Goodbye

I was sent the following obituary from my husband. I certainly do not take any credit for this and have no idea who we owe the credit to, but it is something I have to share. There is so much truth in it and at the same time so much sadness.

Here it goes…

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain
  • Why the early bird gets the worm
  • Life isn’t always fair
  • And maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death:

  • by his parents – Truth and Trust
  • by his wife – Discretion
  • by his daughter – Responsibility
  • and by his son – Reason

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers:

  • I Know My Rights
  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is To Blame
  • I’m A Victim
  • Pay Me For Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If I could, I would even go so far as to add that Common Sense indeed could be categorized as a value. But, I honestly cannot add any more words to this. It is what it is.

Goodbye sound judgement, goodbye Common Sense.

Ever wonder what social media says about you?

Have you ever asked the Oracle (The Wisdom of the Oracle) about who you are? You know, type in your first and last name on the internet and then select the search option. I thought to myself that I am pretty well hidden from the public eye, off social media and maybe even almost off-grid. And yet this is what I found:

  • 15 Profiles on Facebook
  • 7 LinkedIn profiles (one is actually mine!)
  • 1 Twitter account
  • 1 YouTube account
  • 1 Pinterest account
  • A French-English translation service
  • Results from the 1940 census
  • Manuscript preparations for a publication of an economic book
  • Results from a phone tracker
  • Divorce records
  • Drakensburg Northern trail run results

So let me sum it up for you:

According to social media, I appear to be a divorced individual, born in the earlier half of the 20th century (as I was part of the 1940 census). An avid trail runner, fluent in French and of course English. For this I offer a translation service (I do hope I make some money from this!). Apparently I also write, despite having a publisher. All in the name of Economics. You know, take risks and then figure out the fine print later (excuse the pun)! I am also an avid user of social media tools despite my age. Maybe even important or popular enough to be easily located in the so-called yellow pages.

Mmm…

I have to admit that only one point is true and quite frankly, I love to be the me as I am today, than the me social media (Social Media or Social Murder) has concocted me to be.

Worth some looking into!

Nature at it’s best

This past weekend my hubby and I took a well deserved time-out weekend. The time we get to spend with each other is so important. It mends. It heals. It sets free. It knits us together, intertwining with much color and character. So when these weekends come around, we cherish them deeply and hold them really close to our hearts. Especially when we experience something amazing together. I mean that’s what it is all about right? Being a witness to your partner’s life (Food for Thought).

So we headed out to a quiet, remote place. The number one prize certainly being a place where we could fly our drones. Just to give you an idea of this place, here is a piece of drone videography showing the stretch of river just outside our cottage:

A beautiful stretch, quiet, teeming with birdlife. Whilst paddling a rubber-duck boat, we were privileged to catch a glimpse of a rather large legavaan, a few pairs of Egyptian geese, beautiful black shouldered kites, fish as long as my arm and most of all we got to see the highly elusive, aloof and shy bird, the African Finfoot. A duck I thought at first, but boy was I wrong!

My hubby’s face lit up with glee as he suggested the possibility of finding this rarely sighted specie was indeed a privileged treat. Apparently they not easy to sight and the Oracle (The Wisdom of the Oracle) classifies this beautiful bird as part of the Crane family. It even walks on water. A real treat for birders:

A real treat for us. Amazing!

So wherever you are this weekend, pay attention to each moment. Maybe you will experience something beautiful.

What a load of pillows!

Did you know that the right pillow is actually quite important for a good night’s sleep? In fact, a good pillow not only supports your neck and back while you rest, but also will improve your overall sleep quality which in turn has a ripple effect on your overall quality of life. Sleep is important so that our bodies can regenerate and heal and build up reserves we can draw on in this exceedingly stressful world.

And so my story begins.

Generally I’m a fairly light, side sleeper. Occasionally though, I lay on my back and apparently break out in snorbys (click here to learn More about a snorby), but I really like that cuddle position. Holding onto the duvet in the fetal position with just my eyes or head sticking out. Even in summer, having that comfort of a covering I can hold onto brings a sense of relaxation.

But here’s the thing. For a long time, I’ve been waking up with a stiff neck which of course leads to a tension headache. Not pleasant at all.

Now, let me just let you know what pillows I have:

  • Hollow fibre
  • Memory foam, and
  • Shredded bamboo memory pillows

All of them garanteed to be a great combination of weapons in any pillow fight, but for other purposes such as sleeping, they only work for short periods of time and often my hubby and I are swopping them out between the two of us.

Wanting to ensure we remain environmentally conscious with our purchases, my husband assured me that we should just look at the Tempur range. The true Rolls Royce of pillows, starting around R1600 a pillow. I mean that’s just crazy.

After spending a good forty-five minutes in the shop, trying out all the different shapes and sizes, I finally selected the standard Tempur memory foam rectangular pillow. I had to swallow my pride (and my credit card too). To be honest, I was starting to feel just a little excitement to get to bed that night, thinking I was in for a seriously good night’s sleep (picturing myself sleeping on wads of notes!). I mean this is the Rolls Royce after all.

And boy what a ride! It didn’t work. I again woke up with a stiff neck. Saddened. Disappointed. Now what?!

Pillows apparently cannot be returned as they are termed a hygienic product. Needless to say, I was determined to try my luck. We went back and pleaded. Softened my voice. Batted my sad eyes. My hubby chipping in to work some extra magic. And even after all that, the sales guy could not do anything other than to contact his manager the following day. Credits to him for trying! He indeed followed through and eventually came to my rescue and made a plan for me to swop it out. Really impressive. That’s certainly what I would expect from a Rolls Royce experience!

And now to add to my ever growing list of pillows, I now have a Velfont latex pillow. I mean just listen to this:

This pillow features a natural, ecological breathable latex core. The material holds its shape, is flexible and highly adaptable, with a double anti-stress cover!

Now not only should I sleep better but I will also be stress free! And for half the price! What more could one ask for!

Me-cracy

Early on this week, I headed out in my car to go to work. It was a cold, crisp winter’s morning. The dark night sky still heavily set in place. My heightened awareness attempting to wake up. My fingers and toes slowly thawing out with the warm air of the heater. Coming to a stop as the robot turned red, something caught my eye. I looked twice just to make sure. And there it was!

Just take a moment…

# I apologised for the poor quality of the pictures, only had my phone on hand!

Yes, I know you were expecting a catchy heart thrilling story here, but what I saw was the above sign. The sign that belongs to Menlyn Mall, one of the biggest malls in South Africa. The lights on the sign were clearly not working except for the first two letters. I had to laugh and have to say how appropriate and true it is in today’s day and age!

I call it Me-cracy.

The one that this is all about. The one that wants it all. The one that will use anything to get ahead. I have to wonder how long our society can continue this way. Name brands. Egos. Stuff. Materialism. Greed.

And guess what?

In the end, we die and absolutely none of that stuff goes with us. It sure doesn’t bring happiness. And yet it satisfies and feeds on our greed for more and more stuff. I still believe that greed is the driving factor of most our actions – the intense and selfish desire for something, as the dictionary so aptly describes it.

I wonder what it would take to rid ourselves of the me aspect!

Let me suggest this post for further insight:

In Pursuit of Happiness

Motivation

I have to admit that over these past few weeks I have had this strange phenomenon of not being motivated. I don’t want to run, I don’t want to work, cook, or even get out of bed. So not me! And no, it’s not that I’m unhappy or depressed. I have so much to be grateful for and I have so much that makes life worth living. I’m just honestly at a point where it feels as though I am in limbo, waiting for that next level of engagement so to speak.

I guess we have all heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The need to sustain our bodies in every way; the need to feel safe and protected; the need to truly belong to family and friends; the need to feel respected and hold a level of recognition across all groups; and finally the need to be who we were made to be, the epitomy of peak spiritual experiences.

Simply put, the hierarchy is as follows:

And maybe the answer is right in front of me. What I do know is that I am most likely in limbo between Esteem and Self-Actualization. But how does one move into and remain in this realm? How does one tap into that deep innermost potential? How does one simply become?

I often imagine myself going to a Buddhist retreat in Tibet and working progressively through a meditation programme until it has been mastered. And once attained, the Bhuddist monk will declare: ‘You have arrived, you have become!’

Somehow, I don’t think it is that easy!

For some time now, I’ve been setting goals, achieving some and coming short in others. The ones I have achieved, those experiences are short-lived, despite learning so much about myself. So of course I decided to consult one of the most popular resources known as the Oracle (The Wisdom of the Oracle).

Before I go any further, I just want to point this out: You know that feeling when someone dangles a really juicy metaphorical carrot in front of you and it gets closer and closer the harder and harder you work at it? And just when its almost in your grasp, you reach out to take hold of it and just as you do so, the puppet master (AKA life) pulls the strings and instantly moves it away. The carrot is replaced by a different carrot, further away, maybe much smaller and less appealing. And all you can think about is that you’ve expended so much energy and time and effort on the first carrot that when the goal post changed, you’re left feeling exhausted, confused and frustrated.

So this is pretty much how I felt after consulting the Oracle. I found this additional motivation theory model:

It doesn’t end at Self-Actualization! So now we enter a realm that is no longer driven by need deficiencies but driven by the need for self-growth. The need to be the best that one can be. Here we need to identify what will lead us to the ultimate self-fulfillment.

What is that? What form will it take? Will I have enough curiosity to explore? Will I be able to generate as many peak experiences of growth that will bring self-fulfillment?

In all honesty, I cannot answer these questions. So now what? How does one transition forward without the reverse happening? How does one look towards and embrace Self-Actualization when one’s country is falling apart and again brings us full circle back into questioning our basic needs, needs where one really shouldn’t have to worry anymore. Progression should not result in regression. The goal posts are not consistent.

I have to admit I have yet to find the answer here and I’m guessing this may just be a long journey. I’m also pretty sure that I’m not alone in this so any words of wisdom would be happily invited.

The Fat Spat

WARNING: Not to be read by the faint hearted or easily offended.

This past week travelling home on the train, I landed up sitting with three rather large Afrikaans men. Decent enough to be classified as gentlemen and not overly in your face, which is not something one wants on a busy stuffy train, late in the afternoon. What really got me though, was that all three of these men had those large bellies that hung heavily into their laps, uncomfortably so. To me they were large boeps. Exceedingly off-putting.

As a woman I have to say, I love it when my man is in good shape, toned and taking care of himself. It really is important and it’s also important for that chemistry that plays such a critical part in intimacy.

I know this might be a difficult message and probably not the first time you have heard this, but I’m just going to put it out there. If you are not looking after yourself; if your partner, husband or wife (ladies we are certainly not off the hook here either) does not find you attractive in whatever way; if you are not exercising; if you are not paying attention to your body and what it needs to sustain a healthy life, then we can consider ourselves selfish, lost to bodily greed.

I’m not saying we have to be super models, sleek, slim and with a six pack – although that would be amazing! Carrying belly fat is a risky business and can lead to many medical emergencies and life long financially draining chronic conditions. Remember, belly fat does not only refer to what one can see and feel on the outside, it goes much deeper, to a level called visceral fat. It’s the fat that surrounds your organs and can eventually suffocate and strangle you from the inside out. In essence you become your own murderer. Guilty of homicide.

Not only does one become a burden on society but more so a burden on one’s family. This in itself places unnecessary pressure and stress on the ones that truly love you.

So let’s be honest with ourselves – we should know ourselves well enough to know whether we are where we should be or not. Trust me, there is no judgement here. I often find myself slipping and it’s really hard work getting back to that before place. It takes so much effort, sweat and often tears. We rationalise ourselves into thinking that tomorrow is the answer. Tomorrow will sort everything out. Tomorrow I will eat better, exercise harder. Sound familiar?

And this is where I have to say that I absolutley love the Nike branding:

Just do it!

So how do we do it? Try use these simple tips:

  1. Stop making excuses.
  2. Stop procrastinating. Just get out there.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. And no, healthy does not mean convincing yourself that a salad and a coke go together, all in perfect balance. It’s ok sometimes to have a treat, without feeling guilty.
  4. Exercise – that’s a given. It doesn’t have to be marathons, just something daily like taking the stairs instead of the elevator!
  5. Keep portion checks in size. Our eyes are often way too big for our stomachs. Your stomach is only as big as your closed fist, so keep that as a measurement guide.
  6. Stay away from sugary drinks and excessive alcohol. Limit these to special occasions, again without feeling guilty!
  7. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. It helps having someone who can keep you on the straight and narrow, provide a little motivation and discipline, and joins you in your quest to be healthier.

Well that’s what they say – whoever they are. It takes time and commitment. But then again, what doesn’t? No one said life would be easy and no one has ever been given a manual for life, other than the Bible. No point in thinking about it any longer. Make the decision and do it today!