Kel & Jono Stone
As people, a couple, parents, who provide spaces and products of idealism to Australian families, we are often, if not always, part of the visual narrative that childhood, parenting, and families live idealistically. Of course, we ALL know that this is not the case, but with an imbalance of stories and visual prompts to show us otherwise, it is very easy for families to feel pressure to get it right all of the time – we get it!
When thinking about offering you my thoughts on what the holidays mean to me, as we have asked our friends to do, I am struck with the responsibility to share honestly and rawly what 2019 has meant to us. Basically 2019 was kind of shitty, super challenging and it nearly broke us. So for me, right now, the holidays mean a time to reconcile the anxiety-inducing year that was and to reconnect, regroup and refocus. Basically ALL the re’s!
2019 saw our family move interstate from Melbourne to the Byron region, a move planned for 12 years and that on paper seemed perfect. Boy oh girl were we wrong… With 2 house and school moves in 6 months, the logistics of managing our business remotely, the financial cost to move and set up a new business location and not to mention the small thing of EMOTIONS that go along with shedding the old, starting afresh and trying to find your people and your place, it is safe to say we underestimated it all and it has taken a toll.
On top of our personal struggles, we have watched our beautiful region succumb to drought and become dangerous. We have had fires raging in heritage-listed rainforest within kilometers of our home and we have watched our whole nation burn whilst the incompetency of our governments and the political system as a whole is laid bare! All of this has raised feelings of hopelessness and guilt, leaving us feeling despair for the future.
I think it is important to acknowledge the struggles of a year as it moves towards an end but also equally as important to find the silver lining and the hope that exists in the future. Because there is a LOT of hope, great people and incredible things ahead ALWAYS…sometimes you just have to know the right place to look!
For us, we are grateful and hopeful that despite the challenges we faced this year and continue to face going into 2020, that Jono and I still have a VERY strong underlying deep love and respect for each other and for the natural ups and downs in life. We are honest within ourselves and with each other about what toll it has all taken and we are committed to taking the learnings and being better versions of ourselves.
On a human level, there are so many reasons to be grateful and hopeful because collectively we have an unmatched power that I am positive we will realise. We have met some amazing people who are working on epic and exciting projects that will transform our world and rush through an era of sustainable ingenuity never before seen. We believe that people, when backed into a corner, will always come out swinging and this brings us immense hope.
We are hopeful because we see people and businesses around us bringing philanthropy into the center of their ‘why’ and not their bottom line and we have our own exciting program to announce soon.
So yes, while you have been incredibly challenging 2019 and you took us to our depths, you have also provided the foundation for the push back we are giving you in 2020 and we have a lot of passion and energy left to keep going!
So here is to simplicity, honesty, beauty, community, sustainability and above all FAMILY!
From our family to yours we wish you very happy holidays!
Kel, Jono, Jethro & Shepard Stones.