This Australia Day, I Did The Aussiest Thing Any Aussie Can Do
This morning I woke up and had Vegemite on toast. But that’s not the most Aussie thing I did today.
My wife made me a coffee, then told me I don’t do enough around the house and I said “hey, the garden’s not technically part of the house but what about all the weeding and mowing I do?”
I’m sure many of you have had this exact argument before, but this very modern Australian dialogue between working parents is not the most Aussie thing that happened either.
I went and played cricket. My mates and I have booked the same oval every year for 25 years. It’s great fun and great camaraderie, but even playing our unofficial national game is not the most Aussie thing I did.
In the cricket, my partner ran himself out. I went off instead, leaving him to bat the final overs because I’d been out there awhile and he hadn’t.
But even sacrificing my wicket for my mate was not the most Aussie thing I did.
I left the cricket halfway through the match and came to work, but that was definitely not the most Aussie thing I did because a real Aussie would probably have chucked a sickie and played on!
The very, very, very Aussie thing I did today?
I didn’t make a fuss about Australia Day. In fact I forgot it was on for all but a few minutes here and there. That's right, I forgot it was Australia Day. Oi! Oi! Oi!
If you celebrate Australia Day in a laid back, fun-loving way, then I respect you.
If you’re angry about the date because you feel it disrespects the original inhabitant of this continent, then I understand your viewpoint too, especially if you’re an Indigenous Australian.
But above all, I salute those Australians who are not bogged down trying to define what this country is, or what it should be, on our National Day.
Look at the Americans. Look at the way they stand, hands-on-hearts during the playing of their anthem. You’re almost unAmerican if you don’t do it.
We Aussies are not like that. We don't take ourselves too seriously. At our best, we just get on with life, try to get along, and we do it without symbols, flags or labels.
I’m of eastern European stock. My mother grew up in Melbourne. Her first language was Russian. Later, she brought up two boys as a single mum. Today I live with my wife in the suburbs of Sydney. Our neighbours are of Lebanese, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Macedonian and Australian heritage.
We’re average Australians, surrounded by average Australians.
Do we love our country? You bet we do. We love it so much that we help each other out in small ways day-to-day and week-to-week without needing to make a song and dance about it on Australia Day or any other day.
And in my opinion, loving your country in an understated, respectful way is the most Aussie thing any Aussie can do.
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