Gratitudes for 2016

They say all business is personal. LinkedIn is a tool for networking, for making connections. Real, worthwhile relationships – including business ones – are made between humans. And our LinkedIn profile is just the tip of our human iceberg.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward.

So here is some of my iceberg of gratitude for 2016.

I sit in the ‘sun’ room (I use that term loosely), two days into 2017. A time for reflection on the year that has been. Last January, I wrote a letter to myself from 2016 promising challenge that would carve our characters. She delivered in spades. I am proud of all of us. But mostly grateful. It’s an appropriate time to reflect on the challenges, how we overcame them and to express my gratitude to the people who have inspired me to be better than I thought I could.

  • To Anne-Marie – for being you. Unflappable, the personification of love. Moving a family to another country has no chance if you’re not a team. We still have a chance. If you are lucky enough to know someone who supports and loves you unconditionally, then treasure every one – wherever they are. Invest in them.

There are spaces in our fingers so that another persons’ can fit between them.

  • To our children for reminding me you can only be happy right now – not in the past nor in the future. As we continue to re-adjust to Ireland, it is simple and reassuring to know that the only time to be happy is this moment. To Ava, for always caring for your siblings and cousins. To Erin for reminding us to look after the less fortunate – at a time which, although beautiful, we found a little excessive. To JJ, for reminding me about jigsaws and not caring what you look like when you dance.
  • To my folks for, well, I don’t think we have time do we? I realise now the energy needed to be a good parent – passing on lessons and values to help your children. Without your character I wouldn’t be here. I can never say it enough – I love you. To my siblings and relatives, thanks for keeping the rope turning while we were away. (Let’s skip!)
  • To my old pal Andre, for making it seem like we never emigrated, for reassuring us that we’re in the right place and that it’s OK to feel unsettled. Better than knowledge, you have wisdom. To my old Sydney friend, Ken for the “hug that will last a lifetime” and for reminding me to always be positive and grateful.
  • To Australia, for being a great place to become yourself, make lifelong friends and take opportunities aplenty to work, learn and grow. I will always love you but I need to look forward now.
  • To Ireland and her people, for welcoming us with open arms – mostly. And for providing challenges we anticipated and some we didn’t. Our characters are being carved.
  • To Ciara at the Irish Times, for coffee – and the opportunity for myself and other emigrants to travel together and to share our stories along the way. This world needs more feeling, stories and real connection.
  • To the coaches at Performance Therapy Ireland and to Sarah M. for helping me replace some of my Australian lifestyle habits with new ones – and teaching me to get comfortable with uncomfortable.
  • To Ergo Services, Fingal LEO and Fáilte Ireland for re-introducing me to education, work and contribution in Ireland – so important for well-being and security. Welcome Ireland indeed!
  • To the people I worked with or met who inspired me this year – you know who you are Brenda, Ian, Damien, Eamonn, Tony, Andy, Bob.
  • To Zeminar, for allowing me to play a tiny part contributing to the wellbeing of Irish people. It helps to be part of something bigger, to get some perspective and remind me how lucky I am.
  • To the Wild Geese of Malahide – that hardy group of ocean swimmers at Low Rock. For living on the sunny side with the right attitude in the face of – frankly – terrible swimming weather!
  • To the group who, in January, took the initiative to invest in themselves and Kickstart the year in fine style, thank you. You don’t realise what you’ve started.

2016 was a tough year but one to be proud of. Perhaps they go hand-in-hand. A final thanks to my fellow life navigators from all parts of the world who shared your feelings and experiences. I tried to reply personally mostly or through my articles. It is good to know that, while we all struggle on our climbs, we can see fellow climbers all around. As my Dad often says ‘no point in reaching the top, if you’ve nobody to enjoy the view with.

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