I had my haircut tonight, and it got me thinking about Christmas. It was 7pm at night. The salon was packed. They were serving wine. Everyone was happy. I was happy. Apparently they had appointments through until midnight. Fancy that, on your feet and cutting hair until the clock strikes 12.
Christmas is a funny time.
When we think about Christmas, situations like I described above aren't unusual. Everyone is busy. Everyone is making last-minute appointments. Everything is booked up, and everyone is squeezing as much as they can into the days and weeks leading up to the day itself.
Much earlier in the year I blogged about starting things, because I believe more young people should team-up with friends and create businesses, projects, causes...the future.
I was, at the time, full of optimism and in the process of starting something myself, and now as 2013 draws to a close, I'm in the process of finishing it.
And I've (re)discovered something. Finishing things sucks.
For as long as I can remember I've put other people's needs ahead of my own. I don't say this to gain sympathy, and I'm not a martyr. I do it because it works for me. It makes me feel useful and valuable. Making other people happy, and meeting their needs, makes me happy.
Right? Well kind of.
I stumbled upon a book recently called Choose Yourself by James Altucher. It's available on Kindle or as a paperback. It's a business book, a #1 best seller on Amazon, and it's widely regarded by people I admire from afar as a book worth reading. I like it too. It acknowledges the world is changing, jobs are disappearing, industries are being disrupted and traditional educations are becoming less and less relevant in the new economy that's rising from the ashes. And it teaches you how to use that to your advantage. It teaches you that the world is hyper-competitive and you can't just tick a bunch of boxes and expect to land the perfect job and keep it forever. You need to put your hand up, create your own luck, and choose yourself. Constantly. If you're just starting a career, or you feel you're in a rut, I strongly encourage you to read this book.
The NZ Labour Party needs to wake up or risk narrowly missing out on Government in 2014. The constant attacks on John Key's credibility aren't working nearly as well as they could be. They're not working because Labour is struggling to be perceived as a credible alternative for Government. At last, New Zealanders have had enough of John Key, but now we have a situation where many swing voters don't know where to look.
Putting a Labour leadership contest to one side, to win the 2014 election Labour needs to come out strong on the key issues that matter to most New Zealanders. GCSB and our fundamental right to privacy, asset sales and tax reforms. On all three issues, there is a clear majority position that is different from the position adopted by the National Government.
The vast majority of New Zealanders value privacy. It's why we install curtains and blinds in our homes, and it's why stories regarding the leaks of private information have dominated our news headlines for the past several months. Thanks to the proposed GCSB bill, the Dunne/Vance fiasco and various other leaks earlier in the year from departments and agencies such as WINZ, ACC and EQC, it's easy to position the National Government as a Government with a cavalier disregard for privacy rights. This should remain an election issue through to 2014. Labour needs to stop talking about inquiries and compromises, and come out with strong alternative policy, and go on record that it will be implemented in 2014.
When the Third Reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill (a.k.a Marriage Equality) took place a Parliament on Wednesday, Mighty Ape showed support for the Bill by posting this image to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, which together are followed by over 200,000 New Zealanders.
Mighty Ape is a business reliant on paying customers, so obviously the decision to show support for a potentially divisive issue wasn't without risk. We are primarily a retailer, after all.
I'm surprised more people don't start things. Internet things. New ideas. New opportunities. New websites.
There are a lot of super-smart people in New Zealand. Super-smart designers, developers and business people working hard to maintain the status-quo.
We can do more.
I've always been one to take things personally. I frequently misinterpret words and actions as an unprovoked attack on me or my character. I think things are about me when they're not.
A little trick I've learned to help deal with this is to ask myself "is this person being the best friend/boyfriend/colleague/neighbour/mother/father/sister/whatever that they know how to be?" I try hard to think about their specific circumstances, who their friends are, their upbringing, their beliefs etc.
The next question I ask is "Am I being treated any differently from this person's other friends/boyfriends/children/siblings/whatever?"
The shrinking minority still opposed to Marriage Equality often use polyamorous relationships as a weapon against supporting same-sex marriage. You know the argument, the "slippery slope" that will eventually see the state acknowledging relationships between more than two people.
Terrifying stuff, apparently.
Before I dive into why this concept should in fact terrify no body at all, it's important for clarity that I restate my previously outlined position on marriage equality in relation to same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is something I fully support on the basis of fairness, equality, and most importantly the positive message it sends to young gay people.
I've always valued friendship. Growing up, I've crossed paths with some amazing people, and having chosen to live most of my adult life as a single person, I have wherever possible, made friendship a priority in my life.
As I grow older, I'm becoming more aware of how significant these friendships have become. How they form the foundation of my life. How much happiness they bring me. How they've shaped me into the person I am today, and how they will mould me into the person I become tomorrow.
It's sad to me that, in the eyes of many, friendships are considered a second-tier relationship. Less than family. Less than a marriage. Less than a monogamous sexual relationship. It's totally wrong. If a person is valuable to you, integral to your happiness, is good for you and brings you joy, it should make no difference to anybody whether you share blood, a bed, or a marriage certificate.
I love my 1987 E30 BMW. It's one of my favourite "things". I bought it with no intention of selling it. Ever. I've spent thousands maintaining it. Hours days cleaning it. It brings me so much happiness. But it's up for sale.
Because I want this year to be different from last year. I don't want the same routines and the same experiences. I want new adventures and new things to love. Sometimes you need to get rid of the old, to make way for the new.