I used to hate Australia - I thought it was "boring" and it "sucked".
As I am now older and my mind completely changed, I realise that hatred was just a projection of the insecurities and discomfort I had with people.
Travelling to many places around the world - USA, Europe, Asia - I see now that Australia is one of the most blessed places on Earth.
It's not something I take for granted anymore - I'm extremely grateful to this wonderful country.
What am I grateful for the most?
Sublime beauty - endless deserts, surrounded completely by a pristine coastlines, subtlety of bush wildflowers, uniqueness of the animals and wildlife!
Near perfect weather - I'm in Brisbane and I absolutely LOVE the summer rains. The weather on the whole is so pristine, all around the country.
Safety - sure, there's crime, but on the whole, I have no fear of being gunned down or wars.
Beautiful and generous people - on the whole, I love the generosity of Australians and their willingness to want to help and do things together.
Education system - wonderful teachers and schools, TAFE and world class Universities
Prosperous - some of the best paying jobs in the world, where it's difficult to go hungry if you just put your mind to it.
Presence on the world stage - for a small population, our sportsman, musicians, scientists, and artists are elite and always competing on the world, and our soliders are some of the most respected on the planet.
Government support - Centrelink and Medicare are amazing. Yes, people take advantage of it, but having been a recipient of Centrelink myself, this is something I'm extremely grateful for and will give back in spades.
Infrastructure- shopping centres, gyms, restaurants, entertainment, sports, roads, cycle paths, footpath, all first class.
Fair tax system - yes, it's not perfect, but the way it helps equalize wealth fairly is a marvel to me.
Secularism and multiculturalism - religion doesn't dominate society, nr does any one way of life, making for a beautiful blend of many cultures.
All of this allows us the freedom of mind to do as we please! We have the time and capacity to be able to contemplate, innovate and make the world a better place.
In many ways, we're the envy of the world, so it's important to be grateful for all that we have!
But what could be improved?
I don't want this to be negative, but there's always things we can improve, and I think it's important to be aware of it so we can reflect on it and consciously try to improve.
Let's make one thing clear - to be born here, is not something I did. It was by the grace of the Universe that I was blessed enough to have been born into such fortunate conditions.
I no longer take this for granted and it's a way of life I just want to share with everyone.
But I'm not in the majority here, and I'd be considered "left leaning", but I try to keep my opinions measured these days as I know it's just 1 side of the same coin.
Indigenous Australians - what a beautiful culture! But so misunderstood.... As a whole the society is trying to unite and embrace all, but even on Australia Day, something as simple as changing the date has such widespread opinions and spews out so much dark opinions, it's sad to watch. I see both sides of the argument.... The problem lies in the opinions themselves.
Conservative - we have so much potential to be world leaders in research and innovation, but we seem to put too much time and energy in what is, rather than what could be.
Submissive - why has no government done a single thing to protect Julian Assange? He's an absolute hero, trying to stop wars, and he's treated like a war criminal....
Refugee policies - this is not MY country. I don't own it, nor does it belong to me. It belongs to the Universe, and I just had the blind luck to be born here. Therefore, who am I to say who can come and who can't come?
Big money has too much power - it's not as bad as it is in the USA thankfully, but it still has too much influence on decision making and policies, diluting the betterment of the whole for the few.
Mental health - with so much going for it, depression, anxiety, stress and suicide is a big issue in Australia.
All of the above issues starts and ends in the mind.... It's just pride which makes you hold onto your opinion and separates you from othes.
Forget complaints, what is a solution?
I was exactly the same.
We can be united as a country, or divided by skin colours, divided by states, divided by cities, divided by schools, divided by sports teams, divided by families, divided by friends - it all starts and ends in the mind!
If I was able to see from outside of my own self-centred perspective, then others can too - and that is the ultimate solution.
That's why, instead of spending years complaining about it like I used to, I'm now contributing to the solution.
And I will continue, until my very last breathe because it's the only way I see to perfect unity.
Until that moment, when Stan Grant in his beautiful monologue so beautifully put it:
"And one day, I want to stand here and be able to say as proudly and sing as loudly as anyone else in this room, Australians all, let us rejoice."
I will just keep going.