Monday, August 30, 2010

Life is an achievement!

I was given the task of listing my top 200 achievements, at first this seemed like an easy task to perform, but as I started this task I realized how difficult it was to list these achievements. I could off course start at being born, go through my whole list of firsts, every grade I passed, but I decided not to go that route because I’m not one of the masses, I’m unique and have my own set of achievements that make me successful and who I am.

The fact that I am who I am where I am and what I am is a testament to all the achievements I have had in my 26 years of living. Yes it starts with the day I was born, but it’s also so much more, its every day I have woken up, survived and seen the end of. I have had days where I have wanted to give up, times I wanted to turn back and other occasions all I’ve wanted to do was run and hide. I have faced situations I didn’t feel I was equipped to handle, dealt with them and moved on a stronger person. There have been moments where I didn’t think I was strong enough to get through but I dug deep, turned to my parent’s strength and teachings and stayed on my feet and came out smiling.

There have been obstacles I should not have had to get over but yet I did and I’m all the stronger for it. Without spilling my guts in this blog, these are all achievements that cannot be counted or measured, but I have ‘survived’ 26 years of life and I’m a better person for each and every achievement, trial and celebration I have witnessed.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of my life has been hard, hurtful and scary! I have had some wonderful moments that have inspired me, taught me some valuable lessons, made me stronger and shown me the beauty of life. I count myself very lucky to have experienced all that I have.

I’m also exceptionally proud of where I am today and for all I have learnt, received and given. Without needing to list my top 200 achievements I know I have achieved so much more…and here’s to the future!

What are your deal breakers?

We all find ourselves in various relationships; friends, family and partners…but what are the deal breakers in your relationships?

We can’t choose our family, but we CAN choose the people we call our friends and partners. We tolerate a lot from the people closest to us as we fully realize that everyone has their own set of faults. But what are the deal breakers we will not accept, that will push us away and end these relationships?

For me there are a few that I will not budge on and they include some of the following:

FAITH – I want a partner that shares the same faith as I do, who is confident in what they believe and what the Bible tells us. I want someone who will support me in my faith, encourage and stand by me as I grow. I want a partner that will not back down when the “right road” gets tough, who will turn to faith and me to get us through the hardship, obstacles and trials. Someone who will celebrate the blessing we receive because of our faith.

FAMILY – My life partner would need to love my family with all their quirks, faults and good qualities just as he would love his own family. My family needs to become his family and he needs to know and feel as if he is a son and not a son-in-law in my family. My family needs to accept him as one of our own, need to embrace him as a son and come to love him as much as I do. I want a partner who wants to have a family with me, and I want to know that my partner will always put us and our needs first, that we will be important and at the centre of his life.

TRUST & HONESTY – To date I have been lied to, manipulated, played and hurt, just as many other people have been. Because of human nature and past experience I haven’t allowed anyone close to me, therefore trust and honesty are two of the core fundamentals I need in a partner before I will give myself completely. I need to know I am safe to be who I am, safe with my partner and that at all times, no matter how hard we be honest with one another. With this comes the reversed trust that my partner will find in me; that I promise to accept and receive the honesty in a manner that invites him to be honest without fear of me reacting negatively. Trust and honesty are a two way street and one I have prided myself in.

ANIMALS – My pets are my family, my children and they get treated as such. My partner will need to share that same love of animals, accept that the dogs will sleep inside, they will be part of the family and that they are important to me.

LOVE – I want to be loved, loved for who I am and accepted with all my negative and positive attributes. I want to be loved without a partner changing me into who I am not. I want to be loved unconditionally and I want to be able to see it in his eyes when he looks at me, I want to hear it in his voice when he talks to me (or about me) and I want to feel his love in his embrace. I want to know I have found my other half and that I will never be half again.

AMBITION – I’m a woman with loads of ambition but it has a flaw, I tend to want to run before I can crawl. I want a husband that will support my ambition without resentment and will encourage me every step of the way. Similarly I want a husband that has a healthy ambition, who strives to be the best he could be, to have a passion for what he does and to always remember that power, money and status is not the alpha and omega in our lives. I want to know that my family will be taken care of but not neglected because of any obsession with wealth.

MY 3 F's

There are many things in this life that motivate me; it all depends on where I am in my life and what’s going on around me. At the top of my list of motivators are my three F’s…friends, family and my faith.

I have been blessed with friends who I have come to love as extended family. They have been a support system, accepted me for who I am, encouraged me in my dreams and my life’s goals and stood by me through the trials I have faced. These friends have embraced me and motivated me without casting judgment, never questioning my decisions, but always near with a hand to help, some good advice and many moments of laughter. They all stand right beside me when tackling a new adventure; they share in all the fun in my life and appear in hundreds of photographs capturing our strong bonds.

My family is my base from which I was formed and continue to grow. They are part of who I am and I am part of who they are. We are each others friends and we never leave anyone behind. We stand together through all life’s ups and downs as we tackle life and what it has to offer us. I know my family support me in all that I do, always ready with a congratulatory cheer or comforting hug when needed. They are there to motivate me every step of the way and they love me regardless of whether I achieve my goals or not. I know I’m never alone in this world and that I have some very enthusiastic fans along the road of life dressed in pom-poms cheering me along every step of the way.

At the top of my list is my faith in Jesus Christ. Without my faith I wouldn’t have the friends I have or the relationship I have with my family. I wouldn’t have the peace I have with where my life is heading; I would be filled with worry, with uncertainty and a false sense of security.

My faith has motivated me to ends where nothing else has been able to motivate me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fond Memories of Home, a Small Town called Robertson

I had the good fortune to have grown up in a small town, called Robertson; about two hours drive outside of Cape Town. Many of you might know this town because of its famous race horse breeding, great wines, beautiful roses and delicious fruit and cheese.

I know this town as being home, as the place that gave me freedom to learn, discover and grow while feeling safe and free.

I fondly remember the days playing in the ‘sloot’ (Afrikaans for a residential irrigation sluice) because we didn’t have a swimming pool. Oh no, do not pity me here, even my friends who had pools had more fun playing in the sluice. We spent our afternoons folding and decorating paper boats as we raced them down the road, playing imaginary games with the neighbourhood kids.

There were numerous evenings spent cycling around the cul-de-sac we lived in as our parents tried to bribe us to come home to bath, eat and get into bed. We loved weekends because our parents usually gave in and let us play and race for a few hours extra. We spent more time outdoors than in, our parents struggled to get us inside and we hardly ever spent much time in front of the television.

In fact, the only TV I remember watching fondly was the Loony Tunes cartoon at 7am while dressing for school or trying to force down the breakfast my mom tried to convince us was good for us. There were other favourite programmes such as Pumpkin Patch, ‘Dawie die Kabouter”, “Brak en Jan” and many others, but outdoor fun with friends just appealed to us so much more.

Other fond memories include ‘stealing’ neighbours pumpkin flowers, making rings out of them and selling them back to their owners at 2c all the while not realizing had the neighbours had full knowledge of what we had done. Looking back I realize what part they played in our development and fun as we all lived in the cul-de-sac bordering a tiny river flowing through town.

Talking about the river we spent many summers in, reminds me of all the time we played there catching little mole snakes, tadpoles and various other interesting creatures we could find. It was save to play in the river, we didn’t contract any illnesses or come to any harm. Our parents knew where we were and we learnt numerous lessons as we grew older.

Weekends were spent on friend’s farms, playing in the fields or in and around the stables while pretending we were horses or horse owners. This developed into a fascination of horses as we started taking lessons, enjoyed rides and learnt how to care for these magnificent animals.

When the dreaded teen years approached, we forgot all about the fun, thought the town was just to small and boring. But looking back now I realize how privileged I was to have had the upbringing I had. All those years spent wishing I had grown up in the city were so misleading and a waste of years I could have spent appreciating the benefits of growing up in a small town.

Elephant in the Room - What we don't say out...

We all go through life, interacting with various people…colleagues, friends, strangers and family. We share conversations, debate various topics, argue and share an assortment of information on an ongoing basis. With all the conversations going on daily, many of us have a gigantic elephant following us, filling the spaces we find ourselves in. This elephant holds all we hide from those we interact with, the things we are too afraid to say or the conversations we seem to think are taboo.

Where did we go wrong, who decided which subjects were off the table and when did we stop being open, honest and free to discuss what’s on our minds? I’ll tell you, we did it to ourselves. We judge each other so harshly and we all want to get ahead, therefore we hide information that could help someone else, we hold our cards close to our vests and we manipulate and obscure information.

We feed the elephant that sits in the back of the room when we hide from our true feelings, when we don’t speak up for fear of the reaction we might get. This elephant keeps growing until its so huge that is suffocates us to a point where we no longer know what’s truth and fiction.

Deflate that elephant before you no longer have space, find a way to state what’s on your mind without hurting those around you, learn to be honest in a constructive manner and learn to appreciate your own opinion and mind as you start to live without an elephant in the room.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I have learnt...

In my 26 years of living, I have had to learn many lessons, some of them very obvious but I needed some reminding, some of them a surprise as I hadn’t even contemplated them and others were hard to learn but I believe I got through it stronger and the wiser for it. I’ve listed a few of these lessons, ones that came to mind and I’m sure many of you can identify with more than just one or two of them.

Tears are a good way to cleanse your soul, rid your body and mind of pent-up emotion, recharge your heart and soul and just shed a few good tears. Ever just watched a movie that made you tear-up, but you felt so good afterwards?

There are people, in this world and in our lives that are going to hurt us, who are going to disappoint and reject us. Do not waste your time on these unfortunate people for they weren’t able to see your worth, they weren’t able to see past their own insecurities, hurts, failures and blindness. Show them respect, love and grace and you’ll be the better person for it.

Counting calories, watching every little grain that passes your lips is tiring, its time consuming and it won’t prevent the weight from settling on your hips. Rather train yourself to eat in moderation, to eat when hungry and not out of habit and to savour what you do eat so that your body will feel and know it is full and satisfied. If you’re a Christian, then feast rather on scripture.

No one, but you, is responsible for your life; no-one is able to dismiss who and what you are unless you allow them to. You are unique, one-of-a-kind and don’t let anyone tell you differently or take that away from you.

Through trials, the ups and downs I have leant that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I might be able to carry 20+ kg’s with little effort, but I am also strong in principle, I’m strong enough to withstand what is thrown at me and I will survive any hurt I may experience, I can endure what life throws my way.

Letting go does not mean I have given up, it means I have found a way around the obstacle in my way, I have found a way to survive without what I have been yearning and I have changed the course of my life for the better.

No matter how bad life might get, the sun will always rise the following day and it will grant us the opportunity to fix what is wrong, to enjoy what is right and to better what can be improved.

Friends come and go, some of them stay longer than others and some of them form stronger bonds. But each of them have a purpose in our lives; some will share our lives, the ups and the downs while others will be in our lives for a brief period as they bring to our lives what they were meant to. They complete their purpose and leave our lives.
Its trust that when one door closes, another opens! So when it opens, ensure that you are standing ready to step over that threshold and take the bull by its horns. Don’t wait on someone else to push you through the door; it might close before you have taken your opportunity.

“I don’t know” or “I need help” doesn’t make you a coward or an idiot; it means you are human and that you have enough courage to show your vulnerability which in turn makes you brave. People will have respect for individuals who aren’t afraid to be who they are even when face ridicule.

Picking fights are a good way of getting rid of built up tension…however they are draining, hurtful, a huge waste of my time and often end with us having said things we cannot take back.

However, fighting for the things that matter in our life is vital, standing up for what you believe in, for your morals and values, your family and those closest to you. Never back down from what you believe and stand firm against those who oppose you.

Guys will be guys and girls will be girls…this seems simple yet we are forever trying to understand the opposite sex, trying to figure out what’s going on in the others head, mind and heart. Spare yourself the frustration and the agony and just enjoy the fact that we are different and that’s what makes relationships so interesting and intriguing.

That a true friend is someone who knows the worst of you, yet still stick around even when the tough get tougher. True friends can be called upon at anytime of the day and they can be counted on no matter the crises. They will comfort you, support you and listen to you for hours on end, putting their own needs second to yours and ensuring that you will get over what is bothering you.

We are going to experience a certain amount of disappointments, as they are important in our lives, however its how we learn to deal with and overcome them that will determine how ‘successful’ we are in life. Learn to laugh in the face of disappointments and you will survive this life seemingly untouched.

Lastly and most importantly for me, is learning that I'm not in control, I cannot fix everything for everyone and that even when I hurt, even when I'm confused or unsure, happy or sad that God is with me. He is in control, He knows what is best for me and He won't let harm come to me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"When Life Hand You Lemons, Make Lemonade"

We should never let a bad day be enough to discourage us, to convince us to give up, withdraw or back down. We all wish every day would be a good day, but the reality is that most days we will experience some sort of “bad”, but we should remember that there are a few someone’s out there who feel just like we do. There is no living person on earth who can say that every day has been a good day for them…not in the natural sense of the word. During our lifetime we all face a whole string of bad things happening to us which turn a good day into a bad day.

Bad things are part of our daily lives, part of who we are and what happens to us. Instead of letting it get us down, instead of giving up or throwing in the towel, we should try and find the positive in everything, concentrate on what can be learnt from that experience, how can we turn it into something good, something that will benefit our lives and the lives of those it affects.

We all have our own histories filled with things we regret, words we wish we had never said or could take back. There are those of us who have things we wish we could undo, and things we wish we could redo. But in the end we should realize that they are all lessons we have to learn to get ahead in life and grow who we are.

So take the lemons life has dealt you and decide whether it will end up on the compos heap rotting or if you will enjoy a tall glass of cool lemonade.