The 266 to Hammersmith

Last month I got my New Zealand Citizenship after living and working here for 10 years.. about time you could say. And you’d be correct

This terrific ceremony in Central Auckland celebrated 409 people becoming citizens of this great nation – each one of us with a story to tell as to why we’d chosen to leave our countries of birth and make New Zealand our home.

For me it represented the completion of a journey which started when I was working in Hammersmith, West London 11 years ago (recruiting contract accountants of course).

I was on a bus one day going to work and I suddenly had to get off and run away…. to nowhere in particular…. very bizarre behaviour you would think … and you’d be right. I was then signed off work for two weeks on ‘stress’ leave.

What I’d done to myself was the result of an incredibly unhealthy lifestyle that caught up with me … I was suffering from panic attacks, anxiety.. call it what you will.

I was in my early twenties in a ‘professional’ job earning what seemed like silly money to basically talk on the phone all day. So I ate, drank and socialised to my heart’s content and did no exercise, ever, for about eight years. I was always incredibly fit and healthy at school – I was the fastest runner, captain of the football team – very sporty and nothing could stop me. My body just didn’t know what I had done to it!!

It had all caught up with me. The abysmal diet, drinking a ridiculous amount of beer and smoking ….. I felt terrible. I was unhealthy, anxious and not what you would exactly describe as a picture of health.

My immediate family had moved to Australia four years beforehand and I always planned to come out to this side of the world at some point and have a look around. As chance would have it I got friendly with a girl (the number of times I have heard that story from new immigrants over the years!) from NZ and thought a new start in clean, green New Zealand represented the perfect opportunity for me to get away from this concrete-filled jungle.

Ultimately your body is like a car and the output is a reflection of what you put in to it. I have gone from putting rubbish in and getting rubbish out to now eating a healthy, nutritious diet with daily exercise/training … and I feel great.

So the night I became a Kiwi meant a lot – I moved here to get away from that unhealthy, junk food-orientated jungle to start a new life. This is now my home, I’m married with a busy and happy home life and I’m only in this position due to that tipping-point of running away from the 266 bus in Hammersmith in 2002….

It’s certainly not my intention for all my blogs to be as deep and meaningful as this – this is something I’ve not shared with anyone ever. I’ll lighten the tone next time around and will explore all aspects of the recruitment process (in great detail coupled with a good dose of sarcasm most probably) as well as the joy of balancing life as a hands-on dad in the professional world.

Until next time.