Weekly Reflections – Life begins at 40

This weekend we had the privilage of celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday with him. It was a tad bit early as his birthday is during the week and he lives fairly far from us. My cousin gave a little speech at the get-together that really got me thinking. He spoke about why “life begins at 40” and he made so much sense.

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

He explained that when we reach 40, we stop paying attention to the more frivalous things in life as well as other people’s opinions and we start living life on our own terms. We realise that we probably have fewer years ahead of us than we have behind us and that puts things into perspective for us. Being on the verge of 50 myself, I know exactly what he is talking about.

When I turned 40, things changed both physically and mentally. I felt lighter in some ways. I felt liberated because he is right, this is when you just stop worrying about other people’s opinions and what they want for you. I started focusing on what made me feel more fulfilled rather than just happy (there is a difference) and I started to question what my purpose was and how I was making a positive contribution to this world rather than blindly following what everyone else was doing. I have always walked my own path but half the time it was not done consciously and at 40, I found myself questioning if it was the path I still wanted to be on. I didn’t know it then but I started questioning my commitment to security and started looking for a path I could take to freedom.

I finally acknowledged that I wanted to pursue a career in psychology so I started studying towards a degree in it. I had always rented and didn’t have an issue with that but suddenly i wanted to put down roots for myself and my son so I took a leap of faith and bought property. This was huge for me as I had never liked the idea of being tired down to any thing or any one. I even have a new car. I drove the same car for 17 years!

Now 50 is creeping up on me and there is so much more evolving and growing that I would like to, and feel the need, to do. This past week, the Universe has been throwing rocks at me to let me know that it is time to make some changes. Even my cousin’s speech was a bit of a boulder…lol. It’s time to jump before I am pushed and we all know that when the Universe pushes, it can be through an unpleasant experience. So watch this space. The leap is coming. I know what it needs to be and I am just hatching up the courage to do it.

If you are 40 or over, I would love to hear what changes you found yourself making. Did you change careers? Did you move countries? Or where your changes more subtle but very meaningful to you?

I am sure you agree that at this point in our lives, we are not going through a midlife crises but arriving at a our happy place. We are more comfortable being ourselves and more accepting of others and their choices. I am enjoying getting older. Are you?

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be safe

May you live with ease

Loving Kindness meditation

Bye for now 🌼

Weekly Reflections – 26/2/22

Reflection is a tool that is recommeneded by the business community as well as the self help community. I am sure we all do it but I have to say that most of my reflections have largely being about beating myself up about what I did or didn’t do that day or week. There’s no real benefit in that. This year, since “action” is my word for the year, I have decided to do it in, what I hope is, a more productive way.

Image: Canva

1 self-reflection

If the previous paragraph didn’t give you a hint, it’s that I am waaaay too hard on myself. Whenever something goes wrong, I tend to beat myself up about it. This week I witnessed more people having similar issues to those that I have had and it dawned on me that these things can and do happen to anyone. Even the most experienced in a field or some of the brightest minds that I have the privilege to work with/know. Sh*t happens. It is not about me but there are always lessons I can take from it. I don’t have all the answers and I never will. I just need to identify the right people who do have the answers I need.

1 thing I read

My book of the week is “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel.

“I have no sunk costs” This was Daniel Kahneman’s response to Jason Zweig when he asked him how he could start again on a chapter even though they had already completed a draft. Morgan Housel defines “Sunk Costs” as anchoring decisions to past efforts that can’t be refunded. He also says that they make our future selves prisoners to our past, different, selves. How much do you hold on to because of the time or money you have already sunk into it even though it no longer serves you? This was a reminder for me to continue the physical and mental decluttering journey I have been on over the past few months. There is so much more I still need to let go of.

1 thing I heard

“The reason why a lot people won’t become who they want is because they’re too attached to who they have been” Lisa Nicols on Instagram. This relates to sunk costs again. I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something here ☺️. Guess I need to speed up the decluttering and letting go process. It sounds like the Universe has something good in store for me 😉

1 thing I saw

George and Georgina’s mum had more kittens and once again she brought them over to my courtyard. She must feel safe with us. It’s being awesome watching how much they have developed over this week. They started the week getting up on very shaky legs and playing with each other in slow motion and have ended it on stronger legs and a little faster and more agile. I am blown away at how they already know to groom themselves too. They are so gorgeous. And yes, I have asked our body corporate to have her spayed but until they do, my door is always open to her and her kittens.

Play time with big sister (she stole the box I put for them to huddle in🙈)

Sadly George ran off about 3 weeks ago. We miss him terribly but we can only pray that he is happy and safe wherever he is. Georgina missed him the most and has been terribly lonely but I see that she is now taking on and enjoying the role of big sister.

The last pic I took of George the day before he ran off. 😔

1 thing I am grateful for

I am blessed to have a home which is filled with love. I am blessed that my son and I can feel safe within it’s boundaries and that even a stray cat finds our yard a safe space for her and her little family. Thank you God for enabling this for us.

There was way more I learnt, saw and experienced this week but I will stop here.

I will leave you with a blessing a learnt this week:

  • May you be happy
  • May you be healthy
  • May you be safe
  • May you live with ease

Bye for now 🌼

Living through a Failed Insurrection…

It’s been 2 weeks since our lives were turned upside down by, what the government calls, a failed insurrection. 2 weeks since we were traumitised by the sounds of gunshots in our neighbourhoods as we tried to get some semblence of rest at night and were faced with the sights and sounds of people’s livelihoods being looted and then burnt to the ground. If ever you wanted to understand the value of faith and living in the now, trust me when I say that an experience like this can bring it home very quickly. I have spent the past week trying to process everything that has happened and what is actually going on inside of me. Today was the first time that I actually took the time out to just be and to rest. My self-care Saturday. I also spent the time reflecting on what on what I have learned as well and would like to share it with you.

The Power of Faith

The unrest really started affecting us on the Sunday. By then reports were coming through that main roads where being blocked in the city but I wasn’t too concerned as we have been through this countless times before and the police would always stop it before things got out of control. That evening, the president announced a 9pm curfew to help curb the spread of covid. To my surprise, the main road that my bedroom window faced buzzed like it was the middle of the day after 9pm. Little did I know that it was looters on their way to help themselves to good in the warehouses in the industrial area down the road from me. By 11pm I was chatting to my friends aunt in a nearby suburb who was terrified because of all the gunfire she could hear. I thought it was an isolated incident. Then I started hearing it too. Not a lot but any gunfire is not normal so fear started to kick in. Fortunately my son was by his dad so I didn’t have to worry about him immediately. I slept for about an hour at a time that night.

Monday was the scariest day because reality started to kick in and I began to worry about my son. I knew he was safe with this dad but he wasn’t with me and that bugged me more than I realised. As a mum it is important that I always have him within my sight when there is imminent danger. On Monday night, the gunfire got worse and I was acutely aware of the sounds of the looters transporting their goods along the road just a few 100m’s away from my bedroom window. Sleep did not come easy or stay long when it did come. By Tuesday morning I was at breaking point. My son’s father wanted to bring him home as his business was affected and he needed to focus on sorting that out. I needed to get my son home safely. I was a wreck. Thankfully, my friend drove the route for me and assured me it was safe to go so I managed to get him home safely. Once he was home, it was even more important not to fall apart and that is when I realised I needed to make a choice. I could choose to continue consuming information coming at me and live in fear about things that are out if my control or I could choose to leave all that was happening out there at God’s feet and focus on what was in my control, namely, keeping the environment within our 4 walls as normal as possible under the circumstances mainly and helping out neighbours where I could. I slept so peacefully that Tuesday night after making the decision that I did not hear the explosions that apparently rattled our windows at 4am from the warehouse fire in our backyard. I have to admit that when that fire started, I was packed and ready to go in case it spread our way. Thankfully, it never came to that. That emergency bag remains packed though as I this experince has taught me that it just makes sence to always have one on standby.

By Wednesday, I felt very calm on the outside but I could feel the terror still bubbling underneath. I have to admit that it was the weirdest feeling ever. I think by Wednesday though, everyone was tired of living in fear and so we were all drawn to pray to turn the situation around. We had an interfaith online prayer session at work for everyone in the company. Our team at work also had a pray session in the evening. Friends that I spoke to on Thursday also found that they were drawn to pray on the Wednesday. Thursday was a calmer day. It felt like our prayers had been answered. Suddenly people started looking for food as they were not prepared for this and were running out of basics. Some areas had no more stores or the stores they did have were empty. So we continued to pray. By Friday, stories started trickling in of free bread and milk being made available by kind hearted souls and especially by the Muslim community. The government was making an effort to get food to our province. People started cleaning up and the atmosphere changed. It was amazing to witness. Pray with faith changes things. You have to believe to recieve.

The Aftermath

While I was definitely shielded from the worst of it, I am surprised by how trautamitised I still feel to an extent. What has also surprised me is how quickly I am still triggered by certain things.

  • I learned very quickly that when a lot of the looters were moving about at night in the neighbouring suburb, all the neighbouredhood dogs would go wild. As a result, when a dog starts barking at night, I automatically tense and wait to hear if the rest start up as well.
  • I was woken up at 1am on Friday morning by the smell of smoke. I was so freaked out. It was a fire quite far from me but I was only able to fall asleep again at around 4am.
  • Yesterday I saw a fire raging in, what appeared to be, one of the surrounding industrial areas that had been targeted. I instantly tensed up and wondered if it was the unrest starting all over again.
  • I am virtually jump out of my skin at any loud sound. They other day I was pottering in my garden when I heard a loud noise. My neighbour opened a window that sticks. I thought I was going to have a heart attack!

I know that just about everyone around me is also still feeling very alert. Even though life has largely gone back to normal on the outside, it is still far from normal on the inside. It’s definitely going to take some time to truly learn to relax again.

Dealing with an event like this also brought into sharp focus that there actually is a lot that is out of my control and that the future is promised to no-one. Things happened so quickly and the only things that I could really control were my choices regarding the actions that I could take from moment to moment. It terrified me on the one hand but on the other it was strangely comforting to just let go and live in the moment. I have learned to be prepared but understand and accept that I can only control my choices. The rest is not up to me. I also have to constantly remind myself that I need to lay the fear at God’s feet and trust that He has my back.

Gratitude

It’s not possible to come through this experience without feeling lots of gratitude. Gratitude for the communtity members who put their lives on the line every night to keep us safe in our homes. Gratitude that we are safe and sound, have hot running water and electricity in our homes and have cupborads full of food. There are far too many in our country that can’t say the same. Gratitude for the friends and family that constantly checked on me and my son telephonically. Gratitude for the company that I work for and the leadership team who were so supportive to everyone during the entire ordeal and gave everyone the space they needed to do what needed to be done. Gratitude that as a single mum, I have the means to always overstock because I don’t have someone to send out for stuff if I run out of something, especially at night. Alex and I had enough food to keep us going for at least 2 weeks which probably puts me in teh league of the doomsday preppers 😜😂

This event in our history highlighted all that is so great about South Africans and also hammered home that for too many it’s a frustrating struggle to put food on the table for their families everyday and to keep a roof of sorts over their heads everyday and live a dignified life. That was just one of the many reasons why it happened in the first place. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or how we will solve our problems as a country. What I do know is that I have today and, between covid and this past event, I have learned that today is precious and is to be experienced in every possible way.

Thanks for letting me share my experience with you. Stay safe!

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