I guess the first point of call is to tell you my story. I don’t think it’s so interesting and in fact I’m reluctant to write it. Others’ have gone through so much to be where they are, my life is handed to me on a silver platter.
I was always taught from a young age to appreciate my silver platter and I always have. Apart from now being able to acknowledge where it comes from and being able to direct my gratitude better, not much has changed.
I was born into a dedicated, honest, loud and loving family. They are my heros. They showed me what beauty is within a harsh and unforgiving communist regime that despised us, the Jews. The realities of growing up in communist Russia were always masked by the warmth and laughter within our homes. This taught me the most important lesson I could have learnt: it’s home that matters most. No matter your circumstances, what you build inside your boundaries (home and self) is what brings real, sustainable and never ending happiness. I find this true of many people who have overcome their circumstances, that have gone beyond and succeeded beyond imagination. It is these stories which inspire. Don’t get me wrong, our family was much better off than the average residents, but this was all due to shear perseverance and a lot of divine providence. I don’t remember much of Moscow apart from our houses and datacha, family games and outings, and delicious delicacies.
My family then moved to Australia. The last straw for my parents was when little me saw my dad bring home tomatoes, to which my innocent mind mimicked what had been said by adults all around: “ti dastal pamidori?” – loosely translated into: “you acquired tomatoes?” – “acquired” meaning that these items were so difficult to get that you don’t just go inside a shop and “buy”, you have to hear of it selling somewhere, travel far to the destination, line up for hours, and if you’re extremely fortunate you may be able to afford a few items. That was when we left.
Everyone has their ups and downs, but when your early years are full of light, you perceive light when there is very little. Moving to a new country with all the challenges of finding work, having no family help, learning a new language, etc is all extremely difficult. It was very difficult for my parents. Yet, joy can be found in all of it when you have the right attitude. Thankfully, an attitude can be learnt.
I won’t go through all my happy memories, it’s not nice. Yet, I don’t feel like I’m boasting when it is in the context of harsh realities. I am where I am because of the experiences I’ve had and I will be the person I want to be based on the experiences I will create. I truly believe in free will and our ability to use our minds to transform ourselves and the situations around us. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our perspectives and reactions to our circumstances.