Life

F5 – Refresh

So to say things have been crazy would be an understatement. Hence my absence on this blog. A broken laptop, non-consistent internet connection and a crazy schedule has thrown writing by the wayside.

The last time I wrote I mentioned that my company might be merging with another. This January the merge has been approved. It has been and still is an uncertain and stressful time as I am unsure if I will still have a job after April. For the most part I have been keeping positive but it is not always easy. What a way to start the year and with each new year like most people we all want to do and be better. I have never been a fan of New Years resolutions but this year I am making an exception. Although I am not truly viewing it as resolutions but more as lifestyle changes. Below is my list of changes (and already existing habits) that I intend to implement:

Rediscover my passion for writing (literally as I am typing these words I realise how much I have missed it). I aim to write a minimum of one blog post per month and to start doing things and living a life worth writing about.

Pick up my camera again – I can’t even remember the last time I took photos. If it means taking up a 30 day photo challenge to kick start my hobby then that is what I will do.

Focus on my studies, as in not only the bare minimum but actually setting time aside daily to study for at least an hour. This way I won’t stress when exams come around and I will feel more prepared. Also better grades and who doesn’t want that.

Travelling – since I came back from my 1 year hiatus away from the real world I have not been able to give travelling a second thought. I have decided to no longer put off my desire to go to Italy. My next trip abroad will be Italy no matter what. I want to hit the big 3 (Roma, Venezia and Toscana) and spend the bulk of my trip in Bologna in Emilgia Romanga. I do still want to incorporate smaller trips, weekends away in and around Cape Town. I tend to forget tourists spends thousands of Rands every year just to travel to Cape Town and I am still not taking full advantage of what my home country has to offer.

Jogging – I used to jog regularly but an ankle injury a couple of years ago put an end to that. I started again end of last year, not pushing myself too hard and it has been going well. That is, until my ankle problems popped up again. This time however I am taking action. I went to see my GP, went for x-rays and I am waiting to be referred to a specialist. I will do everything I can in my power to heal myself so that I can take up jogging full time again. In the meantime I will stick to walking, swimming and yoga to keep fit and help me achieve my goals.

Eating well, as in eating as healthy as possible and watching my calorie intake. In theory it is simple, expend more energy than you consume and weight loss will follow. My doctor has recommended that I try banting (high fat, medium protein and low carb diet), but I am not a fan of diets especially ones that are too restrictive. I think most people know what the healthy choices are, it’s just a matter of making these lifestyle choices habits. I also do not believe of depriving myself of anything as that often results in binge eating on the forbidden food.

Find balance – with all of the above floating around on my to do list I want to remember to take time to relax and focus on things that bring me pleasure and that is not goal-oriented.

Be more spiritual – find the time to talk to God, this is something that has dwindled to non-existent in my life. There was a time when I was constantly plagued with doubt about who is up there watching over us. I do however realise that whenever I pray I feel better and this is a feeling that I want to hold on to for as long or often as possible.

Stop-multitasking – I used to think multi-tasking was an essential skill but I have come to realise that spreading myself too thin is not good for me in the long term. Even a simple thing as watching a movie. I find myself watching a movie or a series and being on my phone at the same time. Instead of just relaxing and enjoying some down time, I feel that doing two things at once will somehow save me time. At work it’s the same, I have numerous tabs open and end up taking forever to finish something. I want to focus on the task at hand and do that to the best of my ability. Also to-do lists are underrated.

Zero-clutter – I dislike owning too many things. This is one thing that I am generally good at. The minute I buy myself something new I get rid of or giveaway something old or that I no longer have any use for. Years of moving around honed this skill. The less you own, the less there is to pack and unpack and should I ever decide to pack up again and live overseas there will be less to get rid of or to put into storage.

I have shared some really personal things in this post which I don’t normally do. But this will be the focus of my blog. I find it easier to write about things that have a true meaning for me or things that I struggle with daily. I will talk more about my weight-loss journey as this is my biggest goal for the year.

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fashion, Life

Too little, too late?

I’ve always been a hard worker. I worked full-time and studied part-time in order to achieve my goals. Working your way up the ladder in the fashion industry is not easy. You have to pay your dues. It is not the glamorous world that tv shows and films depict. Not only is it hard work but sucking up and socializing with the higher-ups will speed up the process. I am not the sucking kind so this has hampered my progress. I feel that working hard and believing in your self is what gets one ahead. A bit naive but there it is.

About a year ago however I made a surprising discovery. I started writing and realised that I loved it and would love to be able to pursue a career that allow me to do this. I always made a decision to travel as the bug bit me hard after my trip last year to Spain and Turkey. So I then made the decision to quit my job to travel and teach English in Thailand. This will be my base to visit the surrounding countries and friends who have invited me to visit them across Europe. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I have never done anything like this. I’m a homebody and prefer staying in and being around family and a few close friends. I am definitely stepping way out of my comfort zone but feel I need extra inspiration to kick-start my writing.

So life changing  decision made and plane ticket booked and then about a month ago I get a call from one of South Africa’s biggest fashion retailers based in Johannesburg asking me if I would be interested in a Shoe Buyer position. This was a position I have coveted for years and a few months ago I would have jumped at the opportunity. I declined and did not give it another thought. Then this week I received a phone call from another fashion retailer this one based in Durban wanting to know if I would be interested in a Sourcing Manager position. Again I had to decline but then I started wondering what does this mean? Should I take it as a sign to stay or should I ignore these distracting temptations? I feel it is a case of too little too late, where were these headhunters when I really needed them? I am following a completely different career path now and it feels right and at this stage I need to follow my gut instincts and go overseas as planned.

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Life

Why I love to-do lists

To do lists are perfect for a control freak like me. The more in control I feel the less I suffer from anxiety although I do realise that there will always be things that will be out of my control and well sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.

However for things that I can control this is where my to do lists come into play. I have lists for everything. The reason for this is that I love the feeling of achievement and accomplishment when I am able to tick something off my list as completed. It does not matter how big or small the task. I put a deadline date next to goal and work towards that. Works every time. It’s interesting to note that one of the first things I told the young girl that I mentor on weekends is to create a list and I must proudly say she is steadily working through her lists and ticking things off as we go along.

I always thought it’s a good idea for a goal oriented person to have lists so that you know exactly what it is you need to do to attain your dreams and hearts desires. That’s just me I guess.

All opinions are my own and no writer (me) was harmed in the process.

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Life

It is easier to find an excuse than to find a reason – Doug Brown

Most of us make excuses about why we aren’t living the lives we want or doing the things we love. It takes a very brave person to not only discover the dream/passion but also to pursue it. The company I work for has made improvements to the systems that we currently work with and unfortunately this has resulted in people losing their jobs or unsure about what their future might hold. Here’s the thing: none of us really knows what life has in store for us but it is our duty to shape as much of our destiny as we possibly can.

Too many of these people some of whom has been with the company for years sadly only see this as negative and not as an opportunity or catalyst for change. Even as the most loyal of employee there are no guarantees in life. The only thing in life that is constant (other than death and taxes) is change. They find it easier to complain about their job and company for years yet are not willing to make a change in their lives. They believe they are either too old or not qualified enough to pursue anything else.

It’s at times like this when I am most proud of my mother – who not only at her age was still able to find a new job but she also discovered what it is that she really wants to do. She is registering at varsity and getting her teachers diploma. She plans on teaching, travelling and hopefully one day soon starting her own literacy school to empower and educate others.  50 is the new 40, it’s never too late and you’re never too old. She puts other people her age and younger to shame and is a great inspiration and role model. So ask yourself: What am I doing to change my life for the better? Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing  over and over again and expecting different results”.

 

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Life

10 Things I have learnt this week

  1. I relish the early morning silence before the world wakes up.
  2. Sometimes there is nothing better than having breakfast for supper.
  3. If there is any one thing you don’t like about your life then change it – but please just stop complaining.
  4. Sacrifices must be made if you want to pursue your dreams.
  5. Writing a book is harder than I had anticipated.
  6. It’s a blessing to be able to walk out my front door and see Table Mountain.
  7. I can now ‘pick up’ an Italian man in fluent Italian (well, semi-fluent).
  8. It’s impossible to predict the weather in Cape Town.
  9. I’m not as patient as I would like to believe I am.
  10. Rainy weather, a blanket and a good book are still a few of my favourite things.
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adventures, Books, Life

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

After an overwhelming amount of “likes” for the below picture that I posted on Facebook I thought I’d post something inspirational. It’s scary that so many of us can relate to this or feel the same, shouldn’t we all be doing things we love?

 

I have been going to the library regularly to check if the book The Alchemist was available but due to its popularity it never was. The weird thing was that after cleaning out some old boxes at home my mom found a copy of this book in our house, apparently it’s been there for months but we were just blissfully unaware. I’ve just finished reading it and thought I’d share some of my favourite quotes. It’s basically a book about listening to your heart and following your dreams and even though a lot of what he says we already know it’s nice just to be reminded.

  • “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
  • “Every search begins with beginners luck and ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”
  • “In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you.”
  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” 
  • “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
  • “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”  
  • “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 
  • “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” 
  • “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” 
  • “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
  • It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil. It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.
  •   Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
  • The world’s greatest lie: At a certain point in our lives we lose control of what’s happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate.
  • Life attracts life.
  • One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
  • Don’t think about what you’ve left behind.
  • “There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
  • People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.
  • When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.
  • “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”
  • Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they do, the world turns out indeed to be a threatening place.
  • No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.

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fashion

17 Again

Please note that this post does not refer to the Zac Efron movie. Do not bother scrolling down any further as there will be no topless pictures of Zac Efron.

I don’t believe in having regrets, things happen for a reason and this has helped shape the person I became. If I did however get a do-over there would be a few things I would have done differently especially with regards to my career. I feel the school system and sometimes parents are ill-equipped to guide high schoolers onto the correct career path. Today most people have more than one career anyway so it is absurd to think that a young and naive 17 year old knows what they want to be when they grow up. For those of us who didn’t spend our days dreaming about becoming doctors or astronauts or knowing exactly what we wanted to be, we were pretty much lost in a labyrinth of choices.

Those career ‘tests’ they make you take can be misleading even more so when you are still trying to figure out who you are . Because they have our best interest at heart adults also tend to steer you away from a career in the arts as they are worried that you will have no job stability/security. A career in fashion does not mean a life as a struggling up and coming designer nor does a passion for the Arts mean that you are doomed to be a starving writer/painter. There is a plethora of options out there from Fabric Technologist to Copywriter to Graphic designer so we must not discourage anyone from doing what they are drawn to.

Just imagine what we would be capable of if we were all encouraged from a very age to follow our dreams no matter how obscure and to nurture our talents? I’m not blaming anyone  for the fact that it took me years to not only discover what I truly love but also to have the confidence to pursue these dreams and not caring what anyone least of all society thinks. Yes, we all need to make a living to survive but I believe now more than ever that I have to do things that brings me joy and happiness. I cannot waste another year, month, week, day or even a minute of my life on things that simply do not matter to me.

We spend so many hours of our lives at work that it is our duty to ensure it is spent doing something we care about and to surround ourselves with like-minded people to inspire us. I challange all my readers to think back to the last time they were truly happy and do whatever it is to get that feeling back.

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