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Are values valued?

A lot of folk would describe me as being headstrong and opinionated. A lot of other folk would use more colourful language. I am well aware that I can be like a dog with a bone: if I believe in something really strongly, I suddenly find myself in possession of a bucketload of passion and bags of resolve that get me quite a long way. I am also aware that my overwhelming desire for the world to be a better place challenges people to change, and this makes me unpopular.

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Registering blind - three years on

Last Friday was my anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary. Three years ago, on April 1st, I registered blind. I remember it like it was yesterday, and as I now sit and reflect, I do so with mixed feelings. I remember the shock, the pain and the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. I remember the rapid decent into an emotional and psychological black hole, trying to grasp what had transpired and feeling the most debilitating sense of loss. I thought that my life as I knew it was over, and I was right.

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An outsider’s view on acceptance and belonging

I am quite socially awkward, which always comes as a surprise to people who know me. I realise that this statement appears to make absolutely no sense. Surely those who know me would be aware of such a thing, but I am afraid not: my social ineptitude is not about engaging with people I know, it's about interacting with those I don't.

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The happy hippy: an idealist in the real world

I wouldn't want to count how many times I have outed myself as a hippy. It's a funny thing because for some people, the word hippy conjures up all sorts of negative connotations, but when I make such proclamations, I see said hippiedom as a badge of honour. To me, it represents a time in the history of western society when people embraced individuality, did not want to conform, did not define themselves by how much stuff they were able to acquire and did not concern themselves with how much stuff other people acquired. It was a time with purpose, where human values served as the foundation for all people to live together in peace and harmony, to love and respect one another.

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The Internet, citizenship and community

The founders of the Internet had a vision of it being open and inclusive, breaking down the barriers that lead to social inequality and exclusion, and playing a pivotal role in creating a global community that is a level playing field for all. This is certainly what I signed up for, but it appears that these fundamental values are being eroded.

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Intolerance, prejudice and discrimination with a humanitarian label

During the holiday season we managed to finally get together and catch up with friends and family, whom my workaholism had prevented us from seeing for far too long. We have a rather eclectic circle, they are a veritable United Nations. And within this circle is a wide and varied range of views, beliefs, values and opinions: I can assure you that it is never boring.

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Trust, respect and loyalty: life's precious gifts

I have not made any New Year's resolutions, but I am certainly resolute about the need for change. Between work, life and advocacy, I managed to over-commit myself beyond any one person's capacity and ran myself ragged. My friends and family kept on telling me I needed to slow down, but I didn't listen and they were left to stand by and watch the train wreck.

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Being grateful for the good, the bad and the indifferent

At this time of year, whatever affiliations we may have, there is a steadfast tradition of expressing gratitude to the people who have helped, guided, supported, encouraged, comforted and loved us, and who have done so without any expectation of anything in return. For us lucky folk on the receiving end of such selfless acts of kindness, we are also bestowed with hope; not only because our lives have been enriched by these acts, but because it also reminds us of the incredible capacity for compassion that us humans have.

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