Friday, December 23, 2011
Life's a journey, right? So do you take the long and windy road filled with obstacles, detours, difficulties or the high road that takes you to your destination efficiently, cleanly and oh so stylishly? The choices we make, shape us into either a beautiful, practical quilt, or an heirloom with lots of intricate patterns, knobbly bits, darned tears - even scratchy lace in places.
Let me explain: along with most of the people I know, my husband and I were invited to attend a historic lecture recently. To get to the venue we all had to travel around 1 600 kms - expensive either in money or in time (or both). We did the calculations and many chose to fly. So did we - and we were offered a spectacular low-cost deal which we gladly accepted.
Then someone suggested a bus trip. If we could organise enough passengers, it would be possible to subsidise some who did not have the funds.
But a bus trip is long. 19 hours one way. Discomfort. Stiff joints. Cramped legs. Motion sickness. Most probably little (or as it turned out, no) sleep. Possibly irritation with others talking too much/too little and other foibles. Close proximity. Idiosyncrasies. Crying babies.
So we chose the long and windy road.
We left with 43 acquaintances and returned with 43 soul mates. Yes, there were moments of near-crying exhaustion and yes, sometimes the music was too loud or we didn't feel like watching that particular DVD and yes, we had to wait for over an hour for somone to return. But in the end, we think it added a beautiful pattern to our life quilt.
I suppose sometimes our weight-loss journeys mimic this. We could pay a highly efficient trainer and whip ourselves into shape. But would we be happy with the sleek, sophisticated result if there were no dimples, dented egos, disappointments or devilish tempations along the way?
Plain or patterned - which are you?
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Confessions. Compelling yet completely humbling: I've been freewheeling for about 2 months. Weighed myself a week ago (it took real courage, I tell you) and how surprised to see it had moved slightly DOWN since last time. Wow. I can actually tackle this heavy weight on my shoulders (nice unintended pun). And up the ante, I'm sure!
Not to add any pressure, I've slowly started reading SP posts after a 2 months abstinence. After ignoring friends for a couple of months, one feels a little sheepish on your return, you know. Good to know there are still people out there who haven't given up the struggle, but I may have to work on my friendship skills ...
At least I hosted a 'Tannie Tea' today (Tannie = affectionate diminutive of Aunt or older female friend in Afrikaans, my mother tongue).
My goodness, it takes a firm resolve to invite a group of octogenarians around for soup and sandwiches! Early in the morning the phone calls started with feeble voices explaining why blood pressure/arthritis/failing sight/a tight chest prevented attendance. (Ironically, these same ones will lament in a month or so that "Nobody EVER invites me to their home!") Tried my best to coax them, but not very successfully. Felt a little deflated (especially when meeting some at the supermarket later, looking quite perky!)
Be that as it may, I had to remind myself to focus on the 11 who pitched up. More happiness in giving and all that! And we had such fun, sharing experiences and inspiration and singing songs together (even though many of us can't hold a note to save our lives! ;-)
So tonight I feel a little tired, but totally satisfied, happy to look for more ways to reach out to others instead of thinking only of my own difficulties. Always puts things into perspective.
But I still have to face that scale!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Confidently you may say "I do" and in explanation add, "I decide where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to spend my time with, what I put in my mouth, what I say ..." and that's when you may hesitate slightly.
The wiser ones among us may be more cautious in their reply to such a philosophical question, and before answering, may inquire "Do you mean who influences my decisions or who controls how much tax I have to pay" (because sages know that humans often may not be in control of their actions except perhaps when they want to respond to a basic need like finding shelter when it starts pelting down and they don't have an umbrella).
To be honest, we can hardly say we decide when we want to eat, play, sleep, exercise or meditate. Oh yes, of course we make plans that we are oh, so determined to keep. But then Life, Emotions, Coincidence, Accidents, Weakness, Peer Pressure and Urges also play their part and we falter.
Take my life, for instance. I've been slaving until the wee morning hours at the office lately. No, it's not for a promotion. Or acknowledgement. Not even for payment. And certainly not to save lives. It's just because I'm in this frenzied vortex of better-the-devil-of-a-job-you-know-than-no
thing-at-all without a way out.
So the prospect of making a long weekend into a weeklong holiday has been something to look forward to. After arriving home this morning at 3:30 am (yes, am), I fell into a deep sleep, woke up at 10, packed our bags, loaded the car (complete with bicycles, tennis rackets, golf clubs, you name it) when we realised that we're not the ones in control.
You see, we have no kids, only kits. But like their human counterparts, they play us like fiddles. And when OliverTwist gets a sniff in the nose that we may be getting ready to take a road trip (they always go with us and quite enjoy the car, mind you) he finds a way to slip away without us noticing.
He was sitting on the balcony wall one second, looking ready to join in in the fun. Next minute he was gone. His baby brother, Pi, is in and out the door, but it could be that he may be too inexperienced to read the signs.
We'll leave for our well-deserved holiday as soon as Master Twist makes his appearance. When HE decides to do so. We've been waiting patiently (or maybe not so patiently) since 12:30. It's been 2,5 hours already.
So as I said, who rules YOUR life? ;-)
BTW in the meantime our friends have left without us. They keep calling to hear if Twist's whiskers have been spotted. Their last call made me wonder about the cat's insight: they've just hit a traffic jam and been stuck for at least an hour. At least I can sit in peace on my couch and write this blog while I wait!
HRH OliverTwist The paw is mightier than the jaw!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Seeing someone lose their cool is surprising, embarrassing and often a little frightening.
Walking to my car in a deserted parking garage, I passed a man talking on his cel. Although I couldn't understand his words, I immediately gathered from his tone that he was irritated, annoyed and frustrated. Next minute he bellowed so loudly that I turned around in alarm. He climbed into his car, but he punched the dashboard so hard, I could hear the reverberation 50 meters away. When he pulled away revving, I determined to stay out of his way on the road. Who knows how many other drivers on the road with similar pent-up anger?
Which brings me to my own seething emotions. After a couple of weeks of disrupted routine, out-of-control work pressure and lack of proper eating or exercise, I started feeling that I'm losing my way.
Deadlines, excitement, uncertainty, long nights, dealing with illness and death all take their toll.
Slow-burning resentment builds and bubbles inside. Expressing it would help the steam to escape, but I keep it all in.
Next, doubt starts eroding confidence. I get scared, yes, irrationally petrified that I've picked up all I've lost and that I'm losing my footing and slipping down the slope.
So I face my fears and climb the scale. I'm relieved that the digits remain the same.
Has it calmed the stormy seas? Most probably not. The rankling remains, even though seemingly bridled.
I carry on, once again determined to log on every day, track my calories, do my exercises and watch for results.
But just wait till I get behind my car's steering wheel. You'd better not be in front of me ...
Sunday, February 20, 2011
First a nip, then a bud. A rolled up gossamer sheath becomes a tender light green leaf. It breathes, matures, becomes hardy - even a little parched or brittle.
In time it loses it's crisp chlorophyll colour, moisture and flexibility. One fine day it lets go of the large tree that anchors and feeds it.
Whether it flutters, drifts or gets whisked around, eventually it reaches the ground. Get's trampled on while staying in shape. Or it could be shattered and crunched into slivers if it's too dry.
It could mean a new start. A great new adventure! Land in a gentle flowing stream and it's an opportunity to visit exotic new locations while meeting interesting odd-ball characters, some of whom may travel along making use of your buoyancy, others clinging on for dear life until they can jump onto a twig or another place of perceived safety. As you float into and out of eddies, most of the time you cannot control the environment.
Or you could be picked up by tender little fingers and pinned into a scrapbook and put on display and help to educate inquisitive minds.
You could also be swept into the trash and ground into fine dust.
As long as you remember that you have been a leaf and you have a life.
So I may not be as green and flexible as I used to be. May have lost some moisture. But I'm still alive and looking forward to many of life's adventures. Who knows where I'll be blown to?
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