Thursday, 18 May 2017

Changes...


I think of myself today as what is laughingly called a ‘groovy Grannie,' my two kids are all grown up, and I’m very lucky to have two gorgeous grandchildren.  My grandson thinks I’m very old, but I quickly correct him – after all he is very young!

I was born at the end of the Baby Boomer generation.  Growing up was great, lots of freedoms that kids today don’t have but without some of the amazing opportunities kids today have.  My parents worked hard to give us a happy home life and a good education. 



I used to marvel at all of the amazing changes that occurred during my Mother’s life, and recently I’ve started to reflect on some of the changes that I’ve been witness too.  Every day we watch and listen to the news, and we tend to forget that historians will look back at these events and they will take on whole new meanings. 

I was eleven years old when Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, huddled around the small television in the borders common room at my school, we watched this remarkable feat and then, we just went on with our normal day, we certainly didn’t  realise the significance of that moment.  Later came the final Australian withdrawal from Vietnam and the end of the conflict which not only divided Vietnam but Australia.


Later still came the end of the Cold War and the breaking up of the Soviet Block,  the opening up of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany.  Then there was the terrible spectacle of tanks running over protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  1989 was certainly a year of highs and lows. Today I have travelled to Berlin and Beijing enjoying both trips, but inside me, I was conscious of earlier memories of a time when life, especially for the locals was so much more difficult.

So if I had been writing this to my younger self then I would have harped on about the need to take it all in, history is being made all around us, today more than ever before the world is changing at an amazing rate. Things that today seem common place are likely to change and you probably wont see that change coming so enjoy it while you can, life is just a great roller coaster of a ride...enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Planning a Bucket List

I've never really had the time to think too much about the things that I would put on a Bucket List - just recently I started to ask myself - "what do I want to accomplish before I die or get too old"? It's a really interesting exercise - now that I have the luxury of this hiatus in my normally very busy life I've realised that the preparation of the list is not as easy as you would think!    First thoughts; where would I like to go - what would I like to see? Hmmm, it's pretty easy to put together a list full of places to see and exotic things to do and then I realised that although I'm sure I'll spend more time holidaying now than in the past, I wouldn't be satisfied by living like a gypsy.

So what is really important to me - are there experiences I would like to have, people I'd like to see, performers I'd like to see or hear?  Are there projects I'd like to finish, skills I'd to acquire?  Google 'Bucket List' and it is amazing what you find.  Some people have short term Bucket Lists - like, Spring Bucket List, but I think a Bucket List is bigger than this, my Bucket List has to be the BIG one!  What will I regret if I don't make the time to do it?

So ... Bucket List - or, 'what is really important to me' - what would I regret not doing on my death bed? If we went to the Doctor tomorrow and got the worse possible news what would we prioritise!  If you phase the question like this then the list gets turned on its head.  First, on the list - spend time with the people you love - spend time doing the things you love and then and only then go out and see some of the wonderful places in the world and experience first-hand some fantastic adventures.

So my Bucket List is very much a work in progress - something else to work on during my Gap Year.

Update

OMGoodness...  it is now over three years  since the sale of our business and my move into semi-retirement.  I started this blog to record all the changes - well that was obviously a complete waste of time!  I will have to call this a review rather than a record.  Maybe it is like cleaning, every now and then you have a great big cleanout and from then on it is easier to keep on track and just do a little every now and then.  Well I think that will be my plan from here on in, maybe I should try for a once of week check up - Social Media all up to date - check.  HAHA - I can hear my husband laughing already.  Maybe I'll just take it slow, try for a more frequent schedule than once a year - yes, that should work.  Let's check back again, here, say June 2017 and see if I managed.

To Blog or not to blog - that was my question, I'm still not sure.  After working in our own business for the last 13 years and managing during that time to take on the various challenges that business and life threw at me, I wondered...would others be interested in my story?  Would I have something to say?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

With all due respect !!!

Have you ever been in a meeting and had a colleague use the phrase -'with all due respect'.  In my experience this usually means that they are about to treat you with utter disrespect and they are quite probably about to pour complete derision onto what ever opinion you have just voiced.  The first time it happened  I was completely unprepared and even offended by their scorn - but live and learn and I now realise that it is a phrase that can be a used when dealing with a difficult person; not that I was ever difficult of course!  




Sometimes in a meeting situation we have opinions and even personal agendas which may be at odds with the normal culture of the meeting.  I am a woman and sometimes that fact alone meant that I've held different views or opinions than the rest of my male colleagues, regardless, if you really what to give a polite put down - "With all due respect" is just the way to do it.

My mother always told me...You get more flies with honey than withvinegar".

Have you ever read the little book by Robert Fulghum, "All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten"? This amazing book illustrates so beautifully that if we all remember the caring and sharing lessons that we learnt as children we would work co-operatively together, treat others with respect and walk softly upon the earth.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  When I was little we learnt to say please and thank you as soon as we could talk and I went on to teach this to my children. I'm pleased to say they have gone onto teach it to theirs...however it seems sometimes that we have forgotten these lessons.




In today's retail environment it is often hard to see that the lessons learnt in Kindergarten have been retained.  

My staff are constantly being surveyed about the level of customer service they provide and for the most part the results show that they provide excellent service. However, sometimes from my office I hear customers getting really rude at the counter and even swearing at them. Customer service staff are always in a no-win situation - they try hard to calm customers down, and explain why we may be unable to fulfil everyone's wish list but unfortunately no matter how wonderful your customer service training is, how high your company standards and how customer focused your company culture, not every transaction goes as smoothly as everyone would like.  Sometimes this can be that you are unable to fulfil the customers wishes and sometimes price may be an issue. Usually this is completely out of the control of the customer facing staff and it is unreasonable to have a temper tantrum at the counter.  So take a breathe and remember - what would you Mother have said!!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Reflections on family & friends.

A friend of mine once told me that she kept a journal by the side of her bed to jot down the funny things her kids had said that day; tragically she lost her sona couple of years ago through suicide, I sometimes wonder if those journals give her some comfort now.

I also remember another wise friend telling me when I was a new mother of two great kids.  "Kids are either a pain in the neck or a lump in the throat".  Now, as the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of a beautiful 3 year old, I remember this and reflect on how right she was.  No love is stronger, I will always be their greatest supporter and probably will always be blind to their faults, they are truly wonderful people and their father and I love them dearly.

Over the years my children have given me my greatest highs and also my most trying and soul searching moments.  I reflected on this some time ago at the wedding of the daughter of my very best friend.  It was truly one of the nicest weddings that I have ever attended, everything ran like clock work...the bride and my friend, (her mother) would have demanded nothing less and they were truly rewarded for all of their hard work with a day to remember and a special day for all of their guests.  

The wedding also gave me a chance to see a lot of old friends, many of whom I hadn't seen for years, and it was great to catch up with them and with many of their now grown up beautiful children.  

Twenty or so years ago we all had small kids, now we are grandmothers and grandfathers and we have wrinkles and so much more life experience.  Really it doesn't get better than that...remember my other friend the one who only has her journals!

Life, God and what ever else you believe in has been very good to me and mine.

The words of my wise friend were also so true, my children have the ability to annoy me more than anyone else in the world but they also have the ability to break my heart and for my heart to break with each of their disappointments or set backs.  Nothing is perfect but my life is good maybe even great and I try to remember that the only thing that really matters, is that I have family and friends who love me, so I am truly blessed.  I hope you are too.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day

I can still remember getting a Valentine's card when I was about 10 years old and still in primary school.  If you knew me well and knew about the illness I had in my late teens that knocked out huge parts of my memory, you'd realise that if I can still remember it, it must have been hugely important in my life....haha.

Each year the sale of flowers, greeting cards, chocolates and jewellery soars as lovers give tangible symbols of their affection to their significant others. Apparently in more recent years there has been less cards and more text messages!  And although I think that seems really sad, I have a confession to admit too, my husband and I texted our mutual Valentine's Day wishes to each other this morning. Thank goodness for emoticons and stickers. :)

My Valentine's Day wish to everyone - I really hope that you have someone in your life that makes it special and that you get to spend time with that person today.  Enjoy.



Changes...

I think of myself today as what is laughingly called a ‘groovy Grannie,' my two kids are all grown up, and I’m very lucky to have ...