Go on, quit. You deserve it!: Why I was happy to quit mid-Master’s, and other tales.

You’ve been exposed to these adages your whole life. You’ve heard it growing up, in school, in university, even in sport. “Quitting is for losers”, “Winners never quit and quitters never win”, “Mama didn’t raise no quitter”. Basically, we’ve been conditioned to never give up …. even if it kills you.

From Amazon.com
From ebay.co.uk

In a world where we are constantly competing, for better, for more, for survival, you fall to the back of the pack when you give up. So we never quit; we push ourselves harder, we strive for better and we never give up. This is great, because if we didn’t, we would all be redundant, fossilising composites adding to the carbon decay destroying the planet. Basically, what would be our point if we weren’t trying to be better, to change and to strive for greater? However, when is it ok not to; when is it ok to quit?

Last year was a transformational and learned year, as my last post says. And boy were they not kidding when they said 2019 was going to bring about change. It’s been a rollercoaster ride with so many twists and turns. The beginning of this year I had begun the second portion of my Master’s degree in Positive Psychology. I was also entering 5 years of employment at my last company. By July, 6 months later, I would of made 2 difficult decisions, to quit both.

In January this year we had decided to relocate to a new country. This however had no impact on my decisions to quit, it was merely a new life opportunity. The decision to leave work was actually made in December of last year, I was just waiting on the when to. Last year was a physically and emotionally draining year. I had dedicated a lot of time and effort to both my studies and my work. I had pushed myself, and by the end of 2019 I was proud of what I was capable of. So then why would I walk away a few months later, when I had sacrificed and endured so much? Simply put, I just Marie Kondo’d it. I embraced the words of Marie Kondo, “Does it spark joy?”. And no, neither sparked joy in my life any longer.

As much as I loved the company (admittedly less the longer I stayed and the more I witnessed) and had made many friends there, I was just mostly comfortable and was going nowhere. I had put in a lot of effort, but let’s be fair, there are politics in every company and I would most likely find myself in the same role another 5 years later should I have stayed. No one in this economic climate just walks out of a job, so I obviously had to weigh my options and do some calculations before I could actually leave, once I had made up my mind to. I was still worried about leaving before I had anything to fall back on, but a few days after resigning I got a job offer!

I had already completed half of my studies and in September 2018 had begun the second portion of the degree. Knowing in January that I was going to relocate, I started to push out as much of the dissertation that I could. Despite all the time I had to dedicate to moving and so on, I still tried to contribute as much as I could to my studies. I was about 60% done with my dissertation when I actually decided to deregister. Why? I was literally not finding joy in it. I guess there were too many odds against me.

Feedback from the university was slow and support was lacking. I had become a detective figuring out what was required and having to piece the requirements together. Then, we found out that my supervisor, the expert on the method I was to use for my study, had been diagnosed with cancer again. He was very supportive and was still willing to supervise but the challenges still persisted. I also no longer believed in subject of my study (ironically the company I was working at). I could of still used them as the focus but at the core, I no longer believed in the truth of the data and I felt this was not ethical. The studies had gone from adding growth to tearing me down. There was no joy in it – none!

When I started studying I told myself that I was doing it for me and that I could quit at anytime. But this wasn’t true. I had obtained my first Master’s degree 10 years ago at just under 25 years and with everyone else obtaining MBAs I felt I was falling to the wayside. However, I wasn’t in a top earning corporate job like most of my friends, so what should this matter? The one thing I did have that I prided myself on, was my education. Even though studying was not easy, it was the one thing that I could control, the one thing I could grow in. How could I quit it? I was never able to build the career I wanted, why would I walk away from the one thing I could build, the thing that would set me apart. The answer was that I changed. I no longer cared about ‘what the people would think’ and I actually didn’t care if others thought ‘I had failed’. I had actually become better.

Will I regret leaving my Master’s degree? Hell yeah, I was 70% done with the overall degree!! I’ll probably wonder why I didn’t stick it through, persevere a little more. Maybe I’ll revisit and complete it one day. But right now, it’s not the best thing for me. It just doesn’t spark joy.

And so, if you are pushing yourself to complete something for someone else or if you are enduring something for the wrong reasons, ask yourself why?. Evaluate your circumstances and weigh your options. Do what’s best for you. However, don’t always cop out. Don’t walk away from things that you are actually capable of accomplishing, because truth be told, nothing comes easy. When you are doing things for the wrong reasons or it brings you more anguish than joy, then yes, think about what’s best for you. Circumstantially, pain is not always gain.

2018: The Best 3 years of my life.

At one point 2018 felt like it was never going to end. It was like the comrades marathon, where the finish line seemed to keep moving farther away. But it is finally in sight. I say comrades marathon because I’m not the only one who felt this way. I actually stole this post’s title from a friend’s Facebook update.

I’m not the only one who feels that 2018 has felt like an eternity and I’m not the only one who feels that it was cathartic. So much has happened this year. Astronomically, we have had a Super blue moon eclipse, planetary alignment, total lunar eclipses, solar eclipses, bright viewings of Mars and Venus; this year was filled with astronomical wonders (visit https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/top-skywatching-events-2018-eclipses-meteors-planets-astronomy for more information). All of which have some spiritual significance of sorts.

Spiritually, for those who follow spiritual learnings, 2018 represented a lot of growth and transformation for humanity on the whole. Planetary movements and shifts in the cosmos results in significant energy shifts. That of which we experience here on earth. (Visit sites like https://foreverconscious.com/astrology-forecast-2018, for more reading on this). Whether you believe in this, its is undeniable that there was a diferent energy about 2018. It was an enigma.

Personally, 2018 has brought about so much growth. Educational growth, spiritual growth and self growth. There have been so many lessons and challenges in 2018 and I could of either allowed it to break me or grow me. I was amazed by my resilience, adaptability and tenacity. With all going on, I do not know how I managed to stay (arguably) sane.

2017 was a tough year for me, trying to run the side hustle, focusing on work and running a household, it was tough but I did it. And despite turbulence at work, because it was a flexible role, I decided to stay on and register to study further. I thought that if I could manage 2017, 2018 would be easier. I had it all figured out. I made it through 2017, my most difficult year, how much more difficult could 2018 be? The answer, waaayyy more!

2018 started off at an average pace. I had registered for my studies and was really enjoying it. Then came July and the frequency switched up by a 100%. Work became incredibly tough; relationships were changing and there was pressure from management. During this time it was as if my studies and work were competing to see who could drain me first. And if that was not enough, we were homeless. In July we were preparing to move house but the transfer took longer than expected, an entire 6 months longer. 2018 drained me physically, mentally and emotionally. But out of that, I grew, I learnt, I gained.

2018 for me, is represented by the butterfly. 2017 bore the caterpillar. The beginning of 2018, the caterpillar built its cocoon, and until June it formed its shelter. From July 2018 the metamorphosis happened. While the chrysalis phase can be thought of as the work loaded phase, it is actually within the cocoon where all the work happens. It takes a lot of physical work for the caterpillar to grow into the butterfly. And this is what happened with me. As I tried to hold it all together, I was transforming, growing inside this cocoon. 2018 was transformational. And while I felt like this goal oriented, determined, motivated individual at the beginning, by the end, I had been derailed, challenged and beaten so much that I actually transformed, I grew wings.

I know that I am not the only one who has felt this. 2018 has taught me so much about myself; for the first time, I know who I am and where I want to go. 2018 was a journey of self-discovery. If you have learnt about yourself this year, if you have been on a transformational journey but are still uncertain, trust your instincts. You have your answers.

Terrific Turkey: What I’ve learnt from my trip.

In summary this is what I learnt from my trip to Turkey:

  1. How important history is.
  2. Just how big the world really is.
  3. Just how small your world truly is.

1. Terrific Turkey

Turkey was indeed terrific, from its history to its culture, the beautiful architecture and the food. While I was learning about wars and dictators in school, I should of been learning about historical places like Turkey, instead. I did not know much about Turkey before going there. I had thought that it was a Muslim state but this was all rectified at our first dinner, where they sold alcohol. Exposure to more countries from a younger age would broaden our world horizon and make us more cuturally competent.

2. I’m a, not so, big, big girl in a big, big world.

We sometimes forget just how big the world is. How expansive, how beautiful and how dynamic. They say that travelling is a growth experience and understandably so. Everytime you travel to new worlds, you not only expand your knowledge base and awareness but you grow your humaness too. You become more aware of difference and become more tolerant as a result. You learn about the myrid of diversity; how many others actually exist and how each of these people come with their own uniqueness. The world is massive and you are but a grain of sand in the ocean.

3. A world of opportunity.

Stemming from the last point, knowing how big the world is, comes the realisation of just how small your own world is. Sometimes we forget that the world is more than just our frame of reference. We live a routined life that can have us forgetting that the world is more than what we are experiencing. Yes we are exposed to the world around us through media but how connected are we to these happenings. When we travel to places, we connect physically and emotionally, there becomes a oneness. A sense of a global community or responsibility even. We become more aware that the world is more than our exposure. While this can be dwarfing, it can contrastingly been seen as an opportunity. This should be a reminder that should things not work out in your current situation or if your work has not given you the opportunities to grow, then the world presents an entire play ground for you to try again. Do not be deterred by failures, the world is your oyster and you are the pearl. We need to stop thinking that the world revolves around us, many opportunities exist for us beyond the realms of our periphery.

If you have the opportunity, travel. Travel to another continent, travel to a new country, travel to a new city, travel to a new neighbourhood. Go beyond your comfort zone and learn about someone different to you. Break the binds of your ego and learn about difference. There is so much out there, so much more than you can fathom. The world is vast, the world is wonder-ful, the world is glorious. Span your boundaries and expand your knowledge. Put the U back into h-U-man.

What I learnt from Greece.

Last week I visited the ultimate destination on my bucket list … Greece. When I turned 35, I decided that that would be my birthday gift to myself {with some companionship and financial assistance from my husband of course :)} For as long as I can remember I have be captivated by Greek mythology, it was always so fantastical to me. And, as tempting as the beautiful islands were, mainland Greece was where I wanted to go. So, we set up a tour to visit Greece.

We visited magnificent places; we toured Athens, Olympia, Delphi and Meteora. It was so beautiful but so surreal. I learned so much but it was just so perplexing trying to conceptualise it all. I was at the (arguably) birth of civilisation; Delphi was considered by ancient Greeks to be the “Navel or Center of the World”. This world leader in Science and Medicine was now just renowned for their beautiful islands. What happened in between?!

This is what I learned from my trip to Greece, nothing is set in stone; not even Medusa’s stare has that power. If the world’s powerhouse, its center of man’s learning and growth is now just a beautiful mass of touristy destinations, then every single one of us has the power to change. Who we are now is not who we will be in five years and no where near who we can be in ten. We all have the capability to transform for the better. To become who we want to be.

But it is also a reminder to, as Kendrick Lamar said, “Be Humble”. Who you are today can change in a heartbeat. The Ancient Greeks were very confident about their existence, they only knew greatness. However, the fall from greatness was a humbling decline. But let us take positive lessons from Ancient Greece, for out of destruction comes rebirth. The Greek Gods, whether you believe in them or not, have impacted our literature, our education and modern mainstream culture. If there is one thing that you should strive to do is to be a Greek God and leave behind a legacy. Be bold, lead, love and change the world. Even if you change one person’s life, that is one step closer to greatness.

Every Day is a Gift!

It’s spring in South Africa, and this means flu season. I have a little one in creche and so illnesses are constantly passed on in my home, and they are repetitive. My kids play tag with their ickie sickies and my husband and I are ‘IT’ quiet often. This basically means that we are illness free for about 2 months in a year, if we are lucky.

I was busy cooking as my mum-in-law took seriously ill that morning, trying to get things together and done on time with a crying clingy kid. Kid held with one hand and stirring the pot with the other (this is every mom at some point). Eventually she agreed to eat something but for some reason she wanted to eat it outside. This was not helping my timeline but I agreed. “It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes”, I thought. But these mere minutes were eye-opening. Kids can be so impactful without even knowing it.

So we went outside to sit at the garden table while I fed her her fruit. And as I looked onto the garden I just instantly appreciated what a beautiful day it was, with the sun shining and the garden blooming. And I thought to myself, “This is what they mean when they say that everyday is a gift”. But then I thought further, “So then, is this what everyday is like?” And the answer is “Yes”. Everyday is gift, we have just stopped finding the gifts in everyday.

Societies over the years have created ways to measure time. We started with ways to measure day and night, then calendars measuring years and then analogue and digital clocks counting hours. And now we find ourselves in an age where corporate society measures time as how much revenue you can bring in, in a day, a month, a year. Society has framed days in such a way that because of this, we no longer live day by day, we live weekend to weekend. We seem to appreciate days that fall on weekends more than the weekdays … #TGIF.

All days were created equal, every single one has the same hours (except for when daylight savings takes affect, and again this was societally implemented to save energy). Everyday we wake up on earth is a gift to us, whether it falls on a Monday or a Saturday. There is beauty in everyday and every single day is just as important as the next, but in the rat race of daily life we seem to have forgotten this. We have to get to work at a certain time, we sit in horrible traffic, we are pressured to meet certain deadlines and so forth, and this is everyday life. No wonder we look forward to the weekends. And it seems like weekends are the time we take to appreciate life because this is when we actually have the time to do so.

Every day in your life is just a day with 24 hours in it, you choose what you do with it. Yes there are social implications and you need to go to work to earn a living to live the life you are living. But what I mean by this is that outside of this routine, you can decide how you view your life. You can decide on the type of person that you want to be. There are many exercises that you can do that can help you see the value in each day and in turn find ways to make the most of your everyday. Since we are magnetised to our mobile phones, you can get yourself to use it to take a photograph a day. Find something different everyday that makes you smile. Find the ‘Gift in Everyday’ and capture it. Perhaps then make a collage of all of the things that made you see the value in everyday.

Everyday is definitely a gift because as we know, we are living on borrowed time and before we know it, whenever it may be, time’s up. We can decide how we view and how we use that time…

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Don’t just give presents, Be Present!

June is a busy month in our household, apart from hitting the half year mark on the calendar, we have 2 birthdays; my husband and my son’s.  It’s thus also a very broke month in our household. But it is scary just how fast time passes, we’re already at the halfway mark for the year 2018. It does fly!

My brother-in-law also got married this June so we were rather preoccupied this year. But if you’re not mentally present, before you know it, it will be the festive season and the year would of passed and you’ll be throwing out comments like; “Where did the year go!?”, “The years are just flying by!”.  Sadly, that is the reality, time is just flashing forward. I will always remember something my neighbour used to say to me, “One of the signs of the Day of Judgement is that we will be fighting for time.” This was according to Islam but it always carried thorough for me in my life because I felt that it was so accurate. I did not understand it at first but as I grew older, it was a metaphor for life … we seem to be fighting for time as there is never enough of it in a day.

I suppose that we have become so consumed in our daily lives and all the work pressures that we don’t really switch off.  We no longer  follow the clock; work is no longer 9-5, it starts way earlier and ends way later. We do not divide our work and personal time accurately anymore. This is fine if you have goals and want to grow in certain aspects of your career but at what expense?  Have you consulted all in your life about your dedicated time preference?  We need to remember that when we have families and significant others, that our time is no longer just ours.

Time is really a commodity, it is something that there is never enough of, yet ironically at the same time, it is societal constraint. Although we are controlled by time, you have the ability to be the time keeper. My husband and I made the decision to be more present at special occasions, birthdays being one of them. The marker of the day that you were born should be celebrated, and this is what we as a family decided to do. There doesn’t have to be presents but if your loved ones are truly present that is a gift in itself. And by truly present, I mean that we need to not only be physically present but mentally as well. If we are not, then the moment will pass and that is something you cannot get back.

When my daughter was born, I got so consumed with doing everything, constantly keeping others top of mind, like needing to have a Sip and See. I was trying to do as much as I could to treasure the moments that I was actually missing them. My mind was so preoccupied with all I wanted to do that I wasn’t mentally present and I was totally missing out. It was my sister who told me to stop and just enjoy the time with my new born baby because I would regret having lost the time with her, time I could never get back.

Being more mentally present is a conscious decision and may not be as easy as it seems. It does take effort but it really is worth it. To be present in the moment is to capture and contain time.

The Doogie Howser Syndrome

For those that are not familiar with the show, Doogie Howser was one of the biggest TV series of the 90’s. Here is a break down of the plot.

As a child, Dr. Douglas “Doogie” Howser twice survived early-stage pediatric leukemia after his father—a family physician—discovered suspicious bruising. The experience contributed to the younger Howser’s desire to enter medicine. Possessing a genius intellect and an eidetic memory. Howser participates in a longitudinal study of child prodigies until his 18th birthday. He earned a perfect score on the SAT at the age of six, completed high school in nine weeks at the age of nine, graduated from Princeton University in 1983 at age 10, and finished medical school four years later. At age 14, Howser was the youngest licensed doctor in the country. As a newspaper article (one of several noting some of Doogie’s aforementioned accomplishments that are shown in the series’ opening title sequence) stated, he “can’t buy beer… [but] can prescribe drugs”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doogie_Howser,_M.D.

Neal Patrick Harris was such a cutie as Doogie Howser, MD and then, years later, we met him as Barney Stinson on How I met your mother, where he totally undid the cuteness factorCuteness aside though, the child protege Doogie was a fictitious character on a television show. He was not real. So then why do so many people find themselves emulating him today. Before I get a “but there are many child prodigies that actually do exist”, I do not dispute this, there are amazingly talented kids out there who are capable of doing spectacular things. What I focus on in this post is the average Joe who tries to be Doogie Howser. These kids are extraordinary gifted and are cable of achieving fetes that not everyone can. They are, above average. And sorry for the rest of us, but we really do fall into the average category. And again, by this I do not mean that we are incapable of producing different things or that we are all drones from the dummy factory. No, not in the least. I just mean that we do not all have that extra gift. So why do we push ourselves as if we do?

We’ve placed emphasis on fulfilling material goals and as the years go by, the age to achieve certain goals seems to be getting younger and younger. CEO’s used to average 50 years of age, now we are getting more youthful CEO’s and company heads. People are pushing themselves to stay competitive but at what costs? Is not new news that stress comes with many health related issues, as far sever as death. People literally work themselves to the bone.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to chase a career and climb the corporate ladder. Sometimes it comes easier to some than others. But if your choice is to focus on building your career, try to remember that balance is important.  You have to weigh what is important to you.

Says Who?!

Drawing from my last post, I was prompted to think about all the goals we try to achieve in life and if they really truly are our own goals or societal? And I then thought about it more and wondered, where do these societal pressures stem from and who even says that they are correct? Why do we take them as gospel, criteria to base our lives on?  You should have a well paying job at age 25, drive a sports car and live in your own apartment, else you would have failed in life. Loser!

Where do these rules even come from?! So I know how they are perpetuated and sold through stereotypes and mass media engagement but how did they begin? Who said you even should go to university once you’ve finished 12 already long years of school? Who said you need to live in a house? Why can’t I be a tree hugging hippie that lives off the land and pays people with aura cleansing sessions? Who said you need to get married to declare your love and undying commitment to someone? Does a piece of paper really prove that I am going to be faithful? Really?

So I get it that rules are put in to place for a reason. I mean, we’ve watched Game of Thrones, we know that if you didn’t follow the rules back in the day then you would be publicly decapitated and your head would be placed on a stick for all to see just where your defiance got you. They sure knew how to keep people in check.

But fast forward centuries later where people have free will and are allowed to exercise it, why aren’t more of us doing that? Why don’t we live by our own rules? Pave our own ways and set our own goals for ourselves? Who even said that going to school, going to university, getting a job, buying material objects, working yourself to the bone to buy material objects, getting sick, working some more, retiring, then being bored because you don’t know what to do with your life now that you no longer work and then dying, is the objective of life? I’m not saying it is not! All I am saying is, Says Who?  Who said that doing all these things are life’s goal. Perhaps we’re missing the plot completely and prioritising the wrong things?

As I have said in previous posts, we have been told that there are ways to do things and processes to follow in life and through life. They may work for the majority but not for everyone. And if they do not work for you, then that’s ok. Follow your own processes and do what’s right for you. I am 90% sure that your head will not end up on a stick.

Marking Milestones

Hey Me! Welcome to the ink club! #justgotinked!

I am the most indecisive person I know. OK, let me rephrase that, I was the most indecisive person I know. I was so bad that I could never decide on even what I wanted to eat. I must say that I have thankfully become better. However, this was the very reason I always wanted a tattoo. It would be something I could not undo (easily at least). I also hated change and the tattoo would be a decision I would have to live with. For these reasons I wanted a tattoo, a marker of growth. Needless to say, I never got the tattoo.

Two days ago I turned 35. I have always had a need to celebrate birthdays, especially milestone ones (I’ve been trying to trace the roots of this need but I actually think I was born this way), and to do something memorable for the occasion. 35 for me was an important one. Because of this, one thing I wanted to do, apart from celebrate, was to mark the occasion. So I decided to do it, literally.

I have always been at constant cross roads in my life. Things never worked out the way I wanted or planned. I am not where I thought I would be career wise and I am not where I thought I would be financially. I don’t have the fancy car, nor do I have the nice house. Heck, sometimes I don’t even have enough money to buy myself a treat, like a bottle of wine, and Lord knows I need it. Point is, where I am is no where near where or who I thought I would be at 35. But, is who or where I am that bad?

So, due to certain reasons, I could not follow the yellow brick road. But look at what I experienced on the path less traveled. I have a wonderful family who fill my heart and bring me endless joy. I have a job. I have job that I enjoy. I have job that does not stress me out too much. I have a job that affords me certain privileges. Most of all, I have a job that brings me {not too much (”,) } money. I am lucky enough to have been selected to study the degree I am. And I have met such wonderful people in so doing. I have traveled, boy have I traveled. Because of my job, I get to spend so much quality time with my kids and family. So I have traded the things money can buy for the things that they can’t.

But as much as I know this and wouldn’t have it any other way, there are days where I wish I was more successful. It’s because I compare my life to others that I feel less accomplished and less worthy. That because I’m not rich or don’t drive a fancy car that I have somehow failed. I needed a reminder that even though I do not have the car or the fancy house, or because I do not covet name brands or fancy things, the most import thing for me is that I have experienced life; that I have lived. I needed to remind myself if I ever doubt who I am or where I am in life, that I have won because I have lived… and so, I got inked to remind myself just that. At 35, I have already lived a 1000 lives. And so the message to remind me …                      “Always remember, more importantly, you’ve lived.”


Spread The Love

February has become known as the month Love because of Valentine’s Day. For those that do not know, the stories of Valentines Day are as follows:

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. However, the most popular and more romantic legend is that Valentine was a prisoner who actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.  https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day.

But why on this particular day in February?  While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day

And naturally as the years progressed we have increasingly commercialised the day, actually losing the true meaning. We now only know valentine’s day as the day to confess your undying love to your significant other or to the person you have been secretly crushing on for the longest time. And we spend tons and tons of cash doing this. Three years into our marriage my husband asked me what I wanted for valentine’s day. And while I usually say nothing but secretly want something, this particular year I really wanted nothing.  And then, an AHA moment! I thought why don’t I share love with someone who would not necessarily experience the essence of valentines day. I decided to ‘spread the love’ by buying loaves of bread as well as butter and jam for someone on the street. But then I thought, if I bought all this and instead of giving it to the people I intended to, rather give it to friends or colleagues who who then pay it forward. The idea was that they could then carry on the tradition on valentines day. And thus, The Spread The Love Campaign was born.

I maintain that everyone should experience the joy that comes with celebrating valentines day with a loved one. Go with the commercialism, while it may be capitalistic, the idea is there. Spreading love and joy should never be frown upon. However this does not stop one from sharing the love with others too. If I could leave behind one wish, it would be that people would think of others and treat others with love and respect and if this is done on even one day of the year, well then my life would not have been in vain.


Superhero Syndrome

What if Superman or Wonder Women had no powers? What if Batman was an average Bruce with no mobile and no cool gadgets? They would be nothing more than your everyday human, with no ability to go beyond their everyday life, right? Right! So then, why come January of every year do we, everyday humans, think we’ve suddenly morphed into superheroes with super powers to change the world?

It seems that the ushering in of the new year brings with it the the superhero syndrome, where we think that we can do it all. We create resolutions to change habits that we’ve accrued over years. We somehow become miracle workers who think that we can change habits and accomplish goals within the first month of the year. Pressure much?!

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We are by no means superheroes, well many of us are if you look at what we accomplish in a day, but I am talking in the physical sense. We are just human at the end of the day and as humans should try to achieve only what is humanly possible. Do not set absurd goals for yourself came the 1st day of the new year. Pace yourself, set realistic goals that can be achieved within a reasonable time frame. Why is that many resolutions do not work? Just because of this reason, we usually set unrealistic goals which we want to achieve within a short time frame.

Do not try to save the world, you will just become so despondent with the realisation that is so big and you, are not. And what I mean by save the world is; don’t try to over achieve, set realistic goals, set measurable objectives that when accomplished will fill you with a sense of purpose and desire to do more and be more. Sometimes when we search for instant gratification, we are so disappointed with the lack of fulfillment that we were hoping to get, that we give up altogether. Also, do not set goals for yourself measured against others, that is, just because Linda has a lucrative job and is driving an insane car, you hope to achieve the same by the end of the year. Sometimes there are many factors that do not allow us all to achieve the same and by setting these goals within short time frames, you may set yourself up for disappointment. Hey, I’m not saying that it can’t be done or that you should not set such goals for yourself, all I am saying is weigh your options, look at what is achievable for you, and work within those bounds to be realistic. And yes, do push boundaries and work toward higher goals but set realistic time frames so as not to over exert yourself and then reach burnout.

Life is a series of stages and while it at times may not seem so, your life is unique, so do not live yours according to others. In actuality, you are the one who sets your goals, you are the one who measures your life and you are the one who can take the cape off. Learn to say no … to yourself. Again, I’m not saying do not strive to be a better you, just be patient with yourself. Last year I tried to do way too much in one year and I physically and more so emotionally burnt out. I thought that I would never live a stress free life again because my mind was on a 24/7 treadmill. But when I stopped pressurising myself to achieve what others have, was when I lived again. You, are your biggest critic!

So while you may not physically be a superhero, at least learn from them …

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Out with the Old, in with the New

As the new year approaches, alot of us find ourselves scrambling to resolve the year about to end. Cathartic? Yes. Practical? Not so much.

Trying to work through the year and what has made or broken you is a good thing because you can learn from it and start the year afresh. That’s what we aim to do, to start the new year afresh by letting go of what did not grow you. But don’t set too much pressure on yourself to instantly let go at the stroke of midnight. We are not Cinderella who can magically transform as the clock strikes 12! Learning and growing is an ongoing process and should not be dictated by the change of calendar. Time is a man made construct that should be used as a guide in certain times, not a dictator.

Yes the new year is an opportunity for new beginnings, take advantage of your desire to embrace the need for change. But do not let it be a ruler of your growth process. And if you are happy with all that 2017 has brought, then why change what has been working for you! I found myself getting worked up as I frantically tried to close off what felt like the most physically and emotionally draining year of my life. I wanted to close off the year like you would a financial year end. But as I sit here typing as the new year almost approaches, I realise that no matter how much I want to leave 2017 behind, the striking of the clock does not mean that all that was 2017 disappears.

In the same vein as trying to enter the new year with a positive attitude, do not wait for a new year to make changes. Life is a continual learning process, so change constantly and learn continually.



When Life Hands you Lemons

Life is not always fair and does not always go to the way we want or plan. But when things don’t work out for us we have a choice in how we deal with the outcome. When life hands you lemons, you can do one of the following 3 things: Make some lemonade, grab the salt and tequila, plant a tree or just do all 3!!

Things at work have not been going my way of late and certain bitterness was the result. So yes, I was naturally a little sour for a while. Yes things were not fair but all this was doing was making my life unhappy, no one else’s. So I thought about it, when life hands you lemons …

  1. Make Lemonade.                                                                                                                       Be upset for a while, it’s natural and a way for you to deal with what has happened but do not let the anger consume you because it will just make you negative and hateful.
  2. Grab the Salt and Tequila                                                                                                Take some time to drown your sorrows and work through the incident and how it made you feel. Evaluate things.
  3. Grow a Tree                                                                                                                           Finally take the seeds and plant a tree. Learn from what has happened, you don’t know it but is going to make you stronger. And grow from there.

So in essence, deal with the bad experience. Be angry for a while but move on, then evaluate what has happened and then learn and grow from the experience. Allow it to make you a better and stronger person who will know  what to do if a similar situation should arise again.

So I met this endocrinologist …

I went to the endocrinologist (I had no idea that this was a type of medical doctor, sounds more like a type of paleontologist) and he seemed to be more of a life coach than a doctor. Yes, he did tell me how sugar is the devil and in short, you are what you eat, but he also spoke about life. When I walked in he said, “So, you have the husband, the job and the family, what next?” I jokingly said, ‘retirement’. He didn’t find it funny, instead he went on to explain that no animal in nature besides the human retires.

We spoke about societal pressures and how we never really stop a phase in life, we merely evolve into a new version of it. Like when you’re younger you hang out with a certain type of friend but that friendship changes when you get older. You seek different things in a friendship than you did when you were younger but you still want a friendship. So in life, we want different types of things but we never really retire from it, it just becomes a newer version of itself. We chatted about the phases in life and he went further on to say that when we achieve all that we want then the next step is wellness.

This got me thinking about wellness and why we seek it as an after thought. Once we’ve achieved all we want, once we’ve reached our goals then we turn to our health. Look it seems to be life’s process, you go to school (for what feels like forever), then you work, then you get married or find a partner, then you start a family. Once you’ve reached these life goals then you seek meaning or spiritual fulfillment. But we’re all not the same, our lives don’t all take the same path. So then, why do we follow the same life process. You feel like a failure if your career doesn’t take off once you’ve finished school. Or if you cant have offspring by a certain age (refer to the article It’s easy to flock). You focus on these elements as a stage to pass in life and then only do you move to the next focus.

Look, some of us are lucky enough to find a need for spiritual fulfillment earlier in life, we get involved in the church/temple at a young age or get involved in some kind of community service. But how many of us actually search for self fulfillment, self actualisation till we’ve passed those phases mentioned above. Self-actualisation is explained at this link;  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-and-psychopathology/201308/the-theory-self-actualization

Again I refer to Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, where he also sees self actualisation as the final level of attainment in human needs. Self-actualisation is where we as humans take ourselves into account, a almost retirement as you will, where you now take the time out to focus on your self and find out what you’re about and what you want out of life. But then, is this not a little too late in life, to wait for the near end of it to find out who you are and what you plan to do with this discovery?

The doctor basically told me what I already knew that I needed to do. I need to eat better, exercise more and stress less. But it took this consult to motivate me to change. Why could I not heed my own advise and possibly save a great deal of cash monies? Why do we wait for others to tell us what we already know, and why do we need someone else’s words of advice before we change? It seems that we need an external reinforcement or simply a source other than ourselves to ligitmise our internal thoughts and views.

But perhaps we need to start trusting our guts a little more and believing in the advice that we give ourselves. Let’s not doubt our views because if they’re good enough for someone else, they’re good enough for us. Also, let’s not wait  to reach the top of the pyramid to put ourselves first. Self-actualisation begins today!


The definition of purpose is, “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. This is the reason or motivation for somethings’ existence. Does the same definition apply to an individual? An individual’s purpose is, “a person’s sense of resolve or determination”. I think that both are relevant in describing an individual’s purpose.

You have probably at one time or more contemplated the meaning of life, thrown your hands up to the heaven’s crying, “why am here?”. Unless you’ve had personal talks with the big G-O-D or which ever higher power you may believe in, none of us really know why we’re here and what happens after ‘here’. What is the reason for our existence? I’m sure there is a scientific reason for man’s being but what is the reason for our own individual existence?

While some people may answer that question for you and dictate to you why you’re here and what your purpose is, the truth is that only you know the answer. And only you can define your purpose, only you can find your sense of resolve or determination. Some people search a lifetime to find their purpose, some just know and some sadly never find it. But the truth is that we all have a purpose, we all have a reason for being, a reason for existing. And your purpose is not just to exist.

I define purpose as that which drives you, that which ignites your soul, that which simply, makes you happy. When you find your purpose, you will feel fulfilled. Your purpose could be to create beautiful music and light up peoples souls, it could be to cook amazing food and share love through that (while many may be convinced that they are, not everyone is a good cook), or it could be just to listen to others problems and lend a healing ear. You will not necessarily make money from your purpose or perhaps you will but that should not be the drive behind unlocking your purpose. I feel that your purpose is not only something that will make you happy but will more importantly impact on the lives of others.

This is why the definition of purpose, “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” explains why you are here. You were created for a reason, your existence has a purpose and you have to find your purpose because THAT is why your are here. It was at a lunch with Musa Saurombe, the youngest PhD graduate in Africa, that I was struck by her view of purpose. She says that it is selfish of us not to find our purpose in life because by you not finding out what you were meant to do, you are robbing others of your gift. And that just stuck.

If you have ever felt that you have no direction, that you were put on this earth for no reason or that your life is pointless …. stop!! You are here for a reason, you have a purpose, you just need to hone in and find it. You have to find your gift because if you don’t, you are robbing those you know of your amazingness.