2007 — The Year That Was

Late October 1971 in the New York studios of Record Plant, Producer Phil Spector was tasked with cutting the tracks on an album that contained these lyrics –

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

This was the work of a relatively obscure singer/song writer who, up until that time, was more famous for the band he was part of rather than his lyrical qualities. You may of heard of him — John Lennon. History now tells us these 4 lines were the basis of one of the best known and highest selling songs of all time, not bad for an anti–Vietnam war protest song.

Now…… back to reality. Every year I hear the song, I am drawn to the same four lines of song – especially the second line, and with that, I will dispense with my annual edict forthwith:

2007 has been run and won, 2008 has left the starters block, so what's all the fuss all about anyways ya reckon? It seems to me that the 1st day of the new year is a time of reflection, all be it the manner in which I reflect has changed considerably over the years –

30 years ago I was just getting bored with my Christmas presents and proceeded to ambush my two brothers toys.
20 years ago I was reflecting on what, who or why I did the previous night.
10 years ago was wondering if a career/country/environment move was a good thing.
New Years now means a look back on where I've been and where I may be headed.

I have a saying that I like to use all the time "They make rear–view mirrors that size for a reason". In a nutshell, it's my of saying you've got to keep yourself looking ahead and only sneak glances behind you to see where you've been and what's going on around you. By no means is this going to be a some kind of morbid "Dear Diary" entry, more like I had a bit going on this past year and we'll see what happens this year. In that vein, I'll see if I can break the year down to see what 2007 was all about.

The year started out with me not only suffering the effects from a C6 vertebrae spinal chord concussion, but two weeks later and I was nursing an infected hand from driving an inch and a half (65mm) spade bit in to the palm of my left hand. Aside from the obvious 50 percent reduction in my sex life, the transition from holidaying the previous month in tropical Australia and coastal new Zealand, to the sub–zero temperatures in Boise was making my neck ache like a blue–balled Prom date. The month was also spent packing up all the goods & chattels in preparation to my move back to Australia.

All the packing and goodbyes were done before jetting off to Tahiti for a couple of weeks. A little thawing out from the US Winter with a little R&R was in order after the hard graft of moving. Air New Zealand has Tahiti as a free stopover when crossing the Pacific, but as the saying goes – be careful of anything that is free as there are usually costs associated with it. Truth be told, Tahiti is a beautiful island nation, but it is ungodly and unreasonably expensive across the board.

A couple of great mates, Soni & Fluxy, put me up at the "Walkabout" room while I sort out what I'm doing, a gesture I am forever grateful and indebted for. The 55,000 litre "bathtub" is going to get a major work out, as it's hotter than a bride on her wedding night – and it's only f@ck!ng Winter, wait 'til it heats up. I also experienced my own March Madness, of sorts. I ran head on into narrow minded bureaucracy with all manner of pencil necks berating me on "this form" and "that documentation" and "so & so representative" in anything I tried to accomplish. Buying my ute, registering my car and insuring it, health care card, telephones, bank accounts, moving my belongings from the States. You name it, if it had a form and a fee – I was fingered like yesterday's fish.

Could this be career development month? My fledgling career within a government entity lasted the princely sum total of 16 hours, due primarily to boredom. It's against everything that I am as a person, to simply just rock up to collect a pay check. Within 4 hours at the employ of Queensland Health – Department of Information Technology was near enough to slobbering at the mouth in a rubber room. I scored another job with a financial mob which appeared to be a vibrant and bustling environment that seemed to be just the challenge I was looking for

I knew that my tenure was going to very brief when the purchase of a corporate jet took more precedence than the desperately required IT infrastructure. For absolutely no other reason than renewing my Green Card, I decided to head off to the sunnier climes of Boise, Idaho to ride my Harley around for a while. Seeing as it was also winter in Townsville, admittedly it was board–shorts weather day or night, but who could resist? A hog, some sun, the wind in your hair and the splattered faecal type impacted matter of kamikaze insects on your teeth is the thing legends are made of – apparently.

I got stuck in and helped out Gump with some building stuff, up at his cabin in the woods near Sechesh, Idaho. It was only a couple of hours North of Boise, but what a beautiful spot. While I was in the mood, why not help out my good mates Ian & Jax with bit of a spruce up of their offices in Meridian. Why not stud a wall or two, replace the siding and apply some final trim while I was at it? Hey I was their humble house guest after all.

The reality/soul searching check, that was 8 weeks in the U.S., had come to a close and it was time to head back to Townsville. Unfortunately I wasn't any closer to being 100% behind my move back to Australia, but I knew that I wanted out of Idaho and could not find that "idyllic" location in which to grow old disgracefully in. Will it be a decision I will come to regret? Only time will tell. I'll have a hell of a lot of fun in the interim though.

As hard as I tried not to, it was simply a fiscal matter that saw me returning to the corporate fold, by taking up an IT position with another multi–national entity. Fly in/fly out basis looks to be the best of both world for me, as I was looking to either build a house myself or renovate a distressed property. I was also honoured to be invited to Sianne's 18th birthday, so I drove the 2902 kilometers (1803 miles) round trip just to say G'day.

of mates, Rab, who I grew up with was a couple of months away from is 40th and in the midst of building his own house. It was decided to have a fair dinkum go and try and get as much of the house done, before his surprise 40th birthday in November. This was also the start of my looking at the real estate ads in order to gauge what you could expect to pay for a house or a bare bit of dirt.

Pretty much it was all arses & elbows in trying to get Rab & Lisa's place done prior to his birthday. There was also fair bit of sneaking around trying to organize everything for the 40th without him knowing it.

What good night Rab's 40th turned out to be. People came from near and far to blow the froth of a couple of coldies with him. The house looked pretty smick and it was a good thing as we'd accomplished a fair bit in a short time. The house hunting continued in earnest. As the search went on, we were all shocked at some of the prices being asked for house that, in all reality, should have been demolished.

A couple of offers, several false starts and over 50 open houses later, I was finally able to purchase my first Australian property. Ironically, all the paperwork was signed, sealed and delivered on the second–last business day of the year. We also managed to get a kitchen remodel done on another mates place in the process.

By any measurement, 2007 has been a pretty full–on year in so many ways – physically, financially, socially and emotionally. I don’t believe in making New Years resolutions, but I will go on the record to state that I hope 2008 turns into a year in which I take a deep enough breath in order to consolidate and take stock of what I have, where I've been and where I want to go on this journey called life.

How did your year go? Try not to check the rear–view mirrors too much ;–)

Stay Happy ;–)