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A Different View

Show some real resolve with New Year promises

Dave O'Connell

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The 54th Infantry Group, made up mainly of troops from Dun Ui Maoliosa in Renmore and led by Lt Col Mary Carroll from Oranmore, pictured serving with the UN in the Golan Heights over the Christmas period.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

New Year, New You – or so they say. But unless you’ve access to your own cosmetic surgeon, the chances are it will be hard to tell the difference between the new one and the current model.

Some of us put pressure on ourselves at the turn of every year to lose weight, ease up on the drink, stop smoking, eat more vegetables, walk to work – in essence all of the things you’ve spent a lifetime avoiding like the plague.

But suddenly the old calendar is heading for the bin and you’re going to face 2017 and make it the year that everything changes forever.

If it lasts until February, you’ve done superbly well – but only if you’ve had the brain to choose just one area of your life to focus on.

Taking on too much is a recipe for disaster – what would make you think that all of the bad habits of a lifetime could somehow be expunged in one fell swoop?

It’s actually fairly easy to make a good start at giving up stuff; the cost of Christmas means you have no money for going anywhere in January anyway, so it’s a question of battening down the hatches until the first salary cheque arrives.

Then your progress can be maintained by the fact that the bills start to arrive towards the end of the month, and the minimum payment on the credit card accounts for the vast bulk of that month’s spare cash.

So you’re heading into February still off the drink – and then you get your head back above water, you meet one of the lads in town on a Friday night….and your resolve is gone the way of the Christmas spirit so that you’re back to square one.

To be honest, I’ve never made a New Year’s Resolution – in fact, never even contemplated one.

Equally, I’ve never quit anything for November and it’s a long time since I last gave up sweets and chocolate for Lent.

The irony is that these days, weeks can go by without a night out and in hindsight I realise that I’ve ‘done’ November on Lent – only in September or October.

But I didn’t actually give up the drink; I just never bothered going out to imbibe.

Researchers at the American University of Scranton found that three-quarters of people managed to keep their New Year’s Resolutions – for the first week.

You can of course go for something more nebulous – best of all is striving for a greater work/life balance because some people can interpret that as no work and loads of life.

Becoming more organised – what does that even imply? Learning something new; if only that resolutions aren’t your thing after all.

Be a better person? Is that an admission that the old you wasn’t up to much – and who’s actually monitoring your progress to a better you?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Giving it all away can bring you the greatest wealth of all

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It must be the nicest thing that anyone could say about a friend on their passing, and the novelist Jilly Cooper wrote it about the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans on his death last year.

“Harry died on Thursday at 5am (UK time), his heart perhaps only failing because he gave so much of it away.”

Because when all is said and done, your list of achievements – academic, sporting or stellar career – should pale into insignificance beside the way you treated your family, friends and colleagues.

We too often judge a person’s success or failure by the jobs they’ve held, the money they’ve made, the titles they hold – when the truth is none of that should determine your achievements as a person.

Even billionaires can grow to realise that eventually; just look at Bill and Melinda Gates – although recent events might make this a different picture in the future.

The former Apple golden couple have given close to $50 billion to charitable causes, including the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 1994.

In 2019 alone, the couple donated $589 million to charity, making them the seventh most philanthropic people that year. Whether they now give separately or collectively might be the question – but it seems most unlikely that they won’t give at all.

They’re alone in this world of billionaire philanthropists either; Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and one of the richest people in the world, has pledged $100m in prize money for technology that would best capture planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who tops the global rich list, has vowed to give out $10bn to worthy climate initiatives.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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