Saturday, 21 July 2012

Live Now

Today I happened to come across this speech that I originally wrote in either 2003 or 2004. To be honest it was one of the best speeches I did at Toastmasters - and I can probably safely say that it was probably the one I put most effort into. I thought I would share it here, because as of late, this blog has just become a list of stuff I have been up to, not particularly interesting or profound stuff - but then if I was any more honest, I would probably be spilling out my broken heart to you all, and that probably isn't great reading either.

I'm not sure where I fit on the scale at the moment - as I think I have been pretty good in recent years just doing it, possibly to the detrement of  my career and moving forward. Anyway, may be this will inspire someone.
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.

Good evening fellow toastmasters, contest chair, judges, and distinguished guests.

TIME - Too often we take it for granted, we will do something tommorrow, we will get around to it at some stage, or “One day it will happen”.

Something you probably don’t know about me is that – I grew up in a place called Naike - a small rural community out west of Huntly in the mighty Waikato.

At high school, when asked where Naike was, my friend & I would jokingly reply “next to Reebok”. However it is spelt different from the shoe brand. Despite this minor detail, I like the shoe brand’s slogan “JUST DO IT”, and tonight this is what my speech will be about.

Several years ago now there was a CanTeen ad on TV that ends with the point that the one thing worst than getting old is not getting old?

Unfortunately it is a sad fact. We won’t all live to be 70 or 80. We may die tomorrow, or 2 years from now, or when we are 45. This fact hit me the hardest 8 years ago, when one of my childhood friends died in an avalanche, a month before he was going to turn 19. It simply hurts to think that he didn’t even get to celebrate his 21st, he will never get married, he won’t have children, and he won’t get to develop a successful career – because he is dead. What I can take comfort in is that he lived a 19 years to the full – he didn’t hold himself back, he gave everything a go, adventure was his middle name – Unfortunately his sense of adventure on this occasion lead to the mistake of getting caught in an avalanche while snowboarding – but at least he died doing something he enjoyed.

Something I had been guilty of was putting my life on hold. I had lived by the theory that when I finished high school things would be so much cooler – and I would have heaps of free time to do all the things that I had put off.

Then I discovered that Tertiary education was actually quite full-on, and that I didn’t “have the time” – but no worries I thought, when I get a job I will have heaps of free time and also an income to use.

Fate of course drew me another cruel blow, and 5 months after Graduating I found myself back at tech, on top of working a full time job. My mistake was not making time. What if it was me that had died? I spent a good 10 years of my life pretty much not enjoying it, and possibly not achieving much more than an education.

Think about this. And remember that Time waits for no one. You should treasure every moment you have.

So what is there to gain? As much as it is a clich̩ Рit is true NO REGRETS.

There must be nothing worst than looking back on life, and realising how little you have achieved, or how little you have done. On the other hand, think of the contentment you would feel knowing you had done your best, achieved your goals, and made your mark – and enjoyed it. Old age is a time when you should be living on the fruits of your youthful successes, and not getting bitter and twisted because of your regrets.

Similarly, if you still have things left undone, there is no time like the present. I like the saying “it ain’t over till it’s over.” - Don’t let age, or any other barrier hold you back. Remember also that if there is something fun, do it today rather than leaving it until tommorrow – because if you like it today you can do it again tomorrow.

I was listening to a tape not long ago, and there was a 68-year-old lady who decided to do a degree at University. Her friends told her that she was silly, because it would take three years, and she would be at least 70 before she would finish it. Her reply was “well in three years I’ll be 70 anyway…”

Don’t you love that attitude? She lived and did, rather than just existed for those 3 years.

Like the Nike saying “Just do it”. Don’t let fear get in your way. A lot of lives are limited because of fears.

Fears of failure. Fears of rejection. Fears of enclosed spaces, spiders, or heights.

Some people choose to live within their boundaries, whereas others climb over them. A good portion of us here may’ve started coming to toastmasters because we had a fear of public speaking.

If so, congratulations, you have taken the first step of jumping out of your comfort zone.

Fears are enemies to your life. They are preventing you from being what you could be – and from what you could give the world.

Lets face it, you may not always be successful, you may not achieve as much as Edmund Hillary, but in the end you are only competing with yourself.

Tonight’s Thomasism is “If you’re going down – go down with both guns blazing”. Basically what I mean by that is, that you may be struggling, but give it everything until you hit the ground, and that way you may succeed, but giving up means definitely failing.

So, Congratulations everyone – by being here you are one step closer to bettering your life

To finish tonight’s speech, I want you to go away with this:

Life is not defined by how many moments you live, rather the moments that take your breath away. You may not get as many moments as you think you will, so make them count.

M.I.A. in the B.O.P.

So last you heard was me at mum and dads work. I ended up helping out there for most days of 2.5 weeks. I had an interview in that time. One day Dad and I did some deliveries to Tokoroa, another day I went with him to Whangamata where he was sales repping. That was quite nice, he showed me the Waihi mine - a huge hole in the ground, probably the best part of a kilometre deep. We also went to Opoutere .

One night I went to the Trade day at Gilmours - unfortunately I was too late for the freebies.

However, I happened to stop next to a Zm truck one day and got some freebies - soup mixs and tissues and a ticket to the premier of Rock of Ages at the movies- pretty cool, funny and well done.

I also went to the Field days again, which was interesting again. On the way home I stopped at the Scottish shop in Melville and picked up a McDonald crest badge.

On the 18th of June I started another temporary assignment - this time at Familyworks, at Mt Maunganui. As it happens, I had only recently dropped into my agency (Kelly Services) to ask if they had any work coming in, my agent mentioned something about some in Tauranga, so I mentioned that I would keen for work in Tauranga if any came up, as I could always stay at our house in Papamoa. So I have been here for about a month now, and have a couple of weeks to go.

The first week I was here, I went to The Dictator at the movies, - which was good - and not too cringe worthy, like Borat, and especially Bruno were. That weekend I came back to Hamilton and went to a YouTube night, and caught up with Scott who is back from Kuwait. Suzanne and Bevan came home from their trip also.

The next weekend I came home as well, and went to see Dads Army at the Riverlea theatre (where I was in Don Quixote earlier this year. The acting was good, but it ended up dragging a little, probably because I wasn't so familiar with the show.

On the Wednesday I caught up with my mate Baz and watched a DVD. We were going to have a couple of Pizzas for dinner, but Baz told me Pak'N'Save was having their trade day - so I went down and checked it out - and they were very generous with their samples - I got 3 sausages, amongst some soup, cheese and cracker samples.

The weekend after that I went to Flight of the Conchords on the Friday night - I had to leave work early and drive up to Auckland - I hadn't realised until I researched it how far it is to Auckland from Tauranga - I had always just assumed it was a similar distance as it is to Hamilton, instead it is double that - which is probably why the couple of times I have done that trip that it feels it takes forever - it is actually because it is forever. Anyhow, they were great - not as exciting as when I saw them in London at the Wembley Arena, but still good. I particularly liked their rendition of I'm Not Crying - they had a guy accompanying them on a viola, so instead of being humorous, it was genuinely sad.

The following Thursday night I decided to walk around the Mount to wear in my new hiking shoes (one Sunday a few weeks before-hand I had gotten frustrated with my lack of waterproof and decent shoes, so I went and spent $600 on 5 pairs of shoes - 2 x work shoes, 1 pair of hiking shoes, 1 x gym/running shoes, and 1 pair of skate shoes - this has then led me to discard old holey socks, because if I don't it will just ruin the shoes, which in turn will ruin more socks...) Unfortunately by the time I got down there it was quite dark, however I did it - the first time in 3 years, I realised. On the way home I stopped at Pizza Hut and picked up a couple of $4.90 pizzas, and then dropped in to watch some of the Boxing at the Pap tavern. Seems as though people were drunk before they got there looking at the parking.

On the Friday I decided I would have a night in Tauranga as I wasn't going home. I also worked out it was half the price (and far more convenient) to book a night in a hostel rather than catching a bus and then a cab back to Papamoa.

The next morning I got up, and went and had a Wendy's breakfast and headed to the Karangahake Gorge. For forever I have had it on my list of things to do. I got there at 11.30, grabbed some quick lunch at the Waitoa railway station, and then just started walking. At the start of the walk was some buildings related to gold mining - kilns etc, and a museum, so I checked them out. Anyhow, I kept on, it seemed to take forever before I got to the tunnel through the hill - but it was worth it - the tunnel was really long and came out further along the gorge. The return walk didn't seem to drag as much which was good. All up I would have walked 14kms, not a bad effort. I texted my Uncle on the way back, as I would be passing where they would staying - so I ended up having dinner with my cousins which was nice - and rather entertaining, especially as they are now teenagers and wind their parents up like me and my sister to do ours, and as you can imagine - get similar reactions "You are just showing off because XYZ is here".

The following weekend Mum & Dad came to stay over here which was a nice change.

Tuesday I went to the movies again and saw Ted. Good, but not laugh-a-minute.

Friday I went to see Raybon Kan perform (stand-up) in Tauranga. He was good, but he started off badly I thought - I think he wanted to theme his show attacking religion, but didn't get the positive reaction he was hoping for, so he had to change tact. Near the very end he was getting good, but then it finished.

Today (Saturday 21/7/12) I just did Rock'N'Roll things like doing the washing, and sorting out my stamp collection - not a five-minute job unfortunately.