destination, and fast filling with equally trendy hip fancypants types. I guess I can’t talk much as I fit right into that paradigm. Most of the time this will involve the obligatory influx of dollar signs, mountains of followers on social media as well as endless line of selfie after selfie. Maybe six pack abs, pecs and a full beard if you’re a gay like me. With regards to selfies, who am I to say otherwise, I enjoy an almost self-mastubatory display of facial qualities as much as the next vain Gay.

The thing that gets me about growing up in this city has been the real, veritably concurrent theme of a ‘Dog Eat Dog’ environment. Whether you’re gay or straight, Sydney is what you make of it, and much of what this city is about has a lot to do with the theme of getting ahead in life, looking great. Getting what you want, and getting ahead of others, whether it be through a great career, money, fame or infamy. Everyone seems aware of each other, especially so in the Gay community. Everyone knows everyone else’s history. Someone knows someone who has done this that or the other to someone else. It can be quite difficult to get away from that sometimes. Especially when out socially.

This city sometimes reeks of success-obsession and ladder-climbing. There is an energy here which lends itself to the idea and conceit of individual success, and the way in which one goes about that. Physically, like many a Sydneysider, the city of Sydney itself is a wonder to behold: it gleams with an ephemeral brightness, an ethereal vibrancy, a pure clarity. It’s a gorgeous, sunlit metropolis filled with equally gorgeous people. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say that I love Sydney, and that I love living here. It’s a place that is singularly and serenely on show. Slightly aloof; slightly arrogant yet always, always full of style, and much of the time, full of itself.

Has it always been like this? I grew up in Sydney’s Inner West in a number of suburbs, starting with a formerly Italian-predominant suburb full of delis, pasta shops and little old Nonnas in 10 year periods of mourning, complete with neat black shift dresses and those little wheelie boxy shopping bags going to and fro. I ended up by my late teens in a particularly nondescript, generic and run of the mill spec of a suburb which became known for nothing more than having an Ikea in it. Not until my mid 20’s I began to sense a change. Whether it was in me, or the city, there was most definitely a difference in the air. Maybe my growth into a young adult made me more aware, or wary of life as I thought I saw it. Perhaps it was when I put down the Playstation controller and Sci Fi novels and started going out to places like Club 77 in the mid 2000’s. To be blunt, I live in a city where success is measurable by a few means, being, in the words of Macaulay Culkin in one of my favourite films, Party Monster ‘Money, Success, Fame, Glamour’:

We are living
In the age
In which the pursuit of all values
Other than
Money Success Fame Glamour
Have either been discredited
Or destroyed
Money Success Fame Glamour
For we are living in the age of the thing.

I’ve absolutely loved this film to filth since the first time I watched it back at college mainly for the complete and utter pandemonium, absurdity and total hedonism that is portrayed by the larger than life yet based on real people characters of Michael Alig and James St James in the mid-1980’s ‘Club Kid’ scene of New York. For me these words hold an almost prophetic warning that is applicable and relatable to what I at times feel and see today.

Can you be a success without this mantra of selfish egotistical bullshit? Is it possible to be successful without actually being an arsehole? Can you be one part successful, and one part graciously magnanimous in your success? Can you make your life the best it can be, without leaving a shit hot mess of people in your wake, who have been used for a purpose and simply left by the wayside on the golden road to success?  I’ve encountered enough people in my time here in Sydney to say that it is a really rare gem and diamond of an individual who can walk the thin [and usually powdery and white] line between the prosperity/success paradigm without the opposing ‘Arsehole/Self-Serving/Arrogance’ dichotomy. I’ve been on the losing side of this process, of outliving my usefulness for someone else’s gain, the endpoint of which is not hearing from that person again. Or seeing them out socially and awkwardness ensuing. Being a naturally introverted, emotional and almost sickeningly affectionate person, it’s infuriating and difficult for me to detach myself from others. It’s harder for me to assess someone down to their usefulness for me in terms of career advancement, for instance. I’m extremely lucky to have a very supportive network of friends and family, who are always there and ready to come to my rescue if I’m feeling flat. They are constructive with their criticisms of me, as well as understanding of my situation, and constantly up for giving good advice. Which I’m so so very grateful for. Help is always only a phone call away. On the flip side I feel that I work likewise with my close friends. I love nothing more than listening and helping a friend out. At the risk of sounding like a 1980’s self-help book ala ‘You Can Heal Your Life‘ [Still actually a perennial favourite of mine when I feel down], life is something that can’t be travelled through alone, you need the best travel companions you can find. I feel that now, after years of searching, that I have found some people who are genuine with their intentions, words and friendship. It has taken both my boyfriend and I years to get to a point where we both feel content with our friendships. We’ve both experienced the bitterness of failed friendships due to the fact that we both haven’t been enough of something or worthy of association. I’ve been acquainted with a number of people over the years who unfortunately haven’t fit within this cycle of support, and have exhibited all the things I’ve come to disdain, being self-absorption of almost Machiavellian scope and interested only in furthering their own goals and careers. In short, the person you know in the back of their mind is thinking, What can this person do for me? The means justifies the ends. If you have nothing to offer, then you’re simply not worthy of their time, and are found lacking. Nowadays, I’m savvy enough to steer clear of these types.

What is something valuable on offer from a person? Connections, wealth, looks, among others. Which leads me to my next point:

 

‘What Do You Do?’

 

Good Lord how I hate and detest this question when meeting people for the first time in a social setting. I don’t want to make out like I’m a keeper and defender of old-fashioned etiquette, but it’s so rude to ask or to be asked this question in an initial social meeting. It’s the proverbial dog-sniffing-other dog’s-arse/dudes comparing cock sizes scenario. It makes me feel ill, gross and uncomfortable. A friend of mine put it right when we were out on News Years Day at a party and we were chatting to a new friend: ‘It’s such a shitty question to ask, and I hate asking it, but what do you do?’ It’s an unfortunately necessary question that does get asked a lot, you may not like asking it like my friend or myself, but you’ll still find yourself on both sides of this showdown-like phrase.

Being on the receiving end of it, it’s easy to feel judgement and assessment arise in the questioner; being on the other side, it’s easy to feel a sense of measuring up, so to speak. Just to re-iterate, I truly do hate this question as it does summarise so many experiences I’ve had in recent years. If I have a crap job, you can see the someones disappointed reaction in their eyes. And if I have a great job you can see the opposite reaction. For instance, I worked at a chain stationery store for three years of my life. I didn’t love it, it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t very glamorous. I would cringe when someone would ask me what I did. I felt inadequate and insecure, and felt as though I had little to offer. Of course I’m jumping the gun as not everyone cares at all what I do, for some it’s merely a social nicety. Yet for others it’s a judgement call. You can feel the sense of sizing up. Why is it so important for some to care what others do? Obviously, networking and connections.

An example was when my boyfriend was at an even for his brother’s workplace, an industrial design studio. They were showcasing and launching a new line of product for a well-known domestic wares company. The crowd was very ‘designer-y’, everyone was in the same or similar fields and industries. The event was held in a very chic locale. Another of my boyfriend’s brother’s was there, who works as a Physiotherapist. A random fellow approached him, started chatting, and asked, ‘And what do you do?’ to which my boyfriend’s brother replied, ‘I’m a Physio’. Apparently this fellow muttered something like, ‘That’s great!’ then promptly turned aside and moved on. This, then is the ‘What Do You Do’ scenario of social networking size-up in play. As my boyfriend’s brother wasn’t a designer, he wasn’t worth F-all to this guy.

I wish I had the gift of the gab. The ability to network, to mix and mingle, to persuade and opine and get what I want from people. For some this is a naturally inherent talent. They swim like a streamlined fish that cuts through the water, with ease and dexterity. I’ve known this person. I’ve wanted to be this person. For others, it comes with a lot of practice. I wish it came naturally for me. I’m a slow-talking, awkward nerd. Being suave and charismatic comes after drinking a few beers for me. For years people have been telling me that ‘You need to network‘. Like it’s a shop you go to and hook your brain up to. Or like going to a gym. It’s akin to being told ‘you need to work out‘. I’m forever in a world of science fiction, fantasy and professing my love of Bbq Shapes. For me, the very concept of ‘networking’ is something that is inherently foreign to me. I can’t become friends, or at the very least, acquaintances with someone without actually liking them. Or just for what they can offer me. I don’t see the point of it. It makes me tilt my head like a confused dog when they get confused by something. In my mind, it’s inherently unhealthy and will build terribly a self-absorbed personality.

I understand, however, that I don’t live in a fantasy utopian-like village with quaint cottages under lush green hills where a wizened old man with a large crooked brimmed hat visits yearly and brings dragon-shaped fireworks with him. I still wish I did. Or maybe on Babylon 5. But I don’t. The world I live in is measured by how many Simoleons you bring in, your social clout, and yes, unfortunately looks. I feel that this is especially so in a place like Sydney.

So. Can you actually succeed without being an arsehole, or a dick?

The truth is, I don’t even know myself. In my heart, I think it’s a yes. I have met the rare one or two people who have done well for themselves, and yet are friendly for no other sake than being friendly, are warm and genuine and want to know you for who you are, not what you can do, yet are also willing to help if they are able to. This person exists, and this path is possible, but it just doesn’t seem as probable or as easy as what I call the ‘Dark Side’ alternative of scything and cutting through whomever necessary to get what you want. Maybe if we all treated each other with a little more respect there would be more of this archetypal person, or maybe we shouldn’t place individual success and wealth as highly as we do. Maybe we would be more of a meritocracy and less of an oligarchic and nepotistic society. Yet the fact remains to me that in order to have a good life with stability and success, someone else must inevitably fail in place of your success. Someone else misses out on the great job that could have catapulted their career, or doesn’t have that unlikely chance encounter with that person who will change their lives forever. The lesson I’ve learned is to associate with those you admire and wish to be like, not with those whom you don’t. For me, that someone who I would want to be like would be someone warm, optimistic, friendly, intelligent and savvy. Genuinely caring and willing to associate with those who find would enrich their lives fully, and not just in one area. Someone, like a friend told me recently, will challenge you in a respectful way. Someone whose very presence lends itself to growth.

I don’t have an amazing job or career yet. It’s something that is a work in progress, which I am focusing on this year. My job isn’t one thatother people seemed impressed by or envious of, or thousands of followers for this blog or other social media, and I’m not currently in an industry with connexions that others would want to use me for. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really wouldn’t want to know that type of person who would use me even if I did have the shit-hot job or career and was successful. Maybe I would be in a better position for myself if I was the person that could wheel and deal. I’m finding however that these people for me tend to be an anathema to my own happiness in life. But I know who I am, and being that mover and shaker really just isn’t me. As completely corny and cliché as this will sound, I shouldn’t feel any less worthy or ashamed of my position or status with regards to career success, or lack thereof, as I have success in other parts of my life.  I’m sure there are people out there who would die to be in a similar position to me: healthy, living in a great city with great friends, family and a life partner that I adore. Besides the dollars, what more could I really want or need? What more do we all really want or need?

 

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