Jim Antonopoulos

October 7, 2017, 02:30PM
Summer afternoon, Home.

When you place a large, clean white bed sheet over a clothes-horse, it creates the perfect little cubby house for a two-year old. On a sunny afternoon it’s a beautifully lit environment where teddy bears, dolls, action figures, brothers and sisters can spend an afternoon pretending and imagining a perfect world of their very own.

I can hear giggles from beneath the sheet.

My two-year old daughter pokes her head from a fold within the sheet - curly hair, falling over her face, cute little lips, olive skin and freckles - ‘dad, do you want to come in?’

My heart explodes with love.

I peak inside this little house, lit by the afternoon sunlight and all three of my children are laying about.


My heart explodes with love.

My two year old sees me and says: “Daddy! You’re my best friend ever!”

October 7, 2007, 02:31AM
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Intensive Care Unit

There are pipes and tubes, gauze tape and perspiration building on his forehead.

His full head of silver hair, a sign he has lived a full life.

A purposeful, sometimes difficult life. But he’s lived a full life.

A machine is helping him breathe, and three rounds of morphine in the last couple of hours are helping to manage his pain. I keep thinking of something I read in a novel recently:

"Fathers start as gods and end as myths and in between whatever human form they take can be calamitous for their sons."

As the chatter in my head continues, I quietly ask myself if I am those things to my children.

I hold his weathered hand in mine. Giant. Strong. Olive skinned, proud and rough. I can’t recall the last time I held his hand. I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and was present for him. Attentive. Listening.

This is when the fear is at its worst. When I try to remember.

Is it too late?

His hand is comforting and warm - and every few minutes I feel a light squeeze.

The hum of the machine that is helping him breathe drowns out the couple in the next bed.

A curtain affords them little privacy.

He, an older man, is kneeling next to the bed. She, tubed up, eyes closed, breathing ever so lightly in a calm, coma.


He quietly repeats this word over and over.

Over and over.



I can’t help but listen. Intensive care units are solemn places, filled with silence and an un-nerving and random beep of machines.

Conversations are rarely private.

His gold ring. Her gold ring. A married couple from a different era; another culture; another world.

“Please know I’ve loved you. Please know that every day was precious.”

His head is on the bed. His old knees on the floor.

My tears fall silently as I pass him my seat and help him up to sit. His eyes don’t leave his wife.

I turn to my father who is now surrounded by people in blue. Nurses, Doctors, Surgeons. I can’t tell through the fog as one of them explains to me that he may not survive, and if he does, may not ever walk again.

I find this all so difficult to process as he, my father, motions a look towards me to translate.

I whisper in his ear the words the man in blue has just told me as I fight for the tears that are flowing, to simply stop.

He squeezes my hand. The giant hand. The weathered, worn hand that has lived a full life.

He looks at me with dark brown, Mediterranean eyes. My father as vulnerable as I’ve ever seen him.

“Everything will be OK my beautiful boy. Everything will be OK.”

October 13, 2017, 9:31AM
Office, South Melbourne

My friend Jack sends me an email.

He’s not really my ‘friend’ because I don’t see Jack often and our lives aren’t intertwined as friends lives should be. But when I do see Jack I smile a smile that is reserved for friends. For Jack is a good man. And there are few good men around these days.

Jack asks me to write about regret.

‘...But regret is poison’ I say out loud as I read Jack’s email.

Regret is a word I rarely think about. I spend most of my time feeling grateful and this gratefulness is what allows me to be present in the life I have now. Appreciating that everything I have done to date has brought me here. Every decision. Every failure. Every success.

I have made many mistakes, I have made many choices, I’m sure I have disappointed people and I have failed at many things; but I have an absence of regret and an abundance of gratefulness.

Because all of those things have moved me towards being present with my children today. Now. In this very moment. They have taught me something and I have studiously learned.


I ponder this foreign word and hope that I don’t let Jack down because friend or not, it’s one thing I don’t like doing.

I pick up a pen and start to write.

And I know that everything will be OK.

Jim Antonopoulos

With a career spanning 27 years in dot-coms, digital agencies and brand consultancies — studies in design, advertising and marketing — Jim Antonopoulos brings a truly unique, and refreshing perspective to the Australian design industry.

A strong advocate for business as a force for good, diversity and nurturing young and emerging talent in our industry, Jim has worked with leadership teams across Australia helping them build brand strategy and cultures of innovation.

Jim Antonopoulos is the owner of brand consultancy Tank, the Author of the successful Strategy Masterclass online course and publisher of the weekly journal, The Business of Creativity.


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