Archive | February, 2012

Warning: This will cause you to plan an adventure

26 Feb

One of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen – absolutely stunning images creatively put together, an absolute inspiration:

Via NerdFitness.

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The List…

21 Feb

So I mentioned a while ago that I would post my list as I move toward my “life change” date of August 31st. I wrote this list while I was living on a remote island in Fiji having a break from work. I’m sure as I start working on things I will add more and explain items in greater detail, but at least it is a start! So without further ado…

The List

  1. Learn a Martial Art (not sure at the moment, but leaning towards Krav Maga)
  2. Have an article printed in GQ Australia
  3. Take an advanced driving course
  4. Complete a lap of Bathurst
  5. Complete a lap of Nuremberg
  6. Learn to ride a horse
  7. Ride a horse along a beach
  8. Ride a horse through the high country
  9. Learn to speak Spanish
  10. Learn to shoot a pistol
  11. Learn to shoot a rifle
  12. Complete a ‘Computer Hacking 101’ course
  13. Perform a song on guitar
  14. Be an Extra in an Australian movie
  15. Become a Kiva fellow
  16. Attend an Ivy league University for some course
  17. Join the Army Reserves
  18. Learn to ride a motorbike
  19. Learn the art of photography
  20. Go on a trip with my parents
  21. Go on a hike with my Dad

Sons of Anarchy

12 Feb

I’ve just finished watching the 4th season of Sons of Anarchy. It’s a drama set in present day California that is centered around a fictional outlaw motorcycle club, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (SAMCRO). In many ways it explores similar themes to one of the greatest television series ever made, the Sopranos. It examines the inner workings of an organised criminal group that usually operates far outside the world that most of us occupy day-to-day. It is a little more blunt, commercial and obvious than the Soprano’s, but achieves the same effect with perhaps a little less intricacy and flair. The juxtaposition of the violent and the banal, strong family bonds and raw emotion help the audience empathise with characters usually viewed with revolt and disgust. It is compelling viewing – this trailer for season 4 might give you a taste:

While their methods, rationalisation and general lack of conscience is at times appalling, many of their actions set in the context of a war-time film could be justified, perhaps even heroic. Indeed, the founding members of SAMCRO (the “First 9”) are made up primarily of Vietnam veterans who struggle to fit in to a post-war, modern world. Many members of SAMCRO are men of another time, a more brutal, honest and dangerous time. They are men of action and they dedicate their lives to their own (however warped) important code of honor. Although as viewers we can question and moralise their values, we cannot fault their commitment to them.

Most of all, in Jax Teller, the central protagonist we recognise the struggle of the modern man. Caught between the stereotypes of generations that pervade our lives, the fight between primal instincts and modern sensibilities. It is a blend we all strive for but struggle to define. The right blend of protector and lover, alpha male and metrosexual, hunter and discerning consumer is difficult to find and many of us might find ourselves longing for simpler times. I recommend SoA as an outlet for your inner outlaw and a way to tune out of our molly-coddled, nanny-state world. Don’t be surprised if you see a little of yourself in Jax, who is struggling to find the balance or Clay, a man who is out of place in the modern world. And… enjoy those bikes.

Some inspiration from a bloke a bit further down the road than me…

6 Feb

I’m by no means the first person to have written a bucket list with the aim of changing my life. One that I’ve been reading a bit lately is Heath Tulley’s blog; Project 183. It’s essentially a list of 183 things that he wants to achieve before he turns 30, and his progress so far. It’s a great read and I’m only partway through the archives but really enjoying it! One of his interesting goals was to start his own business. For all idealistic bucket-listers who dream of living a ‘full-time life’, this is one of the main sticking points. He writes about how he started his business, which imports Dunlop Volleys to the UK! Great idea!

It’s fantastic to see someone from Melbourne doing something similar to what I want to do, and great motivation for me!

Why am I writing here…? An update.

5 Feb

I wrote my first post on 31/08/2011: What is the impetus for this weblog?

I described a sense of listlessness and uncertainty. Since I first put those words to screen, this feeling has been kicking around my subconscious and I believe it is responsible for a number of major changes in my life recently. I thought I’d take the time to explore and explain this a little more before launching into a rejuvenated attempt at maintaining a blog.

Perhaps first, some background: I was born in Sydney and have grown up in Melbourne, Australia. I live a comfortable life with a fantastic family. I was lucky enough to be sent to a great school, where I achieved decent results and consequently went straight into a scholarship at University. I figured at the time if I stopped studying and took a year off, I wouldn’t be able to get back into it. Besides, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Over 90% of my schoolmates were going to Uni, so that seemed like the correct path for me.

I was fortunate to be offered a Graduate position in the midst of the GFC after studying Commerce and IT. I allowed myself a little time off for a whirlwind overseas tour, but was quickly back at work being inducted into my comfortable job. I was proud of myself. I’d seen getting to this point akin to finishing a video game, and was happy that I had achieved it faster than the majority of my mates. Suddenly I was salaried. I had business cards and suits. New shoes, clients, important meetings. I rushed around the city importantly, charging cabs and generally acting like a young Bud Fox. I was a suit.

Once I’d gotten over the excitement of it all I started looking at my next goal, the next level in my game. I realised that it was all laid out for me – two years here and I’d be a Senior, another two until manager. Then just six more and I could be a partner. Once I was partner, I’d make bank for 30 years and then retire. Wait… what?

Here I was, staring down the barrel of 40 years (at least) of full time work. Four weeks annual leave per year. Ten personal days. Unpaid overtime. The firm comes first. 3,500 private-school, commerce grads along side me. The novelty wore off quickly. I’d look at the people a few years ahead of me. On the surface, it looked glamorous.  Hatted restaurants, cocaine-fuelled after-parties with Melbourne’s A-List. Luxury hotels and tailored suits. It could certainly be intoxicating. But the day-to-day reality was completely different. I had little sense of purpose, of meaningful connection in my work. I was not emotionally invested in the complicated finance. I enjoyed the by-product (money) of my job, but couldn’t stand the actual work. This wasn’t a vocation or a calling, it was renting out the most valuable thing I have in the world.

Many people die with their music still in them.  Why is this so?  Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live.  Before they know it, time runs out – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Like many others, before I knew it – I was on the path that society expected… a stable job, a mortgage, family and children and a couple of weeks of holiday a year. I don’t want to take time off from my job to live my life. I don’t want to die with the music still inside of me.

In October I quit my comfortable job at one of the big 4 professional services firms. I went to Fiji and volunteered for a while. I wrote my bucket list and decided that I wanted to start living my life. Before I start – I need to pay off my debt, so that’s my number one priority at the moment. I’m aiming to be completely debt free by August 31, 2012 – one year after my first blog post. I’ve got until then to start preparing for all the amazing things I’m going to do and write about before August 31, 2013.

The adventure has begun,

Tom.

Lay it down for summer

2 Feb

Summer is by far my favourite season. Long days, balmy nights, cocktails, the beach, cricket… I could wax lyrical forever about my love of warm weather. One of the greatest things about summer is sitting out on the deck as it cools down at night, having some ice cold beers with a couple of friends and listening to first class tunes. This one is perfect for such an occasion – an undiscovered Australian band with some laid back bluesy-rock. Sit back, crack a cold one and enjoy the shit out of it…

Tommy Hafey inspires some reading

1 Feb

Tommy Hafey is a former AFL coach and motivational speaker – I first saw him when I was 14 and his simple, honest messages have always stuck with me. He’s a tough old bastard – 80 this year and still runs 7km each day, along with 200 push ups, 700 sit ups and a swim. I recently saw an article about him and he mentioned his New Years Resolutions; “read 24 books, go to the movies 12 times, visit six new places in my state, go to six concerts and take my wife to a new restaurant once a month.”

These are simple, measurable goals and I have no doubt that Tommy will achieve them and many more in his 80th year on this planet. I’ve written down my bucket list but I haven’t even broken down goals for this year, let alone posted anything on FG about it. So I thought I’d just get started by stealing one of Tommy’s goals – to read 24 books this year. I’ve got a tonne of books on my Amazon wish list so I’ll order some of those and get stuck in!

Update – 9th September: I’ve read three books so far and have plenty more sitting in my bedroom to get through!

  1. Post Office by Charles Bukowski
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
  6. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  7. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
  8. A World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler
  9. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles
  10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  11. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman