Shift Work

In today’s modern day of 24 hours worksites, the likelihood of you or someone you know being a shift worker is higher than ever. About 16% of Australians are shift workers of some varying description. With the advent of Drive-In-Drive-Out (DIDO), Bus-In-Bus-Out (BIBO), and Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) not only are people working different shifts but are doing so away from their families for large chunks of time. You then have our service men and women in the ADF who can be deployed for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months at a time, away from everyone, in harsh and dangerous conditions.

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There is a lot of debate circling around shift work and the negative impacts it can have on a person both physically and mentally. The basic theory runs around your circadian rhythm, the body’s normal wake-sleep cycle that repairs and refreshes your body. There is research to support both a short cycle of two to three days of nights before reverting to days, and having longer cycles of three to four weeks. There is also conversations around shift length debating the efficacy of both the the eight and twelve hour shift. The summation of most of the above is short swing shifts, from Morning to Afternoon to Night to Days off, not more than three days each was more beneficial to the employee in terms of their health, and the workplace in terms of alertness and efficiency.  There is also a massive personal element that needs to be considered: children, home life, personal habits, and hobbies all impact which schedule works for you.

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Some people only see the benefits of FIFO work, and I mean DIDO and BIBO too, whereby the workers are at home and off for a week at a time. What they don’t see is the day lost after work to travel, the day lost before work to travel, the 12 hours shifts while they are away, all of the missed time with family and friends. My Brother is a DIDO shift worker who is on an even time roster with a 5/7 rotation. He has a three hour drive to get work and to get home, he works a 12 hour shift, and then when he is done he escapes to the “donga” accommodation that is still on site. I know he often feels rushed on his days off to achieve things as he only has three days out of twelve to actually do anything. The long term effects of such absences are similar to that of Military service. This can create separation anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. 7% of FIFO workers seperate from their partners, as opposed to 5% for those who are home every evening. Thats a 40% increase on their “in town” counterparts. This separation can be a result of the worker themselves feeling isolated and removed from their partners, and also the partners not having their working other halves at home for most of the fortnight, then comes home to change routines, make a mess, be absent with friends or their own interests. All of this stress is increased with the inclusion of children, young or older.

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As you may or may not be aware I am a shift working Nurse. This means in a 14 day fortnight I can, and will, work a mix of Early (0700 – 1530), Late (1500 – 2330), and Night (2300 – 0730). Generally I will work two nights, and a mix of the others. I will some times be required to work a late shift one day, and then come back for an early shift the following day, giving an 8 hours break between shifts but being a rather quick turn around regardless. Shift working is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either single with no children, or lying. I often have to make the decision between sleep and spending time with the family, missing social events due to shifts or sleep, and having a broken sleep cycle that often leaves me staring at the roof for hours at a time trying to get some shut eye. It’s difficult at times to manage, even as I write this I am between two night shifts, soon I will make dinner, sleep for a couple of hours, go to work, then stay up all of tomorrow to get back into my sleep routing. I call tomorrow my “Zombie” day as I may not be operating at 100% but need to stay up in order to sleep that evening.

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Undoubtedly though those who have it the worst are our men and women serving in the ADF. Long term readers know that I served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and though I didn’t deploy overseas I still had six months separated from my family whilst on submarines, 3 back to back 6 week stints at sea on patrol boats, and an exceptionally demanding job as the Fleet Support Officer (FSO) in Western Australia. These times were tough. On patrol boats I was working two 4 hours watches on the bridge per day, plus the ancillary duties I had onboard. On Submarines the days were broken into four 6 hours watches which everyone take two off, as the FSO 12-17 hour days were not unheard of, working 6-7 days a week, and being constantly on call. Even though all of these different circumstances are considered difficult, it is nothing compared to the conditions of those who are deployed overseas to areas of conflict. These members are separated from their families by locality, have long hours to contend with, and are under constant threat from outside antagonists.

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Fatigue is one obvious detrimental effect cause by shift work, but there are a several others that may not be as obvious;

  • Increased likelihood of obesity
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Higher risk of mood changes
  • Increased risk of gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and stomach discomfort
  • Higher risk of motor vehicle accidents and work-related accidents
  • Increased likelihood of family problems, including divorce
  • Probable increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.
  • Increased risk of injuries and accidents
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased quality of life
  • General feeling of being unwell

In addition:

  • Sleep deprivation caused by shiftwork may increase the risk of epilepsy in pre-disposed people.
  • Shiftworkers with diabetes can experience difficulties in controlling their blood sugar levels.

The most obvious solution to the above issues it to ensure you get adequate sleep, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, and get plenty of exercise. However, if you have any above the symptoms or feel uncertain about anything go and see your GP and get checked out.

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I will be a shift worker for the remainder of my career, because patients still need care over night, and that’s ok. I have an exceptionally understanding wife who appreciates my need for sleep, I try to maximise the time spent with family, I am trying to get in the habit of requesting weekends off every now and again so I can spend time with the entire family, I try and eat right, and stay hydrated. My only piece of advice I have for you ragers is stay safe, be sensible, and seek help if something is awry.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Memories up on the Wall

We all carry memories of a life gone by, some of these are happy memories, some of them not so happy. Regardless of their positive sway, memories are the foundation of who we are; they dictate how we behave in given situations, and when presented, show the outside world a little piece of yourself. Memories these days are displayed in a number of ways, the spoken word through tall tales and exciting reenactments, physical objects such as printed photos or trophies or even items of clothing, and the digital which in todays 21st century world is rapidly becoming our memory storage of choice.

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Anyone who has known me for longer than 10 minutes knows that I am not afraid of a good story, and sometimes I won’t let the truth get in the way of a good one either. The spoken word has been the mainstay of sharing memories for millennia. The Jews still have the spoken word as part of their law and religion, we share experiences with our children by story, we learn from the mistakes of others by hearing their tales of woe. Sometimes while we discuss and share these stories, unexpected emotions may rise to the surface. Sharing a recipe may trigger a memory of a time it was cooked in the kitchen with someone who is no longer with us, or sharing an event may lead to the thought of missed opportunities. However these memories flow out of us it is important to not loose ability to share a spoken memory. We are too quick to instagram a meal or tweet a thought, but never really engage with those around us.

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For those who have been to my house you can not miss the photos on the wall, the memories we have decided to share, and the memories we have decided to remind ourselves of. Like most married people, there is a number of photos from the wedding. Not just because it was our special day, but because there is most of our close family all together, and for some of them they won’t be in any more family photos. Memories up on the wall, as the name of this blog has been leading towards, are curious memories. They aren’t just a display of a particular event, achievement, or person, but they are also a reminder of that time. For Christmas my wife made me a memory box with some small things from my Navy days. I served for 5 years in the Navy, and I have been out for nearly as long. In all that time I don’t have a single photo or piece of memorabilia on display. This memory box reminded me of the pride I had while I was serving, the joy I had in my role, and the people I met along the way. It now sits very proudly above my desk, with my certificates from University and Awards I have won since discharging from the Navy. My wife also encourage me to hang my ships’ hats in our cupboard, since they have been shoved in a bag for nearly 5 years, as a way of reminding myself of the fond memories I have of the Navy.

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Lastly the most common way of sharing and logging memories, no matter how trivial or how much of an over share, the Digital. Now the digital does cover all of the biggies, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so on, but also includes platforms such as these Personal Blogs. The digital age has opened up a whole new avenue of storing and sharing memories with people. You can share almost anything with almost anyone and do it all from the comfort of your own home. For example this post is being written in the comfort of my study desk and chair, while in my Darth Vader pyjamas, while eating homemade Tiramisu. Got to love the digital age. It does also have its drawbacks, while all of your memories, actions, and daily routine are being posted online we seem to trivialise events. We have a first birthday of a child, take some Instagrammable pictures and dumb down the event to 120 characters with a couple of hashtags. We seem to forget when events actually happen and rely on Facebook or Twitter to show us, “OH, I posted the picture of you stuffing your face with cake on 12th of January, that must have been it”. The bright side is we are able to share memories with people in the far flung reaches of our planet. For example My wife and I have a Facebook Messenger Group with all of our friends and family who wish to see photos and videos of our two girls, who we seldom allow images of online. This allows us to share with my Mother in Law in Perth, my Uncle in Sydney, Friends in Canberra, and even Friends overseas. Sharing memories has become easier, let’s just not water it down too much.

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Memories are important to all of us. We rely on them guide us, teach us, make us feel all warm and fuzzy, and to keep those who mean the most to us close. I am glad my wife has encouraged me to display my memories instead of keeping them locked away, or buried in the back of cupboard. What memories do you display proudly? Is there a story that you like to share with people when you meet? Comment below and share you memory today.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Checking In

Today I conducted a little experiment to see who was paying attention, if there were any folks out there who have been paying attention to my posts, tweets, and articles. The result I have is unfortunately not surprising, and is the reason behind my post today. As a community, whether Maintain the Rage, Church, School, Friends, Family, Work, Clubs, Hobbies or otherwise we need to ensure we keep a closer eye on one another, and Check In once in a while.

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The experiment was, miss a post that has otherwise been out every Monday at 0530 Australian Eastern Stand Time for over 12 months, see if anyone reacts, posts, tweets, calls, messages or otherwise tries to get in contact with me or the page to see if I am ok, or at least comment on the lack of post. Sadly, as I write this a little after 1400 on the Monday, I am yet to receive even one such attempt at contact. This is mildly concerning for myself as I have recently gone through an episode of severe depression, suicidal ideations and planning. There has been reports saying that someone who has attempted suicide in the past is more likely to attempt in the future, and normally with an increased completion rate. This post is not meant to guilt trip anyone, or make anyone feel concerned for myself, this is supposed to show people how easy it can be for something to go awry and encourage the simple act of Checking In.

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For those of you who’ve read my Blog for a while now will recognise the man in the picture above, it is Peter Bach, a good friend of mine from my Navy days, he was also a close friend who was taken away from us because of Suicide. Peter even gave us a chance to help him. Two nights before he succeeded in a suicidal action, Peter had made an attempt, so we would realise later, and injured his head. Nobody realised. When asked how he received the injury, nobody suspect his answer was off. Nobody put two and two together. None of us realised it was probably the last time any of us would get the chance to save his life. We missed it. We failed to Check In.

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I therefore encourage everyone to be aware of the community they are in, the people they influence, and those who influence them. I plead with you to notice when someone hasn’t performed a task at their usual time or arrived when normally they would. Sometimes retreating back inside themselves is the first noticeable sign of someone in trouble. The earlier signs are changes of habit, changes in mood, changes in dress, or changes in interest. Notice the signs, get educated, be involved, and Check In.

Maintain the Rage,

Luke Sondergeld

Christmas 2018

Tis the season and unless you have been living under a rock, with earplugs in, completely blocking out the outside world, you are no doubt by now completely overwhelmed with Christmas carols, sales, advertising, lights, trees, and that one person at work who seems a little too involved in the whole Christmas Cheer side of things. I am going to start by saying I am not exactly Christmas’s biggest fan, not the reason behind the season which is the birth of Jesus Christ, but the commercial, Santa Clause, snow effect, carolling, blinking lights, nonsense that the day and subsequent season has become.

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The main issue I have with Christmas is commercialism. Now I understand that our, and many other of the economies around the world are based on the premise of commercialism, and commercialism to the highest order. The idea of buying for $1, selling for $2, and putting it on sale for $3 reigns supreme. I also understand that lots of people’s welfare and income are based around the premise of buying and selling. What I don’t appreciate is being forced into buying things to decorate ones home to make it look like a winter wonderland, when  its 40 degrees celsius outside, 104 Fahrenheit for those in the States. I also don’t like the idea of an overweight Northern European man, breaking into my house, consuming food and beverages, then leaving suspicious packages around the place.

The entire premise behind the modern Christmas seems to boil down to buying gifts you can’t afford, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t talk to all year. Me and mine keep things simple. Our children are the only ones who get gifts, they are usually either practical or necessary, and friends and family are told that the only people who will have presents bought for them are the children, of which there are none outside my two girls. Even this limitation on the season still has my back up. I still don’t understand why there is a need for exchanging presents, hanging ornaments, and elaborate fables.

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I will add, I do participate willingly in a ‘secret santa’ with my friends and family. This involves all of my friends putting the names in and having to purchase 1 gift, and all of the family doing the same. This way we can meet the social preconceptions without too many financial implications.

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The other issue that I have with the majority of Christmas is the focus on the trees, the lights, the big guy in a red suit, the presents, the ham or turkey, and the decorations. The reason for the season is the Birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Now this post is not meant to be preachy, or beating you over the head with my bible, but it is only fair that I share my thoughts behind Christmas, and this means talking a little about Jesus.

Firstly, to quell the naysayers regarding the 25th of December actually being Jesus birthday or not, I will honestly say I have no idea, nor do I care. Historically people have pegged Jesus birthday in March 28th, somewhere in October, November 18, and a myriad of others. My thought is, the Queen has two birthdays a year, and only one of them is on her actual birthday, and frankly my faith isn’t hinged on whether Jesus was born on December 25th or not, the fact the He was born, lived, died, and rose again, matters.

Secondly, you can find any number of Nativity stories, songs that run the story, and so on, but to really get the story one has to get if from the source, Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. For those who don’t have a bible at home bible.com is a great free access bible, if you are on your phone then You Version is a great free bible app. I also encourage you to head to your local church to enjoy the carols and story of the birth of Christ. So my reason for the season is to celebrate His birth, and share with others his-story wherever I can.

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So thats my story regarding Christmas, it may not fit the stencil that everyone else lives by, it may even offend a few readers. The aim of this post was not to offend anybody, put anybody off side, or guilt anybody, the aim was to share my story and views on something that has a very assumed belief attached to it. I encourage everyone to enjoy the season any way they see fit.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Fixing a Headmark

The past week has been a little tumultuous with the dizzying heights of the Queensland Training Awards, the crushing depths of my depression, which comes with all the treatment side effects following ECT. I would love to claim that my week was smooth sailing. I would love to say that the Awards were the boost to my confidence and self worth that I needed. I would love to say that my treatment has been amazing, I feel better and that I have suffered no ill effects, but alas I cannot. Instead I will share with you the very raw details of the week that was in the hope of raising awareness of mental health, reducing stigma surrounding ECT, and to encourage others to push themselves and study further. This, I hope, will encourage me to refix my headmark and correct my course.

I will start with the Awards, as it is always good to start on a high note. Several weeks ago, for those who weren’t aware, I won the Regional Vocational Education Student of the Year award. It was a humbling experience and one I am truly thankful for. The weekend just gone saw the announcement of the State winner. In my category there where seven candidates from a variety of backgrounds and education streams. The night went on. I went through the gambit of nervous emotions. Finally my category was up. Unfortunately, I did not win the state award. However, I was in the top 7 out of 840 nominees. And that has to account for something. I am not going to lie, I was saddened and disappointed that I did not win. I know that CQUniversity, represented by Scott and Anita Bowman, Helen Huntly, and Peter Heilbuth, were pleased that I made it as far as I did, and they couldn’t be any prouder. The award has encouraged me to pursue my dream of teaching future Nurses, while working as a Nurse, it has also encouraged me to strive harder and do more for my fellow students and University as a whole. Looking forward to the future, that’s where I need to focus.

Next, my treatment. For those who have been reading I have been undergoing ECT for the past two weeks. This has been in answer to my depression taking a dramatic turn toward self destruction and suicidality. The treatment has, from what I can tell, made small improvements to mood and self destructive behaviours. I am not as depressed as I was, I am less suicidal, and I am engaging more with those around me. However, my drinking has seen a stark increase, my memory is frustratingly shot with most of my short term memory being nonexistent. To the outside observer I would appear to be improving, with an improvement in mood, and engagement. Not to dismiss what improvements there has been, but I still feel I have a long way to go.

I feel like I should take the opportunity to say to everybody reading this, if you are given ECT as a treatment option consider it. But make sure you have considered all of your options, make sure you have a solid support network around you, keep a journal or notepad of different thoughts or ideas so you don’t loose them, but most of all make sure you are making the decision for you, don’t let anybody coerce you in or out of treatment, if that is what you really want.

If there has been one thing out of this awards process that I have taken away, it is the dedication, hard work, and persistence that the teaching staff put in every day. Having been a student, a mentor, unofficial teachers aide, and tutor I have seen first hand the hard work that goes into lesson plans, instructional lessons, handout, and assignments that go into making sure that the student can receive the best education possible. I have a new found call to not only be a Nurse but also educate the next generation of Nurses as an instructor at either the TAFE or University level. I feel that my drive to always be better, do better, and know more will serve me well in this endeavour.

So now that I have identified some landmarks around my life at the moment and I am confident I have my position, to keep the Navigational metaphor going, it is time to realign with my head mark and regain my track. And here it is:

    Finish assessments for this Semester
    Finish placements for this Semester
    Finish Treatment
    Return to Work
    Make headway towards teaching
    Spend more time with the Children
      Spend more time with the

Wife

    Continue to build Diploma of Nursing Society
    Continue Mentoring new Nurses
    Take time to self care

Most of these will be a continual thing, some will be achievable by the end of the year, some of them have to be completed by the end of the year. If I keep myself accountable and share my journey with you, the reader, then I am more likely to stay on target and achieve my goals.

I need you all, the readers, to help me stay honest and keep on track. You can do this by engaging with me on Facebook, Twitter, or by commenting on blog posts on this page. Engagement is the cornerstone of any community, and I call you to be a part of this great one.

Finally, I ran a competition to design a Logo that would be used on a line of Maintain The Rage Merchandise. Below is the winning sketch that will be used turned into a logo to be used on this run of merchandise, the designer has been notified of their success.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Trying and Failing

In recent weeks I have been endeavouring to be more motivated, I have endeavoured to achieve more, I have endeavoured to complete tasks that have been on my mind for a while. I have tried to accomplish a lot of these and failed at most.

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As most of you will be aware, and for those who have not I suggest reading through my Mental Health category of posts, I have been struggling with motivation and achieving the things I used to be able to achieve. I have been attempting to make a conscious effort in do these things. I have been making lists, I have been identifying small tasks that add up to a larger completed task, I have tried to place myself in the right mindset, and I have tried to be my own cheer squad. To some degree these things have worked, I have managed to complete some tasks, I have planned the backyard with my wife, I have organised the back deck to be completed, I have planted some new trees in the front yard, and I have finally weeded the front garden with help from wife. I have also begun house hunting for an investment property, or conversely a larger house for ourselves with our current residence becoming the rental. But in a lot of other ways I have failed, this post for example is over 30 hours late, I still haven’t sorted our study for next semester, I still haven’t completed my online quiz for the short course I took weeks ago, I still haven’t patched the walls where there are cracks, I still haven’t cleaned the current patio area, I still haven’t achieved a lot of jobs that I need to and want to get done. So in that regard I have failed.

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I have also failed myself. I have not been self caring as much as I should be, I have not been as forthright with my work schedule as I should be, and I am not having as much down time as I should be. In all these things I am self sabotaging my own wellbeing, I am falling into old habits and I don’t know how to change them. I want to take more time to relax and unwind with my family but I feel guilty about doing so, I then get anxious I begin to spin the plate with how much is left outstanding and I seem unable to change my own thought processes. Sleep is becoming more difficult again, with my mind wandering or racing for hours after getting home, then either waking up early or sleeping in too much (which then adds to the guilt of wasting the day). I am stuck between the Rock of Achievement and Wall of Self Care. I know I need to achieve both, but can’t seem to correctly balance either. I have achieve some small things, I finally sorted out, cut up, and stored the firewood pile (a job that took just over a year), and I then subsequently took some recharge time and burnt some of said woodpile. I am trying to balance life, but seem to be coming up short.

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This week is not helping my balance, I am currently on day seven of eight, with one day off on Thursday and then another five in a row. I have organised two nights (on my days off) for friends to come over, eat, and sit around the fire, this will be a great unwind that I am actually looking forward to. I now just have to not make it a task by over complicating an otherwise simple evening.

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I am not perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be. I feel some days that my awesome is a little lower than others, and thats OK. Each day I just refocus, try and take control and Maintain my Rage. I take pleasure in the small victories, and vainly attempt to not beat myself up too much over the losses.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Communicating Rage

In a modern world we are all sharing, tweeting, posting, instagramming, and voicing our opinions, but we aren’t really communicating, we are not very good at listening to others opinions, nor communicating what is really important. There are many platitudes regarding communication, communicate well and often, communicate communicate communicate, and effective communication is a two way street. Communication is important in almost every facet of adult life; Work, Relationships, and Parenting.

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In 2017 there is a huge focus on good communication with colleagues and management, there is also a push for improvements in the area of conflict resolution. Many workplace issues, whether among colleagues of with management stem from poor communication. So what can we do about it? Listen. The simple act of listening to not only the words coming from the person but listening to the reason behind them, the tone, the sense of urgency and listen to what they are actually saying, don’t just listen to respond.

Conflict in the workplace is often caused when one individual feels they frequently aren’t being heard. The constant feeling of being ignored bubbles away under the surface of the individual and eventually boil over and results in a incident.

As an Individual you need to ensure that you communicate effectively yourself, keep your messages short, succinct and on point. You also need to be present in the conversation, actively listening to your colleagues, and ensuring that you convey a sense of hearing the message and not just the words.

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Relationships

Divorce, failed relationships and separations are on the rise, not just in Australia, but Globally. Most relationships fail because of bad communication, it may not be immediately apparently the cause but is what it boils down to. When a relationship fails due to money, its normally because the dialogue regarding spending and saving is not well established. The idea of couples growing apart is almost always due to lines of communication breaking down over time, and simply not talking to each other anymore.

We can avoid this by taking time every day to talk with our partners. Talk about our days, about what we have been thinking about, talk about our feelings, what makes us tick, our children and plans for the future. Never stop talking to our partner. My wife and I take the time to talk about our day almost as soon as we get home, we use long drives to plan out the future, every anniversary dinner is a reflection of the year that was and what we can do better. We never stop communicating.

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Parenting

Our children are a blessing from God, they are a perfect reflection of us and their Creator. They are honest, true and innocent. The ugly stuff they learn later. We as parents need to listen more to our children and not be so immediately dismissive. Often what a child says is the truth, lying is a learnt behaviour, but even if the tale they are spinning is filled with deceit, there will sometimes have a grain of truth to them.

We should also tell the truth to our children at all times, for two main benefits, it slows the learning of lying, and it builds trust within our children. My wife and I have decided that our children will not be told stories regarding Santa, the Tooth fairy, or the Easter Bunny, in the interest of being transparent and fostering a trustworthy relationship between us all.

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A brief outline on communication. Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to communicate effectively? Why not share them here in the comments section below.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Stepping Stones

I am a planner; short term, medium term, and long term. I like to know what I am doing next week, next month, next year, and sometimes I pipe dream and try and plan out the next decade. This has lead me to some great situations, experiences and people, and some not so pleasant ones. But, I would still rather have a plan then to stumble around in the dark.

To plan effectively though, each phase has a very deliberate goal associated with it. That is the topic of discussion today. What I consider the important things each phase of planning needs; the Short, the Medium and the Long Term.

Long Term

The Long term for me is anything outside of the 2-3 years of the Medium term. It is generally reserved for broad sweeping strategical plans, like completing a Bachelor of Nursing or securing a job in the Emergency Department. It may also extend to things like additional children, moving locations or selling houses.

The long term is the best place for pipe dreams and crazy plans, like moving to Tasmania, joining the military or leaving it. Its best to plan big in the Long term, and let the Medium and Short term sort out the details.

For me, I use this space to field my crazy ideas, currently finish my Bachelor, work in ED and sort out if I want to sweat for the rest of my life or freeze. So dream big and plan to reach the stars.

The Long term is the large stones we cast in front of us so we have something to aim for.

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Medium Term

The Medium term is a little flexible, it stands, as the name suggests, between the grand ideas of the Long term or the intricate details of the Short term. The medium term needs to be able to put into action the sweeping ideas into practice. As an example, enrolling in my Bachelor which helps fore-fill my long term plan of completing it.

The Medium term needs actionable points, it should set in motion the Long term plan, and allow the Short term to fill in the blanks.

The medium term are the big steps we place along the way so we have somewhere to step along the way to large stones.

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Short Term

I class the Short term as any point between today and 6 months from now. For Scouts I plan a semester ahead, for life the same. In the short term you need the nitty gritty detail; appointments, birthdays, social events, classes, work days and everything in between. The short term needs to factor in everything the medium term and long term has laid out strategically.

The trickiest thing about most short term planning is when it involves other parties. Like my wife. We often need to sit down, synch diaries and work out what each of our worlds is doing. This can lead to negotiations, changes and yes’s becoming no’s. Thankfully we established a while ago a a series of days and rules that help us plan out schedules without having to contact each other directly. For example, every Wednesday night is Scouts, every second Tuesday I donate plasma, and every Thursday night is my sons Venturers. This helps us both our with the Short term.

My suggestion for the Short term; be specific and deliberate about what you want to achieve, tick goals off your Medium and Long term list, and don’t forget others in your planning.

The short term is the smaller stepping stones we need to make the journey a little more comfortable and achievable.

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In life we take each step of our journey, one foot in front of the other, and every now and again we reach a stepping stone, a place marked out along that journey. Sometimes we know its there, sometime we simply stumble upon it. Today I reached a point on my journey where I can see one of my stepping stones. Today I ran out of assessments for my Diploma of Nursing. The only thing left now is five weeks of placement in the acute sector.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Legacy

Last week I discussed Mentorship in my article Walking With where the idea of providing what someone requires to achieve the goal they have set is a kind of Patronage. This week I want to discuss Legacy. If we consider Mentorship as answering the question of How, Legacy is answering the question Why?

Legacy is what and who we leave behind to carry on when we are gone, in both the physical and mortal sense. As a Scout Leader I am imparting my collected knowledge and wisdom onto the Scouts in the hope that they take it with them into their lives and make their worlds a little bit better. As a member of CQUniversity’s SRC I try and leave the University a little better than I found it through culture change, policy changes and initiatives that better the Student Experience for all. As a Father I endeavour to teach, show and guide my children through life in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did, that they go further, do more and achieve their goals, just as my parents did for me.

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The creation of Legacy is less about planning and more about being responsive to the environment you are in. As a parent, the needs of my children change constantly. I can’t plan what they need to make their lives better. I can plan strategically by ensuring that I remain employed, feed them, ensure they receive a good education, and stay safe. But I cannot plan their career, their partners, their lives and where they are going to live. As a SRC member I must be reactive to the needs of the students, I can also be proactive and identify issues before they become problems for the students and the University. The Peer Assisted Study Scheme that I helped develop and implement was birthed from an inherent need the students didn’t know they had. I saw a void in the support structure of the TAFE students and endevoured to fill that void. This, I hope, will leave a lasting legacy on the University and the student body. When a student graduates feeling supported and feels empowered to go further with their study, I can stand tall knowing the legacy I left contributed.

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This whole blog, not just this post, is about Legacy. I share my stories, my life, my journey and my reflections in the hope that others will read them and make positive changes. I know people who have contacted me directly and shared how different posts have pulled them out of a tight spot, or steered their lives into a new direction for the better. That’s why I write, to inspire, to reflect and make real impact on people’s lives.

I encourage everyone to think about their Legacy and what they are leaving behind. If we don’t think of Legacy we are destined to leave either nothing, or worse a negative Legacy that is actually a detriment to the next generation. As a challenge, take a moment this week to reflect on what you are leaving behind and make a concerted effort to change it. Start living life selflessly for the next generation, start the small turns of the ship now before we run aground, make the world of tomorrow better today.

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What did you reflect on? What are you going to change about your legacy? Make a declaration today in the comments section below, who knows maybe your change will help someone else change their Legacy.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Days Gone By

I have been reflecting over the week, and discussing with fellow Nursing Students, some of my previous work history, what it entailed and why I am not still doing some of those jobs. It forced me to look at the jobs in a different light. While I was doing them, I genuinely enjoyed them, then for one reason or another, I stopped enjoying them, I left, and began a different journey.

In this post, I will explain three of my most recent, most intense and most enjoyable jobs that I have been involved in, what I took away from them and why I eventually left. I will talk about my life as a Croupier, my Navy Career and my time as a Not-For-Profit employee.

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The Hand it Dealt me

When I was a little over 18 I started work at the Canberra Casino. The job was amazing. It began with four weeks of full-time unpaid training which taught you the basic games; Blackjack, Money Wheel, Sic-Bo, Canberra Poker and Pontoon. You were also taught mental arithmetic, card dealing, how to chip, stack and organise your table and other various Croupier, the fancy word for a dealer, skills. The job was challenging, rewarding but most of all, paid well. There was one tiny drawback. Everyone was put on as a ‘full-time’ employee and accrued leave, but could work, and did work, 10 – 12 hours shifts, six days a week, on almost permanent night shift.

The average shift would start at 1800 and finish at 0600. This meant, with an average 30 minute drive home, you would be sleeping from about 0800 to 1600. The only time I saw my family was in the morning when I was coming home, and they were getting ready for work. I remember an exchange between my father and I along the lines of;

Me: *Enjoying a beer at the kitchen table after work*

Dad: *Sits at the table with a bowl of Weetbix* Isn’t it a tad early for Beer

Me: Isn’t it a tad late for Weetbix

Dad: Touche

This became my life. Never being in sync with anyone outside of the casino. If I wanted to see my friends on my day off, it was normally for dinner, on a Tuesday or other weeknight, which mean early nights for them as they had sensible hours of work. This lead to some rather unhealthy habits. I spent most of my time hanging out with the others on my shift. Which in its self isn’t a problem, when you have 1 night off a week, you party like its three. Long nights of drinking, partying, going out, eating out all the time because you could afford to. All of this was the problem habits that were developing. You also begin to miss the day walkers you used to hang out with, your friends and your family.

It did however teach me a few valuable skills along the way;

  1. Quick and accurate mental arithmetic
  2. Time management, when you have to sleep during the day and chores or errands revolve around normal opening hours, you get good at managing time
  3. Despite not paying attention to them at the time, what good night shift habits are and how to maintain a sustainable lifestyle
  4. What not to do when on night shift

So despite the pay, I left. I took a 9-5 job with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, and never looked back at the never ending world of night shift. Or so I thought.

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Change of Course

In 2008 I was working of the Department of Defence in the Military Leave and Pay centre which was going to be closed down in early 2009 to create one centralised centre in Newcastle. Knowing my job was on the line, and I had no intention of moving to Newcastle, I decided a change of careers was in order. Since my job at the time was Naval Discharge, that is helping people get out of the Navy, I took the opportunity to discuss with members leaving their role, why they were leaving and if they had any regrets. After many discussions I decided that a Seaman Officer, now Maritime Warfare Officer, was my kind of career. So I applied. At 149kg.

In the next 12 months I completed the requirements to join the Navy, including the monumental task of loosing nearly 50kg to meet the weight restrictions of entrance, I still claim I am too short not too fat, but at 6′ 2″ I don’t think that works too well.

I enjoyed my time in the Navy. I had the excellent opportunity of serving on ANZAC class frigates, Armidale class patrol boats and Collins class submarines. I served in the Port Services office for Western Australia for the last 18 months of my career and organised and facilitated many visits from the American and New Zealand Navy’s. It was a challenging and rewarding career that taught me, among other things;

  1. Leadership; as a Junior officer I was generally given just enough rope to hang myself, but after serving on multiple platforms, at sea, and alongside, I developed my own leadership style that still serves me today
  2. Mateship and the importance of being able to rely on the person standing next to you
  3. Time management; when you are on a 1 in 3 rotation in a day, meaning four hours on watch and 8 hours off, in a  constant rotation, where you still need to complete 8 hours of administration, preparatory and planning work, every day, for weeks and months at a time, you learn how to use your time wisely.
  4. Conflict resolution; not everything goes to plan and sometimes you have to learn how to convince your boss that your idea, is their idea and that its a good one
  5. How full your day can be and still have time for recreation, despite being in the aforementioned routine there was still time to sit down and read, relax or otherwise distract yourself

I eventually left the Navy for several reasons, I got married and the Navy wanted me to be away for 90% of the time over the proceeding years. I found I didn’t have the same zeal for the job as I did when I joined, and I felt that it was time to pursue another career. In ministry to be exact.

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Give back

My journey to ministry, like most peoples, wasn’t, isn’t, and will continue not to be a straight line. When I left the Navy in Western Australia, we moved the some 4000km to Queensland. I felt that was where God had led us, and we had a large amount of family support available. The journey didn’t begin well. We found ourselves a home at Oasis New Life Centre as our Church. We found ourselves a home to live in, and eventually we found ourselves a Job. My wife in education and myself in Deceased Estate Management. Not exactly the direct route to ministry but at least I wasn’t at sea.

After nearly 12 months, the Church offered the position of Manager of their Cafe and Play centre to me. It wasn’t the Pastoral role I was hoping for, but it was working in Church, it was people, it was Ministry. After much prayer the wife a I decided to take the opportunity. It was a hard job. Outside of the long days in the cafe, with preparations, cooking, staffing, stocking, running and 95% of the time being the main barista, I was also the Technical Director for the church and one of the few Sounds Technicians. This coupled with the Senior Pastors drive to do more, be more and impact more, meant that 17 hours days weren’t unusual. In fact, they were the usual. We also worked a 6 day week. So an all too familiar pattern was emerging.

I did, however, learn a lot from my some 18 months working for Oasis;

  1. Watch burnout; though there are times were high intensity is required, it cannot be the normal tempo for the team
  2. Consideration to others; I have always been considerate of others, but I did find myself at times placing task, or frustrations from the upper management onto others, which isn’t fair
  3. More time management; when you had your Golden day off you made the most of it, you spent it with family doing something that recharged you but didn’t feel like a waste of a day
  4. I never wanted to work with young children as a profession ever again
  5. I was not meant, at this point in my life, to be in vocational Ministry, that is being a Pastor full time. I love serving in my Church, I love God but I am not meant to be in that role, yet or at all is to be determined

I originally wasn’t going to leave Oasis as a job, I was originally going to take some leave for a Shoulder operation and return, but in 2016 I had five operations and many an hour laying on my back with my own thoughts, and decided that returning was not on the cards, but instead I was to head to Nursing.Days-Gone-By-4

I am now Studying full-time at CQUniversity for my Diploma of Nursing, which enables my registration as an Enrolled Nurse, and intend on starting my Bachelor of Nursing, which facilitates my registration as a Registered Nurse, in 2018. I volunteer as a Scout leader for Warripari Scout Group, I am a member of the Student Representative Council and Student Participation and Retention Committee for CQUniversity, I write a personal Blog and contribute to CQUni Life and Get Connect Dad. I am most importantly though, a Husband to Alinta and father to 2 beautiful children, Joseph and Darby. Though I don’t know where my life will take me next I have faith that it will not be without lessons, trial and tribulations.

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In each job, or potential career, I learnt something. Sometimes it was what not to do, sometimes what I would do again. This mantra of constant learning and betterment has seen me through a lot of trying times, and has served me well as a Nursing Student. I endeavour to learn something new each and every day, no matter how trivial the fact may seem. I also attempt to share this knowledge with those around me, in the effort of bettering those whose lives we have so little chance to impact.

So that is my story so far. What life lessons have you learnt from finding your place in the world? Are you a one career person or have you also had to try and few different careers to find your fit? Are you still on the journey?

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Speed Bump not a Road Block

I write this post as I stare down the barrel of yet another shoulder operation, number four on the same side, in a long list of nine other medical procedures, totalling 13, that left me staring into the stunningly bright theatre lights. I then begin to think about how easy it would have been to just give up; to think that this is my lot in life, to think that my life is meant to be full of pain and misery.  But thankfully I did not. My faith in God, my friends, my family, and my own perseverance has me sitting comfortably today knowing that this is just another Speed Bump in the Highway of Life, and not in fact a Road Block.

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You are not Alone

A useless adage to those who have been in similar situations, where you find yourself completely useless, helpless, and physically alone for large portions of the day. You seem to receive an abhorrent number of messages and phone calls letting you know that you are not alone, and that people are there for you. But for a fair majority of the time, you are. Everyone is at work, school, daycare, running errands and generally going about their day to day lives, while you may be laid up, on couch, with you leg locked dead straight and not being able to move to go to the bathroom without assistance, let alone make a meal or achieve any housework.  This was my life for nearly 18 months, in one form or another, as I was recovering from a Bilateral Tibial Tubercle Transfer, Dr Google will sort you out. In the early portions of my recovery I was almost completely couch bound, struggling to hobble to the bathroom when required. After a period of about 8 weeks I was granted 15 degrees of bend on my knee, which felt much more after such a period of being locked straight. And so my recovery continued. Once I was ‘fully recovered’ the Doctor then moved from Left knee to my Right, and started the whole process again.  During this time my wife was working full time, my son was at school, my friends were all at sea, and I was left in our West Australian home alone for approximately 10 hours a day. An eternity when cooped up with only a dog for company or conversation. I did however have a lot of time to realise something. Despite all of this seemingly empty time whereby, to the outside observer, I was left with nothing but my own thoughts I was, in fact, never truly alone. Thanks to it being the 21st Century and not 1348AD, I was able to call or FaceTime my parents in Queensland and update them on my recovery and have a chat, I could email my friends at sea and catch up on all the Royal Australian Navy news, I had the entire collection of human knowledge in the palm of my hands, and a personal library that would keep me going for years. So I came to realise, no matter how physically empty the house was, I was never really alone, not if I didn’t want to be.

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Reflect

I have mentioned, once or twice, about reflection and its importance on our mental health, this goes double when you are in the midst of an adverse situation. It is all too easy to be in the middle of a scenario and not be able to see the other side of it, or to see the lesson that could be learnt, or to see how this could one day be of use to you. I know I have, numerous times. Most recently I had the unfortunate pleasure of having my bowel rupture, and if you think that sounds uncomfortable and unpleasant let me assure you, it is. Perforated Diverticulitis for those who’s Google fingers are itching. I was admitted to surgery and spent a further six days in hospital, wound up with a colostomy bag, and a gnarly scar for my efforts. I thought to myself, at some un-godly hour in the morning, How can this be? What am I going to do? What if this is permanent? How am I going to live with these changes? and they were and still are all good questions, some of which were only answered 12 – 18 months later. I took the time I had to consider everything, the what, the how, the why, the when, and really consider how I can make the most of this awful situation. I decided that I would take this as a learning experience, something that I can take with me and add to my book of life and share later on. So I changed my attitude, I asked every question of the staff I could, I watched every procedure I was awake for, I asked about worse case scenarios and best case. I became the worlds best and worst patient all at the same time. As I went through the next six months I would go under the knife twice more and spend another five nights in hospital, and have close to eight ER visits. I ended up with 55cm of scar tissue on my abdomen, muscles that are still rebuilding 12 months later and a cool story to share with all of you. But it has also given me a really powerful insight into abdominal surgery, stomas, recovery and the real day to day, life changing effects that surgery like this can have on a person. And as a nurse, this is going to be amazingly helpful. Did I think that immediately at time, NO, but has it come in handy already? You know it has.

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All things come to an End

The saying usually goes All good things must come to an end but I have found it just as true of the opposite, so now I go with All things come to an End. Just as a broken arm will knit, the movie Titanic will roll credits and the visit to the In-Laws will soon be over, all things come to an end. Recently I was undergoing a Nerve Conduction test to determine the cause of some random arm pains. The test is, to say the least, unpleasant. It went for nearly 30 minutes and basically the technician sends varying strength electrical signals through the nerves in your arms and causes the muscles to involuntarily contract. It is both awkward and painful. But it eventually came to an end, my recent broken arm knitted, my knees healed, my abdomen has mostly healed, the visit to my in-laws ended (I love you guys, you know I do), the Titanic eventually sank and Leonardo Di Caprio let go and sank into the abyss. Everything comes to an end; hang in there, it will pass, you will become stronger for it, and hopefully have a story or two to share.

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These three lessons I learnt are great for transitional issues, injuries, seasons of life, heartbreak, pain, and suffering. Some things won’t pass, and thats ok too. Just remember even though this speed bump may be a long one, if there is no downward side, then its not a speed bump anymore, but a new road for you to travel down.

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30 Lessons Learnt by 30

Well today marks the 30th Anniversary of my Birth, and what a trip it has been. I would like to think that over that time I have learnt some things from the wide and varied mistakes I have made, the careers I have chosen, the people I have met; those who came, those who stayed and those who went home. In the interest of reflection and Maintaining my Rage  I have decided to write down a list of the top 30 life lessons learnt, and hopefully share something with you all that may prevent you from making the same or similar mistakes.

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  1. Your parents are normally right – It may not seem it at the time, it may not seem like it when your working hard and earning a good wicket, but at some point all of those little life lessons that your parents tried to tell you but you were too stubborn to listen and act on at the time, come true. I am now studying at 30, after arguing till I was blue in the face that I never would. Would I have been a good student at 18, 20, 25, probably not. But never the less here I am.
  2. It’s ok to fail – We hear this more and more today as our world continues to spiral into mediocrity, but it does have some truth to it. It is ok to fail, provided you learn the lesson from the failure and strive to not make it again. I know I have tried and failed many things in my journey, but I have taken just as many that will be handy to remember moments as I had don’t do that again lessons.
  3. Never stop learning – I once had a Lieutenant Commander, and if he ever reads this he knows who he is, tell me that the day I stop learning and think I know everything is the day I become dangerous. I have taken those words and attempted to apply them to every facet of my life. I endeavour to learn at least one new thing a day, it may not be pertinent at the time, but every skill gained is a skill possessed.
  4. Rest – In a previous post I made mention of the importance of rest to the mind and the body. I will mention it gain, it is exceptionally important to allow your body to rest to heal and you mind to rest to avoid stress and distraction. You will actually become more efficient if you take some time to yourself instead of flog yourself everyday.
  5. Give back, pay forward and share it around – I once came across a story about a man who worked diligently in a field, and when he took his produce to market and collected his cash he would take it home and bury it under a tree in a box. He had continued with this ritual for many years, until one day he came back to the tree only to discover that the box was empty and he had been robbed. He quickly ran around the town asking the people he saw if they had seen the money or the thief. He then comes across a traveller, who asks him what he lost? The man told him his tale and the traveller laughed. The traveller told him why do you search for something that you never had? The man stared at him puzzled by the question it is mine I earned it he explained, the traveller then tells him the money was never yours, you buried it, hiding it from others and yourself, you never intended on using it, so it was already lost. Stolen or buried the money had the same value. I was struck by message, if we keep everything to ourselves and only sit and enjoy our own pleasures, how can we know true joy of sharing, gifting and paying forward. So give a little once in a while.
  6. Set a priorities list – Everyone should have a priorities list that dictates how they make decisions and govern their world. Mine runs 1) God, 2) My Wife 3) My Family 4) Work, either volunteer or paid 5) Myself. It doesn’t matter whats on your list or in what order, just know what it is and stick to it.
  7. Budget – Create a budget and stick to it. I am on my second house, my son attends a private school, we have a 18 month old daughter who is soon attending early education, if we didn’t have a budget and stick to it, we wouldn’t survive.
  8. Be Yourself – I accepted myself a long time ago, for better or worse, I endeavour to be me in every situation. In todays age there is a push to be better stronger, thinner, fatter, smarter, dumber, faster or even a different colour but be comfortable with who you are, it may just save your life one day.
  9. Take care of your health – This is one of my slowest lessons, I am way too full of bravado and short of being carried off to a hospital in an Ambulance I don’t normally worry. Unfortunately I have had my share of under the knife experiences, 13 to be exact. So I implore you, go to your GP, get a check up once in a while and listen to the advice they give you.
  10. You can’t donate to everyone – These days it always seems like someone has their hand out for money, to save the animals, or children, or medical research, or care flights, or veterans, but you can’t give money to everyone. Not effectively anyway. My advice is pick 3 – 5 charities that you would always give to and stick to them. If you narrow down your charities to a few you can support them better with a more substantial donation, instead of a token gesture. If you find yourself flushed with cash and in a charitable mood, by all means share the love, but remember the ones you have dedicated to.
  11. You’re a Parent not a Friend – Hard lesson this one, our temptation is to be nice to our children, give them what they want, give them more than we had and to create an atmosphere of perfect harmony. But the reality is, they push us, back chat, get in mischief, break things, hit things, and generally play up. So we have to come down on them. If you have spent your parenting time to this point being a friend and not a parent, you will either get nowhere or the child will see you as untrustworthy and therefore, get nowhere in the future. Love your child but don’t try and be their friend.
  12. Know when to say No – I know I have said yes to things at the time and later realised I have already said yes to five other things. We need to know its ok to say no, say no to the overtime if you have a date with your partner, say no to the 27th beer at the pub, say no to the meeting in another state when Skype works just as well. Knowing when to say no is important for yourself and those around you.
  13. Just enough rope – As a father and a Scout leader I can attest to wanting to show kids through everything, to do it for them to save the pain of failure. But I have learnt that it is ok to allow them the experience of failure in a controlled and safe environment. The experience they will gain from giving something a go and failing are immeasurable, and if they succeed they will ride that morale train for months.
  14. Don’t leave things to the last minute – I am a Nursing student, a Scout Leader, sit on two University Committees, a Father and a Husband, I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I also plan everything out. I have the next semesters SRC meetings planned in my diary, Scouts is planned for the Semester, and I average 21 days early for my Nursing assignments.  This gives me ample time to spend with my wife and kids. So don’t put everything off to the last minute hoping that the time spent procrastinating will be worth it, because it won’t, it will just add to your stress.
  15. Milestones – This could be taken many ways, but it all comes down to the same principle, large tasks being broken down into smaller tasks. Your child’s life is a series of milestones; crawling, walking, talking, solids, toileting and a myriad of other wonders. Your work is the same, if you have ever managed a project you’ll know that the project runs; research, development, implementation, evaluation and then back to development. Whatever is going on in your life, if it seems insurmountable, break it down into manageable chunks and deal with those.
  16. Make time for things you love – Whether it’s reading, basejumping or camping make the time for the things you really enjoy to recharge those depleated cells.
  17. Stop and smell the roses – We become so focussed on the destination that we don’t truly appreciate the journey. I remember being on a patrol boat off the North coast of Australia; I was busy, like 20 hour days busy, I was so focussed on the task I didn’t appreciate where I was. It wasn’t till I took five minutes to sit on the back deck after the sun had set and saw the absolute majesty of the night sky that I truly began to appreciate the journey.
  18. Surround yourself with people who build you up – Surrounding yourself with people who encourage you, build you up and sing you praises will get you through the tough times. But…
  19. Don’t surround yourself with yes people – Yes people won’t help you through, they will only let you hear what you want to hear, or what will benefit them, neither will be helpful.
  20. Don’t sweat the little things – Most of the time you cannot control them anyway. The energy you’ll waste on the little thing could be better channeled into your priority areas.
  21. Don’t go to bed angry – Whether single, in a long term relationship or married, don’t go to bed with unresolved anger. It will cause yourself no end of grief and will destroy the relationship in question. My wife and I have a robust debriefing process, when the last member arrives home we discuss each other’s day, our successes and failures and how it makes us feel, we also discuss anything in our relationship that is working or not. If we have had a heated discussion neither of us will sleep until its come to a reslotion. That does leave some nights a little light on for sleep, but it has made a stronger pair in the long run.
  22. Reflect on your relationship – My wife and I often reflect on the year gone by on our anniversary, and again at Christmas. We also think about our parenting and impact on our children on Mothers Day, Fathers Day and our children’s birthday. This constant inwards reflection has made sure we remain united and strong. I would encourage everyone who is in a committed relationship to engage in some kind of reflective practice.
  23. Remember why you are doing the activity – As a Scout leader I endeavour to make my programs fun, adventurous and educational. Sometimes I get the end of a night or a weekend and think it was a complete and utter flop. But when I ask the Scouts what they think, they have learnt heaps, had a ton of fun and got a lot out of it. So I have to remind myself that it’s not about me, or how I perceive the activity, it about who I am there for, and that extends to whatever endeavour we undertake, nursing it’s the Patients, teaching it’s the students, and administration is so the people we work for don’t get sued.
  24. Don’t forget to laugh – With others, at yourself, at a silly joke or something silly. Laughter has been shown to be good for cardiac health by lowering Blood Pressure, reducing Stress and releasing endorphins. Not to mention laughing is contagious, which means you not just going to be feeling better yourself but making someone else feel better at the same time.
  25. Volunteer – Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and share skills and knowledge that you have accumulated with others. I have been Volunteering with Scouts Australia for over 9 months now and every week I get to see the kids grow and develop into the young leaders of tomorrow. I also volunteer at my local Churchfor the past 5 years – giving back to the community that has made my wife and I feel so welcome has been incredibly rewarding.
  26. Everything in Moderation – This should probably caveated with everything legal in moderation, there is no harm to enjoy a glass of red with that big T-Bone for dinner, enjoying some fried chicken on the beach watching the sunset, sobbing into a tub of ice cream while watching Armageddon. The key is to not do it all the time, and ensure you keep life balanced, go for walk, eat a salad, drink more water, and watch Wonder Woman.
  27. Unplug More – I realise the irony of saying to unplug more, as I sit here with my daughter watching ABC Kids while writing this blog on my phone, however, it is important to unplug from our overly connected world. Go camping, fishing, walking, play football, play catch with your kids, volunteer with your local Scout Group, enjoy the outdoors.
  28. Don’t do tomorrow what could be done today – Stop porcrastinating, do that assignment, visit that friend, wash the dishes, clean your room, call your Mum, whatever you have been putting off and claiming I’m too busy, just do it. If we achieved everything we put off, we would have more time to achieve the things we really want to do, like camping, hanging out with friends, fishing, or binge watching Dr. Who.
  29. Spend the time with those you love – Don’t waste the time you have with those you love, spend the time at your Grandfathers 90th, at your nieces 2nd birthday, family reunions, mates’ birthdays or school reunions. The time you spend with them may be the last time you spend time with them. Don’t waste the opportunity.
  30. Love God, Love Others – There is only two real commandments that should govern your life these days, and in the world we live in they are more important then ever. Love God and Love Others. Now, this isn’t to be a Bible Bash, Love God is where you love something other than yourself, something higher, whatever form that takes. For me, that is the God from Bible, my lord and saviour Jesus Christ. As for Love Others, I believe we can all stand to do this a little more. Share a meal with someone, help your neighbour mow the lawn, volunteer at a soup kitchen, be involved in social innovation. Don’t worry about changing the World, just change your community.

There you have it, my 30 Lessons for turning 30. It is in no way an exhaustive list of all the things I have learnt, but for me they are the most important. Do you have a lesson you want to share? Want to discuss any of the above further? Is there a lesson here that you want to hear the story behind? Add a comment below or head to our Connect page and send us an email.

Maintain the Rage,

Luke Sondergeld

Student Voice

For those of you who have read my previous blogs Maintaining My Rage and Controlled Chaos you will know already that I am passionate about leaving the World better than when I found it. I am also passionate about legacy and passing on knowledge to the next generation hence the reason why I am a Scout Leader. But I am also a strong advocate for students at CQUniversity, of both the TAFE and Higher Education persuasion. I believe that all students should have a voice in the way their school is run, what services it provides and ensuring the school (even the local high school) keeps its focus on its students and not the press. That’s why I volunteer my time on the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Student Participation and Retention Committee (SPARC). So to that end I believe that a students voice should be comprised of three things; Advocacy, Reformation and Honesty.

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Advocacy

Advocacy, in all of its forms, is the simple act of providing a voice, and subsequent defence, for someone who does not have one, or cannot be heard. I know this sounds like something from the Oxford Dictionary but it is true. As a nursing student we are taught from day one that we are the advocate for our patients, we are there to stand up for them to other medical staff and to defend them if we believe that a treatment plan for them is inappropriate or unwanted. My belief in advocacy is no different. On the SRC and SPARC my role is to ensure that issues of the student body in relation to campus life, retention, support, tutoring, mentoring, access to equipment, safety, or any other facet of student life is heard, and heard well. Thankfully both the SRC and SPARC either have the ear of members of staff who can effect change or are the body that makes up the majority of the committee. We have been empowered by the University to question, raise concern, hold to account and disagree with the decisions made by the University and propose better solutions for the students. This in turn brings around good change for the students, not just change for change sake, and that is why Advocacy is such an important part of the student voice.

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Reformation

Reformation isn’t just something that the Church went through in the 16th Century after a gentleman nailed his ideas to his bosses door, it is the idea that change, real change, can be made by those who are willing to stand for what is right and true. The idea that women can vote, that those of colour should be born and allowed to be free, that divorce is a thing, same sex couples are not evil, and that a New South Wales supporter doesn’t have two heads, are all reformative ideas. They all took, with the exception of NSW, someone to stand up and voice the concerns for the people, to say This isn’t right!  The student voice is no different, and I am glad that CQUniversity have given such a reformative voice to the SRC. One of my ideas that developed into a project, that is currently going through the costing and budgetary stage, was the idea of students supporting students to pass through the course, the idea of you have to collaborate to graduate. It sounds simple enough, it even sounds like an idea that already exists, but not an idea that is formally supported by Universities, and certainly not in the TAFE sphere. So I pitched it to the SRC. It was met with a wondrous curiosity, that led to many meetings and discussions with many of the staff regarding the who, what, where and how. After these discussions CQUniversity have finally decided on a model which works for them and are now, as previously mentioned, going through the costing and budgetary phase to conduct a two year trial program in the Diploma of Nursing. A student voice that effected reformation.

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Honesty

The student voice does have an obligation to be honest, this does mean that if a particular choice is the best for the student long term, even if not the popular choice, it should be the one chosen. The message to the student body then has to be equally honest. I have been engaging in discussions with a dear friend of mine over the seeming lacking financial support for over 30 year old students. It would appear that if you are under 25, live in a remote or regional area, are of Aboriginal or Tourist Straits descent, or are studying Engineering then the World is your oyster. As for anyone else, you are on your own. After doing some research into unemployment and education statistics it would seem that the support for the aforementioned is well placed and therefore not that unbalanced. Youth unemployment in Australia is at 12.8%, compared to the National Unemployment of 5.5%, and that number has been steadily increasing since its all time low of 7.8% in 2008. This coupled with the increased cost of living, on average 10.84% higher than that of the US not including rent, has meant that more and more support is needed for these groups. But what about the over 30s? According to Australian social research firm McCrindle the over 30s average Australian is 37 years old, employed and earning about $60,330 per year, exercising 3 times per week and sleeping 7 hours a night. So from a statistical point of view not someone who needs a lot of support. And this is where it becomes tricky for anyone who is a position to be heard. You want to support those who have asked for it, or who you perceive to need the assistance, but the reality is, the battles need to be picked or the voice will fall on deaf ears if there isn’t enough data, facts or truth behind the words. So though Honesty may not be the most glamorous or politically beneficial portion of the Student voice it is the most important.

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I hope this either helps people understand the Student Voice a little more and what I strive to do every time I enter a meeting, I also hope this spurs others to step up and use their collective voice for real change. If you have a voice, no matter how small you think it is, or want to share something that you feel needs to be heard, write it in the comments below, alternatively email me on the connect page and lets chat.

Maintain the Rage,

Luke Sondergeld

Scouts – The Journey so far

I have been reflecting a lot on my Nursing Journey to this point and how it has been shaping me and my ideals both professionally and personally. Last weekend I completed the last of my formal training weekends for Scouts which triggered my mind to reflect on the Journey with Scouts thus far. The Journey has been short, but like a hurricane, it has seen much activity and many lessons learnt.

5th October 2016

It was my first night at Scouts as a newly volunteered Leader for Scouts Australia. My local group, Warripari, put out the call to parents for all who had the time and persuasion to volunteer as a leader to come forward… I was it. It started as a chance to assist the two other leaders, spend some extra time with my son who was, and still is, Scout aged, and to share some of my knowledge gained from past lives with the next generation. Little did I know how quickly the Journey would pick up pace.

15 October 2016

My first camp as a leader, I had the grand total of two weeks experience at Scouts and a standing history of Naval officer training; I could tie a series of Navy knots, some of which the Scouts used, but not as many as I liked; navigation was different to what I knew as there where suddenly hills and tracks to be concerned with and not a vast open ocean; the people under my charge where suddenly very young, very curious and not as willing to blindly follow orders as I had experienced… this was going to be a steeper learning curve then expected. I did however, persevere. The camp was a great success, I learnt very quickly that Scouts will have fun regardless of what they are doing and sometimes you have to let them push the boundaries a little in order for that to occur. Its not about completing the task the way it was designed, its about the journey and what was learnt along the way.

4 November 2016

Basic Scout Training for Leaders camp. After many hours slaving away in front of my laptop completing my eLearning modules, and preparing the myriad of attachments required for the course, I was finally ready to attend the camp. I didn’t quite know what to expect upon arrival, but I quickly learnt to be ready for almost everything. One of the first tasks we had to complete was the construction of a Queenslander Tent, which is pictured below.  Now, I had never erected one of these tents previously, I didn’t know what parts were the tent and which weren’t, I had never even seen one of these prior to the camp, this was my first hurdle. Thankfully the training staff where very accommodating and instructed myself and the other course members on how we should construct the tent. First evening of the weekend done, now we can sleep. The next day was filled with construction (now referred to as pioneering), cooking, paperwork, fires, paperwork, safety, paperwork, and discussions on how we can teach our Scouts without making it boring and tedious. Day two squared away. The final day was similar to the second with paperwork and discussions surrounding the Group, how to grow said Group, manage conflict resolution and the like. We dismantled our tent city, packed everything away and following a quick debrief we made our way home. Basic Leadership course, DONE.

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Term 1 2017

The leadership of the Scout Section shrinks from three to two as one of the Leaders moves onto the Venturer unit within the Group. Things get serious. Myself and the other leader have a robust plan of training, teachings and activities that will see the Section develop their skills and become better Scouts for it. For the most part, it worked. We had many a wet night during the term which saw a lot of our activities and plans be changed from awesome outdoor activities to small scale inside activities but we persevered. The Scouts continued to learn, some moved onto Venturers, others moved on completely, we gained some Cubs coming into the Scout section as they became old enough and the section continued. I was learning more and more as a new Scout leader and completing more of the eLearning towards both my Outdoor Skills and Advanced Course. The term went well, no major activities or camps, just lots of lessons to be learnt, for both the Scouts and myself.

Term 2 2017

Its only me… The other leader has taken a Regional position… Three to One… how did this happen…? I was confident in my ability to lead by this point but I am not going to lie, there were times when I look out at the Scouts and think, nobody do anything silly, nobody get themselves hurt, please pay attention and just do what your told. I should have had as much confidence in the Scouts as I did in my self, but I didn’t. Thankfully, they surprised me. The Scouts are resilient, patient, awesome and attentive, sure they’re still kids and have their moments of silliness and inattentiveness but on the whole, awesome. I would complete the Basic Outdoor Skills course on the 28th of May, which highlighted two things, navigation on land is not too different to navigation at sea, and I hate hills. I would also complete my Advanced training, which begins my four months of probation before receiving my Wood Badge and becoming a fully qualified Scout Leader. The Scouts would see two camps and more lessons on their Journey to Pioneer and Adventurer level cords.

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The Journey to this point has been amazing, I have learnt more about myself then I thought I would. I have learnt how resilient the Scouts can be, how much they can learn and grow, how much they really look up to us as Adults (even if we don’t think they do) and how much the Scouts can achieve when they put their minds to it. I originally came into this with the thought of imparting my experiences onto the Scouts, building the leaders of tomorrow and shaping our world. Little did I realise that’s what would happen to me.

Controlled Chaos

I have been requested by a good friend of mine, you know who you are, to write about how I keep everything in order, achieve what I do, structure my day and not fall into a heap by the end of it. I think its prudent to say that I have an amazing and incredibly understanding wife who puts up with more than she should, and for that and plenty more, I love her. But I have developed several key ideals and strategies that I employ everyday to ensure that I can maximise my time, achieve more, and seemly do 30 hours work in 24 hours. As those of you who have read my post Maintaining My Rage are aware I am a Member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) for CQUniversity, a member of the Student Participation and Retention Committee (SPARC), a Nursing Student, a Scout Leader, a Blogger, a stay at home Father and a Husband. Along with normal family and friend engagements and activities. A full plate by anyones standards.

‘Spare Time’

I would love to say that I am so super organised that I have enough spare time to paint, or play music or go to the theatre, but the truth is the ‘spare time’ that I do have I fill. Even the time I am sitting on my couch, a passenger in the car or waiting for my next engagement is filled with something. As a nursing student there is a lot to learn, and it isn’t all contained within the prescribed text books, so a lot of my spare time I am reading journal articles, new techniques, the latest research, or the coolest piece of technology that is going to change our world. If I’m not reading I’m writing, I send more emails between 6pm and midnight then almost any other time of day. My daughter is asleep, my son is asleep, my wife is usually sitting two meters away from me marking assignments or planning her next day, so I write. I inform the parents in the Scout Troop about the upcoming activities, I plan the next term, I organise regional events, I throw ideas to the Deputy Vice Chancellors of the University ways to improve the student experience, I draft policy, and I create change, in short, I don’t stop. My wife used to tell me to get off my phone, as she assumed I was emptily engaging in Social Media, she soon realised that I was always doing something, planning, reading or designing, so now she tells me to ‘Switch Off’, but who has time for that. It should also be noted that most nights I average 4-5 hours sleep, so that helps make some time available. So use your spare time wisely, yes you need rest and the 3Rs but don’t squander the time you have available to you.

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Not enough hours in the day?

Not Procrastinating

Which leads me to procrastinating, in all its forms; coffee, cleaning, odd jobs, sitting, chatting, wandering, napping, socialising, or any other activity that isn’t the one you should be focused on. I feel like every day I am asking my son what takes him so long to get ready in the morning, honestly, it can take nearly 45 minutes for him to shower and get dressed. Now that is some expert level procrastinating. If you are structured, no nonsense and can focus on completing your task well the first time, you will save yourself time in the long run. The is an old saying, If you want something done, give it to a busy person, and there is nothing but the truth in there. If you want to be efficient, “overload” your plate, you will find minutes in the day you didn’t even know existed. No time to read, audio book in the car; no time relax, use your laptop on the couch; not enough time to cook dinner in the afternoon, put a slow cooker meal on the morning before; no time for gym, get up earlier or walk to work. There is secret time all through the day. A great exercise is to document a week, every day and write down what jobs, chores, Facebook, activities, study or whatever else consumes your day. Write it down with a time started, and and time finished, and see where all the time in the day goes, where there is seemingly nothing, and fill it with something. Wait a week or two and do it again. And again and again. I am constantly, formally and informally, assessing my time and where I can and cannot possibly fit anything else in.

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Where does the time go?

Loving what I do

Christian Louboutin once said ‘If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax’, now I’m not normally one to quote a Fashion Designer as part of… well anything really, but he makes a great point, Work doesn’t feel like work if you enjoy it. If you enjoy your work, or extra curricular activities you can recharge from them, I know I feel a great amount of joy from helping others, a great sense of achievement when I see change for good, and it recharges me when I camp and sit around a fire. So for me SRC, SPARC, and Scouts are all rewarding and recharging activities. Sure, the emails, policy, planning, documentation, safety briefings and other mundane activities are a bore, but the rewards at the end are incentive enough for me. You may not be able to achieve the same level of enjoyment out of your activities, and you shouldn’t be discouraged by that, even if you can start by taking one positive, saving grace moment from each day, then after a week, make it two, then three and so on, before you know it everything is enjoyable.

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Sometimes it’s the small victories

Organising my Day, my Week, my Month and even my Year

Though it sounds like a really bad F*R*I*E*N*D*S parody, which was slightly intentional, but it is important to organise your day. I find that begins with breaking down your life into segments. For me I break it down into the following; short term – I work on the period over the next week, medium term – I work in school terms so thats my medium, and long term – the remainder of the year. From that I can split any day into 15 minute blocks and plan it out, travel, packing, meals, meetings, the works. My recommendation is to use a Day-to-a-View diary, this gives you the best coverage and space to plan your day and make notes, the size of the diary itself is whatever works for you. I also recommend finding one with a Monthly and Year planner in it, this helps with the ‘strategic planning’ of the year for big ticket items like camps, holidays, and ANNIVERSARIES! By planning out your day in 15 minute blocks and actually planing out things like travel and meals, you don’t feel like the day is rushed and you find more time to achieve the things you need to get done. This will sometimes mean you will need to rearrange activities to suit better, don’t be afraid of requesting meeting times to be convenient for you, try and avoid doubling back, or visiting the same place more than once if you can, and try and combine meetings at the same location onto the same day to save travelling and preparation time. By organising your day you will also know when to say No.

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Knowing when to say No

So you have mastered you spare time, you have all but eliminated procrastination, you have organised where and when you are going to sneeze, and yet you still don’t have time to fit everything in. Now it is important to know when to say No. This is the hardest skill to learn and the hardest thing to actually do. I am notorious for over filling my plate, double, triple or even quadruple booking myself because of my stubborn natured Yes response.  My suggestion is to alway have your diary near you, either physically on you, or in the car close by, this way when someone asks if you are free, you have a tangible and real idea of how much time you actually have. This also saves on that double booking problem. When to say no, is when you need to prioritise yourself. For me my priorities are;

  1. Family
  2. Work/School
  3. Scouts
  4. Extracurricular for Uni
  5. Myself

Now this may seem a little odd to some, but those are MY priorities, yours will be different, and I expect them to be. Once you have figured out your priorities, stick to them. If something in Number Four is going to impede on Number One time, say No. It is important to do this, it will help with your sanity, it will keep your life in balance, and also help you even handedly distribute your time. This should be caveated with, you have to go to work because you love to eat and have a roof over your head, so you obviously can say No just because your family exists and you would rather stay at home with your partner watching M*A*S*H reruns. Thats where communication comes in.

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Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Almost every marriage counsellor on the face of the planet will tell you that the secret to any great marriage is Communication, unless you are Mark Gungor and then it’s sex AND communication. But this goes for any type of relationship, de facto, friendship, Father-Son, You and your cat, communication will keep everybody happy, and if not happy, at least informed. My wife and I sit down once a week, usually Sunday afternoons, and ‘sync diaries’ we will go through the next week or two, or if something big is in the medium to long term thats new we bring that up. This way we both know what the other is doing, I know when and what to cook for dinner, my wife knows when I am not going to be home and for how long, and most importantly we can make sure that one of us is home for our 18 month old daughter, remembering for us Family is number one. We communicate every hour of every day. We text when things change, when things don’t, when we run out of something, when we fill it up, when we leave, when we arrive and when we are having a struggle with the day. You need to make sure that you communicate, maybe not to the same level as my wife and I on the onset but do communicate. If you don’t know what your significant other is doing, at least in the broader sense, one of you hasn’t communicated enough, and that can include not asking the right questions. Now this isn’t meant to be a sleuthing exercise, you are not trying to micromanage each others lives, but if your not going to be home at 6pm for dinner let your wife know, if you want your husband to buy milk on the way home don’t assume he noticed, drop a text. This will go a very long way to ensuring that the day can run as smoothly as you have planned it, or at least give you a sounding board when it doesn’t.

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I hope this has at least given you a glimpse into how I juggle everything, and Maintain my Rage. If you have any tips, tricks or suggestions for how you manage your schedule write a comment in the section below. If you would like to hear about anything specific, just as this Blog article was requested, jump over to our connection page and fill out the form. I would love to hear from you.

Relocation beats Stagnation

Reading though my Twitter feed this morning and I saw a tweet from Nurse Mike about his recent move and it made me think about all the times I have relocated during my life and the reasons behind them, the opportunities that were made available and the lessons that I learnt about moving, packing, engaging and connecting. My father served in the Australian Army, so as a child I moved a number of times, I then joined the Australian Navy, and moved a whole lot more, following my departure from the Navy I moved from Perth Western Australia to my home now in Rockhampton Queensland, some 4,642 kilometres (2,884 miles for those playing in the USA) across the country. And through the 17 different moves that I have completed through 5 states I have learnt some invaluable lessons and tools around the actual moving process and settling into a new locale.

Pack into Boxes

This may seem like an obvious tip, but after helping move my friends over the years, and myself numerous times, whether across the street or across the country, the advantage to having EVERYTHING in a box is astronomical. When you do a short distance move the temptation is just to throw everything into the car, to not pack things into a box so you save the hassle of unpacking, try and move drawers full, clothes on hangers and I have even seen fishtanks full. The disadvantage of moving this way is you tend to do more trips to and from the new place as everything is an odd shape and in it most vulnerable form. When everything is in a box, almost everything is a square or rectangle making the move so much easier. Think of playing Tetris with nothing but square shapes, now play with six circles, two octagons, a dodecahedron and four triangles. A little harder now. Most boxes will fit in and around larger objects like tables or filing cabinets, funnily enough objects that are also square or rectangular.

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All those hours ‘practising’ weren’t for nothing

Unleash the inner Ikea

The temptation to leave all of that flat pack furniture assembled, including the bed, bookcases, and coffee table is immense. No body likes Allen keys, and nobody likes assembling furniture when the instructions either went the way of the Dodo or are written in Ancient Hebrew. There are some items that can make life easier, they include a hex shaped drill bit or screwdriver with hex bit attachments, it will save the ‘Ikea Hands’ by the end of the day and speed the whole job up. If you are slightly handy, and have an angle grinder, you can also make you own by cutting of the angled portion of the Allen key and using it in your drill. The reason for disassembling your furniture is two fold, firstly it removes unnecessary space from the back of the van or truck, and secondly lessens the possibility of damage by the item of furniture taking a load or falling when moving.

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Some things can stay as a flat pack

Clean and Sort before the move

Sometimes moves are unexpected, quick or unplanned, but that doesn’t mean that the time cannot be taken to clean furniture as it is moved, and things cannot be sorted prior to being packed. Remember if you pack it, you have to move it. So moving is a great time to perform a ‘spring clean’ and donate or throw out some of those things you have been hanging onto since Keating was in power. The advantage of cleaning your furniture before you move is you tend to enter a house that is reasonably clean, if you bring in clean furniture it saves having to ‘double clean’, that is both the house you left and the house you are entering. Think of a move as a Dirty Room and a Clean Room in a Hospital. By decluttering your belongings you have to move less, save space, give the less fortunate clothes for the winter and help others out with your donations.

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Good chance to clean out that ‘Spare Room’

Moving can be an Opportunity

Most of my moves have been a requirement of either my fathers or my work, but the ones we conducted voluntarily were for family and opportunity. When I left the Navy in 2014 the employment prospects in Perth were low for someone who was not a tradesman willing to work in the mines, Rockhampton however was still flush with opportunities of many varying types. Being a regional centre the health sector, education sector and Government sector were all short of staff. So my wife and I decided to make the move to be closer to family for support, and to increase employment prospects. It would take time to make the opportunities come to fruition by my wife secure full time employment with a local private school and I began working with a Government agency. Time would go on and circumstances changed, I took up the opportunity to study Nursing with CQUniversity and changed my careers direction, and stayed home to look after our youngest daughter. Without the move to Rockhampton neither opportunity would have presented itself for my wife or I. Sometimes you have to move, close one door, so another can open.

Connecting with the Community

One of the hardest things to do after a move is connect with the locals and find a new circle of friends, for some this comes easy and for others a little more difficult. It is important to connect with those in the region and build a sense of community, it will be good for your mental health in the long run. As Christians we found the ability to connect easy as we could connect through the local Church, that worked for us but doesn’t work for everyone. I would recommend making yourself available, check out the local groups who meet in the area. If you like playing boardgames connect with the local club, if its lawn bowls then go a watch some games and connect in, golf, tennis, scrabble, bingo, canasta, whatever the hobby or activity you enjoy find those of like mind and seek them out.

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Hard work, but it pays off

Moving can be hard work, connecting even harder, but if we step out and take the opportunities when they present themselves who knows what we can achieve. Do you have some other tips from what has been mentioned here? Stories of when you moved for a change or opportunity? Tells us about it in the comments sections below, or email me from the Connection page.

#3Rs – Reflect, Relax and Recharge

This week in the Twitter-sphere I have been focussing on my Three R’s for Rest; Reflection, Relaxation and Recharging. I believe that these three things are necessary for longevity and sustainability in any endeavour. Maintaining Your Rage, if you will. I know I am guilty of burning the candles from ends myself, but thankfully I have an amazing wife Alinta who reminds me to stop when I forget. In my daily life I am a Nursing Student at CQUniversity, a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC), a member of the Student Participation and Retention Committee (SPARC), a Scout Leader with the Warripari Scout Group, a Blogger, a Father to two beautiful children, and last but definitely not least a Husband.

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My life from time to time

Reflect

I feel that reflection on your activities is a fantastic way of learning more out of a situation then you may have normally, a way to work through a difficult decision made by you or one that effects you, and a great way to evaluate anything you have been a part of, whether a meeting, an activity a camp or otherwise. To that end I find this Blog has been a great way to reflect on my life, studies, practices and events. However, you may find journalling, talking to a loved one, Vlogging or even Tweeting your thoughts (constructively) can all be great ways to reflect. By reflecting we look at ourselves from the outside in, see how other people perceive us, our actions and our intentions. We can continue to grow and develop, and when it comes to reflecting for the benefit of Rest, it becomes a brilliant way to resolve issues, thoughts and concerns in a healthy and productive manner that allows you to Relax.

Relax

We all relax in different ways, some read, some write, some binge watch Pretty Little Liars, some camp and some people run. Whatever your way to relax is you need to make time for it, actually schedule time to stop and take part in the activity you  relax best with. In reality that might mean putting a pause on your assessment paper, or latest blog post, and taking the 30 minutes to go for that run. It may initially seem like a waste of time, stopping your activity to do something that relaxes you, but studies have shown that when we take time to relax we become more efficient and effective at tasks. I tend to spend my time relaxing with friends and family either playing board games or watching movies, but a nice long camp with a fire relaxes my soul, and recharges me.

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Relaxing is important, however you do it

Recharge

At the end of a long day we all tend to place our phones on charge so that at the start of the day our phones are fully charged and ready to go, however, when it comes to ourselves we tend to be content with running down to 1% and then seeing how long we will last for before ‘powering down’. We need to treat ourselves with the same care as some of us do with our phones and ensure we remain at 100% more often. If you have Reflected on you day, your week or even the meeting you just finished, you should then be trying to Relax, whether hammering the Gym or Reading a book, you then need to Recharge. This can be done in a number of ways, some people like to meditate, some pray and spend time in God’s presence, some get Recharged by doing other activities. I get my Recharge from Camping and spending time with God. It may seem odd, but sleeping on a thin foam mat, in the cold, eating rehydrated foods and not showering for a couple of days is the best way to recharge my battery. But if I have had an intensely emotionally draining week, spending time with my local Church family with God and just being in His presence is the best recharge for the mind.

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Sitting around a fire is my Recharge Station

Whatever you find comfortable make sure you take the time to Reflect, Relax and Recharge, it may make the difference between succeeding in the latest project you are working on, loosening the fingers to let you finish that book you have been stuck on, or refresh the mind so you can pass the exam you’ve been stressing over.

Do you have a favourite way to follow the #3Rs? Write it in the comment section below. Know someone who could benefit from this, or any other of the posts you’ve seen? Don’t forget to share them on your preferred Social Media using the buttons below. You can also follow this blog via email so you can be notified when I write again.

 

Maintaining My Rage

The idea behind Maintain the Rage originated with Gough Whitlam, an Australian Prime Minister who famously said in 1975 “God save the Queen, because nothing can save the Governor General”. He would go onto to say “Maintain your rage and enthusiasm through the campaign for the election now to be held and until polling day.” in which Gough Whitlam conferred to the Australian People that they should keep their interest, their tenacity, their fire until the election campaign came to a end on polling day, to put an end to the nine term streak that the Australian Liberal party had wrought on the Country.

My sentiment towards Mr. Whitlam is not that of political support, but rather his passion, his drive and dare I say it his perspicacity. I endeavoured to harness these qualities and apply them to my own life. I adopted the saying “Maintain the Rage” as a sort of sign off for my posts to fellow Nursing Students, as a pick me up when something had gone awry, and as an encouragement to others to “Maintain their Rage”.

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My Broken Arm in early Semester 1 2017

I have been studying for my Diploma of Nursing since June 2016, there have been many times I needed to remind myself to Maintain my Rage.  My journey to Nursing needed plenty of reminding.  At the beginning of 2016 I had ruptured diverticulitis, for those not in the know a snappy Dr Google search will sort you out, which meant an extended stay in hospital and the need to use a Colostomy bag for a period of 6 months, again Dr Google.  During this time I had no less than eight ER visits, five of which required at least an overnight stay, two more operations bringing the total operating theatre time to 13 Hours and over 55cm of scar tissue on my abdomen.  Though this time was tough physically, mentally and emotionally, it did provide me with ample time to consider my journey and where I was headed.

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Some times in the Navy were easier than others

I reflected on my time so far, my goals, my ambition and their central theme, Service. I served in the Royal Australian Navy for five years as a Junior Officer, I served in Hospitality for over seven years, I served for over five years in my local church, I still serve as a Scout Leader for Warripari Scout Group here in QLD.  I began to reflect on what my purpose was, what it all had been leading to.  I have always had a fascination with the Medical field, but could never justify the 10 years of Medical School, besides most Doctors don’t spend enough time with the patients for my liking, and thats not what I wanted.  I then thought about all the Nurses who helped me during my times of need, the service they provided, their knowledge and prowess. Bingo, my purpose. I enrolled at CQUniversity for the mid year intake in their Diploma of Nursing Program, 18 Months, end of 2017 and I will be a Qualified Enrolled Nurse.  I had found the way to Maintain my Rage.

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Decision made

Now I do everything I can to Maintain my Rage, and to fuel the Rage in others. I serve on the Student Representative Council, the Student Participation and Retention Committee, and I am a strong advocate of leaving everywhere you go better than when you found it. I am spearheading a Peer Support Program for other Diploma Students so that they can be assisted with Maintaining their Rage, and getting through the course of their choice, I personally support and assist student who request assistance, and even some who don’t. Thats the kind of passion you need, the cause in life, the legacy in which you will leave behind.

So thats the overview of the story so far, this blog is not going to be selling a product, service, or ideal.  It will be stories and ideas from my life, that helped or hindered me, that help me Maintain My Rage.