And it’s Hello from Me….
Hi there, My Name’s Tom and I kinda run things over here at GenForward. A chunk of my time will be spent putting out blogs and trying my best to respond to as many of our member’s comments and issues as it’s humanly possible to do. Given that it’s likely there’s going to be a lot of stuff written by me all over the site, I thought it might not be a bad idea to tell you a little about myself and my background, so that it may give you some context for some of the blogs I might write and the responses I may give.
Ok, first off, I need to say that I’m not one of those people who have a built in need tell the world every little detail of my life as it happens. I’m in my late 40’s now, married and have one son. I am British born, but am currently fortunate enough to be living and working in the USA with my family. If any American wonders why I say fortunately, try living a couple of years in London and you’ll understand.
I was brought up in England in the 1970’s by two very “Northern” parents, one from Newcastle the other from Aberdeen (people in the UK may well understand the implications of this, but for those who don’t it’s a mindset all of it’s own, illness is “malingering”, emotional distress is to be greeted with phrases like “get a grip you Jessie/fairy/pathetic (insert random insult here)”, and children are there to be seen and not heard, and if they are heard, battered).
Top 5 sayings from childhood:
1 You’ll get what you’re given and be grateful!
2 Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!
3 Get a grip! (Watch Hells Kitchen and see how many times you hear that phrase out of Gordon Ramsay, same generation, Northern mentality)
4 Have you had enough yet, or do you want some more?! (at the end of a beating, odd question really)
5 No you bl**dy can’t!
I hope that I don’t horrify too many people with stories about my growing up. My overall recall of the whole period is actually a happy one. It really wasn’t that bad, and I did come out of the whole experience only slightly mentally and emotionally scarred, which for the 1970’s is pretty good going, considering the country was either on strike or rioting for the first two decades of my life and we had to deal with both Glam Rock and the Sex Pistols.
I have travelled the world a bit, bounced around Europe a little (France, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy, Germany, Greek mainland and islands, Switzerland, Turkey to name a few), had several trips to the Middle East (a place I genuinely like to travel as it’s so very different), Abu-Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain as well as a couple of totally unplanned trips to Israel and the Thailand.
I have also done a little travel in the USA, mostly in a circuit encompassing Arizona (Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbee, Grand Canyon, Yuma), California (San Diego (would love to live there), down to Tijuana, Los Angeles), then across through to Vegas a few times. Have only been up to the North West once, visiting Washington DC and a little of Pennsylvania. I have to say, despite some of your funny ways, you do live in a great country.
I am a believer in not looking at things on face value. I try to teach my son to question things he learns, especially before he starts opening his mouth and voicing opinions on a subject. I do this mainly because I want him to understand that there’s always a bigger picture. I will guide him not on what his opinions should be, but where to find out more, perhaps of an alternative opinion so that he can better question his own understanding and beliefs.
If we look back at the history of the human race, it’s full of cause and effect, action and reaction. To look at a situation, you need to understand how you arrived there rather than try to view it in isolation.
That’s really my approach to everything. Lay out options, show information, guide understanding, encourage questioning, and once you have as much information as you can get, start to form opinions. However, always be ready to adjust those opinions in the face of new information, and never think that your opinion is any more important than the next man’s (woman’s, transgender person’s etc.)
That’s really all the detail I intend to go into about personal life, my personal circumstances, and those of my family members. What I am more than happy to share with you all though is my own life experiences and views (for what they are worth). Given that most lessons in life stem from mistakes, I am fortunate to have been a total disaster area at times, so I’ve learned a lot. Sometimes I’ve been smart enough to learn first time from my mistakes, sometimes, not.
I’ll share some of my likes (movies, good Whisky, gaming, cars), and dislikes (too many to mention and increasing with age but Brussels sprouts will never leave the list), some of my ideas and life experiences. I’ll try in the main to steer clear of spouting too much opinion as that’s always something that’s up for argument. The main thing I’m intending to share is some of my stories. I haven’t been a secret agent or legendary hero, but I’ve been about a bit and had a fair range of both good and bad life experiences.
My intention is that as time goes on I will share some of this information with you. What you then do with it is up to you. Maybe it will do nothing more than serve to amuse, maybe you’ll find some common ground and get a new insight or opinion out of it. Who knows, that’s for you to decide.
The reason I’m happy to share a lot of my past adventures and misadventures in glorious Technicolor, is mainly because today I’m a happy and contented man. I like my life and I like the people in my life. No matter how stupid some of the things I may have done in the past, no matter how bad some of the bad times were, without every one of them the probability of me of having my life as it is would be infinitesimally small.
If I like the way things are now (which I do), I have to accept everything that’s happened in my life because that’s what’s got me here. Change any detail and the outcome of billions of improbable meetings and happenings changes. So, I’ll get over my own ego and keep on smiling at my life, because when it all comes to a close, that’s how I’d like to go out.