“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Our life experiences and the people we most admire influence which deep-seated beliefs and ideals we choose to live by. As the youngest son of a police Inspector, it’s little wonder that honesty, responsibility and integrity are important to me. My personable father was someone I could really look up to, a strong and dedicated family man who always provided for us and kept us safe. It made me proud to be the son of this genuine, old-fashioned copper despite his definite, polarised concepts of right and wrong. His many promotions meant that our family frequently relocated, but my time in the country was fantastic. City people don’t know what they are missing. If you polish off my current Sydney veneer, you’ll find I’m still a country boy at heart. (My home town)
I have always been a natural athlete, passionate about sports. As a kid, I played and excelled at just about every sport you can think of, from rugby union to water polo to ten pin bowling. Later in my teens, I favoured more individual activities; athletics in the summer and cross country in the winter. I was age champion for these at school and on weekends I participated in inter-club competition specialising in the 400, 800, and 1500 metre running events, as well as in javelin throwing, but my main passion and relaxation was always surfing.
Every year we took a surfing safari, travelling north to Coolangatta and surfing all the beaches on the way. The ocean may be a cruel mistress, but she is a great playmate. Few things can beat the exhileration of going one on one with the waves; sun on your back, salt on your tongue, and every wave different. You never know what to expect next. I love a challenge.
I worked a variety of jobs before & after starting at Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport. ( Employment) Basically these involved: making stuff – boat anchors, electric & oxy welder, sheet metel & steel fabrication, cilp lock roofer, press & plastics extrusion operator, powder coating & hard-facing metals, sand-blasting, upholstery & furnature fabrication, motorbike assembly & testing, builders labourer, concreater, tiler, brick layer, industrial painter, drainage & PVC plumber,
Serving people – Service Station attendant, Car wash & Cash Console Operator, Car rental, New Car-parts Sales person, Car Wrecking-yard Sales person, Sound System & Car Alarm installation, Servicing & Repairing Rental equipment, Car-parts & rental equipment Delivery Driver, Computer Technician, Assembly, Configuration & Support, Scaffolding, Brick Hoist & Conveyer delivery & installation.
Managing people – Car parts manager(s), Rental Equipment manager, Access Advisary Committee Chairman (foundation member), Australian Bravery Association – National Executive Committee (foundation & life member) Sydney Airport Social Club Association Chairman (founder)
Also other weird stuff like counting electoral votes, letter-box & Milk delivery. I may have left a couple of jobs out but you should get the idea.
Thanks to my kinetic learning and ecclectic experience, I can turn my hand to just about anything. My son thought I worked miracles. He would bring me things that were beyond repair saying,”It’s okay. Daddy will fix it” … and daddy usually did!!!
Then life changed dramatically. A tragic work injury put me in a wheelchair, which brought on a miriad of other health conditions and challenges. Suddenly my character and personality became more important than any previous physical prowess. I chose to preserve my personal strength and emotional resilience to a degree that still surprises many people, though perhaps it shouldn’t. I have always taken a positive approach to adversity. My injury just honed and sharpened my direction, eliminating many distractions I had previously enjoyed, stripping the superflous fluff of everyday busyness so I could set more meaningful goals.
At the age of 33, with 22 years left before retirement, I focused on developing a fulfilling career rather than just holding down a steady job. I was not content with the boring position I started on my return to work, but instead of complaining or feeling sorry for myself, I pursued further education at Sydney University of Technology at night, which led me to where I am today. (See Employment)
My injury began a second chance to get priorities right leading into a completely new life.
Now I am a crusader fighting the arbitrary barriers people erect between each other. I seek to challenge preconceptions and prejudices and promote true inclusion. I don’t want people to treat me differently just becasue I am now vertically challenged. I have extra obstacles to overcome, certain inescapable disabilities, but I am not “disabled”. Yes, I’m a “chair man”, sitting down all the time, but apart from that I’m the same person. I want to live my life, not as a victim or a hero, but as an agent of my own destiny.
There is still a plethora of opportunities and experiences out there waiting for me, in my working life as well as in places to see, things to try and people to meet. Too few of us reach our full potential, finding a million reasons why we should be miserable and complacent, yet, despite life’s curved balls, our limits depend more on our determination and imagination than our circumstances. This doesn’t just apply to me or to paraplegics, but to all those not yet fully alive.
May you one day be surprised to realise just what amazing things you are capable of.