What’s a hug?

The Oxford dictionary defines a hug as the following.

Squeeze (someone) tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection.

But is that all a hug really is? There is so much more to a hug than just squeezing a person who is close to you. It means you not only care for them when they are in a time of need, but because they mean something more to you than just another way of transferring some body heat. Although, this can normally be the case in the long and cold winter months.

A hug is very much a two way street. Well, a real hug is. There are some hugs that are meant to be for show only. These ones are normally, quick and they feel like a cheap imitation, just like a fake Ming Dynasty vase. They look great from an outsiders point of view, but the real truth can be seen upon closer inspection. They are just plain fakes.

So what does a fake hug look or even feel like? That’s hard to define, but a fake hug resembles a ‘cheek air kiss’. Close to a kiss, but not really hitting the mark. A fake hug can be spotted when only one person is really hugging and the other one is just following suit for appearance sake.

A real hug is something that is not forced, its given freely, anytime and anywhere. In the kitchen, on the front doorstep, and even in a lift in an office building. They are real hugs and are meant for much more than body heat. They express gratitude, understanding and love.

Sometimes an unexpected hug is one of the best things you can receive. And in many cases, giving one will bring warmth and happiness to someone who needs that very personal ‘pick me up’.

Hugs cost nothing to give except for a few moments of your time. And that time is well worth the effort for all parties involved.

Give a few hugs and make someone’s day. It’s so easy and there is always a benefit when giving one. Because there is a very good chance it will be returned tenfold.

Is suicide the only way out?

With a number of celebrities taking their own lives recently, I have been left to wonder if that is the only way to resolve life issues. The ending of their life may be the end of their own journey and problems. but what about the remaining journeys of the family and friends who are left to grieve and pick up the pieces.

Loved ones will always be left to grieve for the loss, and will continue to wonder if they had missed the signs or if there was something they could, or should have done to have avoided the loss of a beautiful life.

Without doubt, there will always be a time of darkness and depression in our lives, it’s only natural. We can’t cruise though our entire lives without hitting a few lows. But is suicide the only way out?

Looking around at the people who are suffering and are still with us, it shows there is another option rather than ending it all. There is pain and suffering in their everyday lives. From the moment they wake up, until they go to sleep. There is constant pain. Never ending pain.

It’s a sad thing to know many people are in a place where all they can see is darkness in their lives with no happy future and no way out. Their options seem very limited, and they think death is their best friend. But is it? The fight with the black dog can be a temporary part of life. Death is forever.

In a person’s mind, it may not be the best way to resolve the problem, but in that state, they can’t see any other way forward.

The next week, the next month, the next year might be bad. But none of us know when the tide will turn. And yes, looking that far into the future is impossible, for anyone. Let alone for a person who is depressed.

Family and friends are normally so close that they are unable to see what is really going on under the covers. They may miss the early warning signs and after that, life is like normality to them.

So in many cases, family and friends never get to shine the light and help because they never realize there is a problem until it’s too late. And after it’s done. they torture themselves because they never saw it coming and have no idea why it happened.

Those who feel all hope is gone are very good at hiding their true state of mind from people around them, and those who are closest are often blindsided by the situation. Work colleagues are often in a better position to see the warning signs as they are not as close. Thats why its very important to ask “are you ok”.

In the end all we can do is to be there, look out for the warning signs and help keep the black dog at bay.

If you or a friend feel the need to talk to someone, the following links can help.

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.lifeline.org.au

The Simple Things

The more I look at life and all it has to offer, it becomes very obvious that the simple things are the ones that make us the happiest

From the delights of sharing a simple meal with friends all the way through to sitting on the beach with a loved one and watching the sun set over the calm waters. Watching the sunrise is just as spectacular, but there is the fact you do need to be out of bed rather early.

We are all very different, and what makes us happy is a very personal thing. Dining at a fancy restaurant, staying in bed all day and bumming around in pjs for the rest of the day, or getting up at the crack of dawn and cycling about until the legs scream for rest. It’s these very simple things that make life worth living.

And then there is the one other thing that makes us truly happy? To hear words of love and affection from the people who are closest to us.

‘I love you’ are the three little words that make life special to all of us, no matter how hardened we think we are. They make us smile, even if that smile is an internal one.

Tell someone you love them today, as tomorrow is never promised. And what if you don’t love them? It’s best they know that as well.

Lost in your own little world

As I sat on the morning train heading to work, I had a gentleman sit in front of me who had boarded at the same station. As the train continued on towards the city, a few stations further down, the seat next to the gentleman was taken up by a man of a similar age.

ey both had their heads down and were looking at their phones for the next 20 or so minutes. It was then that one of them looked up and to the side and realised he was sitting next to an old mate. The surprise in their voices was genuine and they chatted happily for the remainder of the trip into work.

They didn’t see one another because they were so wrapped up in their own little world, a space where no one is allowed to enter for a certain period of time, and no matter what goes on around them, they are lost in that world.

Being lost in your own world can be a good thing at times, but so many people become entrenched in their little world, and forget to live and interact with others around them in the real world.

The world, or space we go to when we want solitude doesn’t have to be a locked down room, it can be a place in the mind where we find peace and comfort. But, we can’t stay in that world forever, we need to venture out and live life in the real world, communicate with friends, family and lovers.

So when we do come out of our own world we need to make the time and effort to communicate with others around us, at home and at work, or in some rare cases, on the train. And when I say communicate, I do mean face to face. Texting, Facebook, and all the other variants of technology should be placed aside and a real conversation should take place.


Let’s not live and breathe all of our time in our own world, there is so much to see, do, learn and listen to once we step out and really communicate. Don’t be the one to let human communication become extinct.

Darkness

When the sun finally sets in the horizon, we are eventually shrouded in darkness, but there are times in our lives we can also be in the dark when the sun shines and it’s the middle of the day. There is no need for the moon to be out for us to feel as if we are in the dark, or in a dark place.

There will always be a time when we feel as if the walls around us are closing in and the light that’s shining bright is quickly fading, turning into darkness. It is in this situation, we feel as if there is nothing we can do, or no one we can turn to. But thats so very untrue.

There is always a friend close at hand who will drop what they have and stop by for a chat. Even a quick call to a mate is better than sitting in a room as the walls close in and darkness fills every crevice of your mind.

Even though we think we are in full control of our minds most of the time, we all do have a momentary lapse of reason. This may be for an hour, a day, or even a week. But this doesn’t mean we will never be back in control of how we feel and how we see ourselves.

Whilst we are in that dark space, our outlook on life is somewhat skewed and things tend to seem worse than they really are. But once we rise up and see the day of light, our perception changes in an instant.

The hardest part of falling into the darkness is not knowing how long the dark shroud will cloak us, and our minds. Time and friendship is what will help us see the light, and both are freely available to all of us, we just need to look around to see we are truly wanted and loved.

Never give up hope when darkness clouds you.

Christmas, family and friends

With Christmas barreling towards us faster than a pack of reindeers attached to a sled carrying a big bloke in a red suit, it’s a time of the year when we should be at our happiest.


Family, food and friends are only a small part of what the Christmas spirit has to offer. It’s a time of the year when we see children smile more often and adults become a little more relaxed as the year winds down.


So If this time of the year is meant to bring us nothing but joy and happiness, why is it that I see people on the train with a frown on their faces and what looks to be the problems of the world on their shoulders.



It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we all get a but down during the Christmas season.


Family, work or just the strain of another long and frustrating year. These are the things you want to leave behind and make a memory never to be seen again. Situations that may have dragged us into a dark place, are the ones we want to forget.


But if we sit back and take a good hard look at the year and our own lives, we should do nothing but smile, kick up our heels and celebrate life as we know it. It could have been a lot worse. Much worse.



There are millions of people around the world who are far less better off and they push through every day, sometimes not knowing what Christmas day is and what it truly means.


So with that in mind, take what you have around you, family, friends and loved ones and show them how much you appreciate their love and support.


You don’t need to buy an expensive gift or spoil them with treats. Show them how much the really mean by telling them. Say the words that mean the most.



A shot of whiskey mixed with a bigger shot of honesty will bring a smile to their lips and the year won’t seem nearly as bad as it may have been.



We are fortunate to be where we are and who we are with, so let’s show and tell.

Cronuts, cycling and friendship 

After not having been on a bike for over 9 months,it was time to test the waters and hit a track to see how my mind and body would cope.

So when it came to going off road and getting down and dirty on the Warby trail, there was only one person who I wanted to be by my side as I took the first few turns of the pedals of my trusty Giant mountain bike.



On the day of the ride and waking up much earlier than really required, I checked and then rechecked my gear and then my bike. A few butterflies fluttered in my stomach, but not as bad as I expected.

So once at the start of the track, I slipped on my gloves and put on my helmet and took off with my bro right by my side.


I guess it’s true what they say that you never forget how to ride a bike. It was easy as I  turned the pedals over and the track quickly became a familiar friend.

We chatted and laughed and whatever nerves I had were left at the start of the track. Still some apprehension, but nothing that was going to stop me from enjoying my return to the bike and the scenery it revealed.



With the sun on our backs and a light breeze cutting across us, the distance wasn’t an issue, and neither was my fitness, at least for the first part of the ride.

The return trip was a little tougher on the body, but as we decided to stop off for a coffee and cronut with 10kms from the starting point, I had enough sugar in my body to get me over the line.



Could have I completed the my return ride without my bro by my side? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that he would have been by my side whenever I decided to take the plunge back onto the world of cycling.



As miserable as 2017 has been, there were a few happy moments. This was one moment that will stay with me for my remaining days. Not because I got back on the bike, or that i managed to clock up 30 plus kms, but the friendship that helped me get through a dark time for me.


The ride cost nothing, just time spent together. Money can’t buy happiness, but a friendship is worth millions.