The idea that you stop and reflect on what you have to be thankful for really appeals to me. Having been separated from the motherland for almost a year has given me a whole new perspective on how many privileges we possess and take for granted.
Although I am currently not working I still have a roof over my head, go out drinking with friends at the local bowlo, swim at a stunning beach and have enough change to support my chronic latte addiction. Our country is so rich that we pay people who are not working. It’s not just the money; we have the infrastructure to support all sorts of healthcare, housing and welfare needs. The systems are by no means perfect, but they do exist.
Water: clean, drinkable water. Those of you who know me know that this is a pet cause of mine. I am well aware of the shortage of water Australia is facing, or more to the point complete mismanagement of one of our most scarce resources. But we can drink our water straight from the tap. That is a privilege millions do not have. According to UNICEF, it’s estimated that over 400 million children do not have access to safe drinking sources and double that number don’t have access to basic sanitation.
I lived on the coast in the Philippines, minutes away from a postcard-perfect white sand beach. It astounds and saddens me how many people who live there can’t swim. And the modesty clothes that women would wear in the water – hoodies, long shorts and even jeans!
One thing I really love about Australia is how anyone and everyone wears a bikini at the beach, wether you have the ‘right’ shape or not. No one cares. You don’t have to pay to enter and it is a fantastic leveller of all segments of society. Rich or poor, everyone gets sand stuck in his or her swimmer crack.
We are the Lucky Country; not in a trite, over-romanticised view of Australia but in the way that Donald Horne originally intended the phrase back in the 60s. We are fortunate in so many ways and its good to stop and reflect on what we have and how we can help others.