Category Archives: Other

A few words on depression

Not mine, but Tim Carmody’s on the suicide and death of Aaron Swartz.

I was supposed to see Aaron the day before he hanged himself. Andy Baio had invited both of us to a small meetup at a bar on New York’s Lower East Side, and I was excited to catch up with Andy and other friends and to meet some new people. As it turned out, Aaron made it to the party and I didn’t; a late-breaking story kept me in for the night. Nobody thought that we wouldn’t have another chance to meet. Andy wrote that Aaron “was deep in conversation, smiling and chatting. I thought he looked happy. I was wrong.”

After major depressive disorder threatened my life in my twenties, I knew how easy it can be to cover your exhaustion and anger to those around you. All you need is to keep people at arm’s length, keep them from wanting to look too closely, and hide in plain sight, like filling a hole in a cracked plaster wall with toothpaste. I knew how depression, at a chemical level, robs you of the rewards of being happy; how it turns the people around you into two-dimensional cutouts exactly when you need them most; how the disease makes you believe your good days don’t really matter and your bad days are the way the world really is.

Seems to be a fitting theme for what I’ve been discussing recently.

Mark Pollard: Stories about Manhood

Mark Pollard at TEDxHackensack

One of the most raw, emotional and powerful things I’ve watched.  So proud of you dude. Big love, Mark.

Seems like a life time ago when we collaborated on A Perfect Gift For A Man stemming from sharing stories about the things that shaped out lives through Reach Out.

Thoughts from an A330 (my last wi-fi free zone)

Hong Kong and the journey so far

I’m currently sitting on roughly my 19th plane and 10th trip in four months since moving to Hong Kong following the move into the regional position for Weber Shandwick. What a journey.

I still enjoy the middle of plane flights because you can have your toys on, but no one can contact you.  While I hear this is all set to change if they bring WiFi on board, hopefully I’ll have the sense to opt out.  And any colleagues, friends and clients might excuse my absence.

Absence, and a sense of impermanence – though, not a wholly accepting state of  contentment, I’m sorry to say my spiritual friends – is certainly how it has felt.  It’s not a static feeling, nor is it a negative one.  It’s a changing dynamic where by I’m always away from a loved one, an office or a friend.

I’ve never been wholly comfortable travelling on my own – something about being locked inside my head when I’m experiencing things has always niggled at me – but this has certainly shown me how to progress. And it’s something I’ve always wanted to be more okay with.

It’s been an amazing journey.  From Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Philippines (okay maybe that was non-work, leisure I think they call it), and China: all have been incredible places.  Indonesia is next on the itinerary.

It’s perhaps even more amazing to think this thing we call digital connected it all. PowerPoint, Excel, Words documents and countless emails allows me venture around, waving my arms in the air, answering questions about social, mobile and how long a video should be.

I’m certainly passionate about I do, and I hope I can do something even more meaningful in the future.  I’ve had a couple of small instances to do some real good. But it’s not quite enough.

But for now, I feel privileged. I’m happy. Sure, not every hour or every day. But I’m happy. And I think that’s important.  And perhaps what is more important is that I get to share all this with my partner (and she’s happy, which is always better for me) and some great friends – some new, some old.

I don’t know what it all means, but even if I did? So, what? Would I do more of it? Less of it? It doesn’t matter right now. I, you, we; we just are.  Some seconds seem like forever, some hours seem like they never happened. Enjoy them all.

$20 for the future

I’m about to do one of those things I hope I don’t regret. On April 30th I’m going to walk 100km for about 20 hours straight through the Blue Mountains as a part of the Wild Endurance challenge.

It’s for a good cause: helping to raise money for the Wilderness Society. They’re a community-based environmental protection organisation who safeguard our sources of clean water and air, tackle devastating climate change, and to create a better future for the Earth.

I’m asking my friends, network and colleagues all to give their future $20 and support me through my own donation of sweat & blood to the Earth.

Sponsor me for $20 today.

The Responsibility Of Lifestyle Brands

The Incredible Hulk

How to be a better lifestyle brand

I think it’s a fair assumption that many brands, their products and and services, and their stake holders – want to be a lifestyle brand.  We’ve seen phones, cameras and other technologies move out of the tech space and into the ‘lifestyle’ space.

But at what cost?

Well, maybe little to them – providing a new context in which their brand/product/service creates a day-to-day routine with their user.  Phones are probably the best example of this. But there’s a really important lesson to be learnt:

If you’re a lifestyle brand, you have a lifestyle responsibility. Continue reading

Bicycle Film Festival – Sydney

2009_10_17_2660-r20

Sydney Bicycle Film Festival 11-15 November 2009

The marvelous Scott Drummond is one of the producers of the Sydney Bicycle Film Festival.  Scott’s also the man who put me on the right track to getting my very first fixie.  See above.  So – where am I going to be this November? The Sydney Bicycle Film Festivaltickets are now on sale – so here’s something to get you started:

  • Get a $48 season ticket to the films, which works out at $6 a session, which means one feature length film and around 15 short films. Where else on planet Earth can you get to see so much film for such a tiny price? Nowhere!
  • If you’re feeling tight and want to only buy some stuff, then absolutely don’t miss out on the opening night gig at The Factory in Marrickville. It’s Bridezilla, Jonathan Boulet, Deep Sea Arcade and Lions at Your Door (of whom Sweetie from Three Point Turnz is a member) all for $20, which is, again, insanely good value, especially seeing as it will be the first gig Bridezilla play after they launch their debut album on 7th November.

Why you should pay attention

Because here is a community who understand what I love most: Passion, Value and Expertise. How? By creating a celebration of bicycles through Film, Art and Music.

What the fuck has your brand done lately?

Return to Colombia

returntocolombia

ManWeek is an initiative by ReachOut – a valuable step forward encouraging young men to share their thoughts about being a guy.

Without a doubt this is something I’d never thought I’d share across a blog. 20 something years ago I was adopted from an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia. It’s something I live with. Something I think about every day. It’s everything and nothing to me. It’s taken me, and is still taking me, most of my life so far, to accept that it is just something a part of me, but that there is so much more.

Being a guy I’ve always felt the need to be hard. To be ruthless with feeling. To be self assured. The same feelings that I felt gave me strength, left me feeling totally isolated. I learned to live a different life. I still don’t let anyone too close too quickly.

The photo above is me sitting in La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) after trekking for 3 days into the Colombian jungle

I spoke to Marky P about this. Massive inspiration across so many different levels – this post really belongs to his blog.

Life before knowing I was adopted

I’ve known since birth. My brother is blonde, white with green eyes – so I was reminded from when I was young. It was a really hard thing to explain to people when you’re 5 years old why you and your brothers are different ‘colours’. I remember lying about it once. At 5 years old, I’d never felt so guilty before. I’ve never lied about it again.

Experience: The judgment of others, and the judgement of myself.

How I found out I was adopted

Parents always discussed it with me. “Where do babies come from” was a very different conversation with me. I think I would have only been 18 months (or whenever babies start to talk) that they started showing me where I was from. You might have had a “Where do babies come from book” – you know those books for babies? – I had one called “Why was I adopted” which was also for infants.

Experience: That I experienced birth like none other I knew (at that time).

How I felt

Confused. My whole outlook was always up and down. It’s hard to tell if I was naturally emotional or if that this made me emotional because I went through so many different feelings. I once went to a doctor and was asked to fill out medical history (of family) to which I wrote ‘N/A’ and the doctor looked at me coldly and said “What? Is your whole family dead?” I said “They could be, I really have no idea.”

It becomes a search for ‘truth’ – whatever that is, to answer questions of why.

Experience: Blame. It’s weird, there’s no real blame anywhere. Yet I felt like I needed to put some on someone.

Highschool

Highschool – where you think you know who you are, by trying to be everyone else. Having felt alone for so long – you look to feel a part of something all over again. You tell yourself you don’t give a shit; that you’re a guy and that none of this matters to guys. That I should get back to chasing girls.

After the first 4 years of highschool, running around with different crowds, I gave in. I let go of caring about the judgement views of others and starting doing my own thing. I still continued to perform with different bands; kept playing soccer; continued enjoying the company of my closest friends. I just wanted to be whatever I wanted. And that was fine. I started to feel happy.

People think I’m gay; straight; happy; sad; too old; too young; too busy; lazy blah bah. But I just wanted to be me. And that’s what happened. And again, I learned acceptance.

Experience: Life is what you want it to be. You have that control and will to bend, twist and craft whatever you want.

Thinking about finding my biological family

Talk to any adopted child and they’ll have a different perspective. In fact, I think while you’re growing up it changes over time. Sometimes you want to more than anything; sometimes the thought tears you apart; and at other times it seems as a nice to know.

Experience: Acceptance. That everything happens. And it will happen. We are everything that we want to be.

Doing it

Hard. I procrastinated for so long. It ended up being over the internet, followed by a letter, to which I received an email reply (after leaving an email address). 12 months later I went over with 5 mates who would share one of the pinnacle moments of my life with me. I wrote every day, and still have not published any of this, nor read it again.

Meeting my mother, my 3 sisters, and my half brother and half sister, two nieces and nephew was incredible, I’m still never sure how to explain the feeling. I now know every circumstance I was adopted under.

Experience: Reborn. My life started again.

The journey: is a search for truth, and answers

It felt like it feels to SCUBA diving at night with sharks. Honestly. You jump into the water, swallow all your pride, and decide that it’s worth everything to be here, if I don’t make it out alive, at least I did something that might mean something one day.

Then you jump.

Thoughts now

Best thing I’ve ever done. That’s all you need to know.

It’s a fuel. A fuel for self-destruction, a fuel for strength, a fuel for emotion, a fuel for apathy. It is measure of value, fortune and gratitude.

Some thoughts for adopted men

  1. You are not alone
  2. Your parents are the ones who raised you, your family is who you make it
  3. It’s OK to care about your parents, it’s OK to give a fuck
  4. The decision is yours. You never have to find out, you’re not succeeding or failing at anything you don’t set out to do

What I’ve learned

  1. I have a strong connection with my family
  2. I have a strong connection with children
  3. Adopted children share an experience which bonds them, no story is the same
  4. That I am incredibly fortunate to be where I am, and know the people I know
  5. I haved lived in too much fear, guilt and anger

What I want to be

  1. A father. A good father.
  2. To support and be there for any other adoptee (working on something at the moment)

ManWeek

Nerdgasms

I was working on my next post around the future of social media. It’s a lengthy post that I’ve been trying to articulate for a while. And then I got bored. So I promise I’ll do something insightful soon. But here’s something completely different.

Nerdgasms

What’s your nerdgasm? Comment below.

Barack Obama: Yes he can. Top 25 Obama Facts.

Barack Obama: Yes he can.

Something very different today: all started when the legoland inauguration inspired me to try something different.  Rather than react I felt like acting.

  1. If you spell Barack Obama wrong on Google it doesn’t say, “Did you mean Barack Obama?” It simply replies, “Yes you can.”
  2. Superman owns a pair of Barack Obama pajamas.
  3. Barack Obama counted to infinity -twice. Continue reading

Water, water (Everywhere?)

So what do you want for Christmas?

Maybe growing up it was a bike or that first guitar.  There’s a good chance it wasn’t clean water. But for so many of the world’s men, woman and children — that’s the only thing they want.  Would you deny someone that basic human right? Or are you going to put your hand up in support.

WaterAid and its partners use practical solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people.  In a world where we talk about the desires of the consumer it’s this essential, yet basic, need we often over look.

Clean water is essential for life, but one in eight of the world’s population does not have access to it.

Let them drink clean water at Christmas.  Get involved.