Walk a mile in my shoes . . .

 

 

For most of this week it has been bugging me to write something about the life of a person with a disability. The part of this that has bugged me the most is how some people with a disability struggle to find a life partner to settle down with.

 

Using myself as an example: sitting at a table in a restaurant or behind the wheel of my car, I have often had many men flirt with me but the minute I get up from the table or get out of my car, they look the other way.

 

I’ve had many flirts via text message going as far as an expression to meet up but the minute I reveal that the venue needs to be accessible (I can’t climb stairs for example), they never contact me again.

 

Yes, there are many people with disabilities who do find love with able-bodied (people who don’t have a disability) but I think there is an equal amount like me, who simply just don’t find that lifelong partner.

 

 

While all this was going through my mind and I was wondering exactly how I was going to put this post together, I came across this video which sums up a lot of what I was going to say about persons with disabilities.

 

We are people too. We also have hopes and dreams. We also want to get married, have children and live in a house with a white picket fence. We don’t want your pity, we don’t want you to do everything for us. We want the opportunity to live independently and contribute to society just like everyone else. So why not give us an opportunity to do just that?

 

Have a look at this video here – it says it a lot better than I can: 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to restore balance in your life

Franschoek, Western Cape, South Africa

Pause, Reflect, Re-evaluate, Purge,  Restore

Oh my word . . . can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve sat down to write a post. This blog is all about the “journey called life” – my journey, and yet, I’ve allowed “life” to get in the way of so many things to cause me to go totally off centre.

I think at some stage I wrote a post about how my life trying to earn a decent living was consuming me to the point that I didn’t have a life.  I reached a point where I was working three jobs causing me to work until midnight seven days per week just to put food on the table.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t about getting rich. It’s never been about getting rich. I’ve never been a money chaser. It’s been purely about earning enough money to keep a roof over my head and some decent food on my table instead of baked beans on toast three times a day.

I wasn’t happy being sucked into this big, black, dark hole but it was like I was on a hamster wheel and just couldn’t get off.  The one job I was doing at night which I thoroughly enjoyed up to a point, became what was consuming me. Instead of only working 2 hours per night three days per week, I was working 4 hours per night seven days per week (more on weekends). I was not an employee of this organisation, I was working freelance and instead of appreciating my efforts they abused and took advantage of me and my time by just expecting more and more. It was like giving my hand but they grabbed the whole arm.

This was not how I expected my life as a freelancer to turn out. This is not how I expected my life leading up to my retirement years to turn out. Something had to be done – and fast!

What was the solution? How did I get myself out of this big, black, dark hole I found myself in and back into the light?

 

 

I had to pause, reflect, re-evaluate, purge, and restore my life back to what I want it to be.

Pause: I had to physically stop! I had to physically move away from my desk and put myself into a space where I was removed from the current environment that was consuming me. The place I live in is tiny so the only way to do this was to go for a long drive somewhere where I could be removed from my “normal” surroundings.

Reflect: Being away from my “normal” environment, gave me the opportunity to reflect on what my life had become, where I was heading and what could potentially happened if I continued along this path.

Re-evaluate: I forced myself to take a good, long look at my current state of life and re-evaluate where I really want to go. Is this really the kind of life I want for myself? Is this really how I want to spend what could be my last few years on this earth? Okay, granted, I’m not in my sixties yet, but I’m not far off.

While I took care of my mother during her short illness, I realised that there is so much more to life than “things”. My sister and I stopped buying each other “things” a few years before our mom became ill and rather focussed on experiences – to focus on our bucket list instead of buying more “things” but somehow, when my work became all consuming, I seemed to have lost sight of this aspect somehow and it was time to get this back.

 

Purge: The time came to do a real purge of what was pulling me down. First step was to get rid of the job that was dragging me down but this had serious implications and consequences. I was not earning much from this job but the little I was earning was helping to pay the bills each month. How was I going to live without this money? What was I going to do to fill the gap? Where would I get another job from to close this financial hole?

One consolation was that I had reached the point that my credit card which was maxed out at one stage was now at a point where I was able to manage my monthly repayments and it was no longer maxed out. I continued to cut my expenses to the bare minimum. I don’t spend any money unless I can pay cash. My credit card (yes, I only have one) is for emergencies only. I do not have store clothing accounts ANYWHERE!!

So, I resigned from the job that was dragging me down with immediate effect. This was such a shock to my system, that it took me about a month to get used to the idea of no longer having this job and once my mind and body made peace with the fact that this particular job was no longer there to drag me down, it felt like a huge boulder was lifted off my shoulders.

 

Guess what? I now have more time to devote to my third job (which has now become my second job), I no longer work till midnight every night, I have my weekends back to do whatever I like (I can choose to work if I want to but not obligated to) and this job, now covers the hole I thought my second job was going to leave.

I survived!!

 Last night I purged again . . . a committee I was an Executive member of, also draining me of time and energy without adding any value to my life, I resigned from.

The message I would like to leave with you today is don’t be afraid to take that leap into the unknown. Get rid of whatever it is that is holding you back. Yes there will be consequences for your actions but you are stronger than you think. Somehow you will manage to absorb the shock and you will cope.

I hope this post has left you encouraged and motivated.

Let me know if it has motivated you in some way. I’d love to hear from you.

5 Reasons why freelancers should attend WordCamp

Looking forward to seeing you at WordCamp2018

WordCamp Cape Town

If you’ve never attended a WordCamp before, but you’ve heard about it, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. I did too when I first learned about WordCamp. It was 2014 and I saw something about it online somewhere. The concept looked interesting but I really didn’t think that there would be any benefit for me to attend.  If I look back over the last 2 years of my WordCamp attendance I can truthfully say that WordCamp has become the ‘work’ related highlight of my year.

1. You get to meet some amazing people.

The thing about WordPress people is that they are generally the friendliest and most helpful individuals you’ll ever meet. I can recall endless conversations with people at WordCamp, over a variety of topics. As a freelancer you are often stuck inside your own sphere of influence and the ability to get out, meet other…

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Comes the Dawn

 

I cannot believe it’s been so long since I’ve written a post. Where has the time gone?

I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to survive financially that before I know it, not one week, but a whole month has gone by and I’ve not written anything to post.

It’s rather strange, really, because when I started out with my blog, I religiously wrote every single week, I put so much pressure on myself to make sure I posted at least once per week, and yet my blog never really attracted any followers. Yet now, in the past six months when I’ve not written at all, I’ve had so many new people sign up to my blog.

 

Welcome to all my new readers who have joined in the last few weeks and months. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I hope some of them at least make sense and resonate with you on some level. Do leave some comments sometimes so I know what you enjoy reading and what I need to focus on more.

One of the reasons why I’ve not really written these last few months is because of the lack of readership, I thought that I may have to change direction and re-look at the focus of my blog and try something new. At the same time though, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to refocus and re-brand my blog.

During these last six months, I’ve written many posts (some complete) but just never got around to posting and when I had the time to post they were no longer relevant. Then there were posts that just never got finished and are no longer relevant anymore.

Now, with so many new people joining, maybe I should keep my blog as it is right now and see where it takes me. Please help by sharing your thoughts on my ramblings and let me know if I should continue writing or just totally throw in the towel.

I will now make a more concerted effort to write more often so I don’t lose all you lovely new readers so, watch this space!

It’s my turn . . .

 

 

This year has been absolutely crazy – the start of my year was the worst I’ve ever experienced. Mom taking ill and dying so suddenly three years ago was nothing in comparison to the way last year ended and this year started.  The rest of the year, having to focus on staying afloat financially was equally stressful. Not knowing if you’re going to have enough money to get you through the month and not sleeping much because you’re working long hours and stressed has not helped either.

 

This has been the year I’ve chosen to rebel against the “system” to rebel against the societal “norm”. After 50 years of doing as I was told and doing what was expected of me, it’s been “my turn to see what I can see. I hope you’ll understand, this time’s been just for me because it’s my turn, with no apologies, I’ve given up the truth to those I’ve tried to please”.

 

I’ve rebelled against the system of being the “good girl” always doing what’s expected of me by my family, friends and society as a whole. “Now it’s my turn . . . I don’t have all the answers but at least I know, I’ve taken my share of chances. What’s the use of holding on, when nothing stays the same?”

 

 

“So I’ve let it rain, knowing it would’nt hurt me, and I’ve let you go” (mom) “though I know it won’t be easy. It’s my turn, for years I’d seen my life, through someone else’s eyes. Now it’s my turn, to try and find my way and if I should get lost, at least I’ll own today”.

 

“It’s my turn to start from number one, trying to undo, some damage that’s been done. It’s my turn to reach and touch the sky and no one’s going to say, at least I didn’t try.”

 

So to those who have understood my journey this past year and who have stood by me and supported me through it all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your love and support, I would not still be standing.

 

 

To those who have not understood my journey this past year and who have decided not to support me through my journey, I’m sorry that you chose to leave me at a time when I needed you most. Like I said earlier in this post – “I hope you understand, this time’s been just for me because it’s my turn, with no apologies, I’ve given up the truth to those I’ve tried to please . . .”

 

My journey to start from number one, trying to undo, some damage that’s been done has not ended yet. I am a “work in progress” and still have far to go. Those who have supported me up to now, I hope I can continue to count on your love and support through this journey.

 

To those who have chosen to abandon me in my darkest hours, thank you for your support over the years. I do wish you well in the future.

May the New Year bring you love, joy and happiness. May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow.

 

Where in the world am I?

My sincere apologies to all my loyal followers for being absent for so long.

I know I’ve not posted for a while –  I have so many posts I’ve started and either not finished or finished but not posted and would prefer to give you fresh stories to read.

I will get myself back on track as soon as I can.

For now, please be patient. I’m also thinking of chancing the look  of this blog – I’m just not quite sure what I want to do and how I want to go about doing it yet.

I will be back soon.

Your patience is appreciated.

A tribute to the resident I never got the chance to know

 

Today I’m struck by how fleeting life can be – we are here today and gone tomorrow.

Yesterday (18.03.2017) around mid-day after returning from a business meeting, I was greeted by a resident of the complex to let me know one of the residents was found dead in her flat. At the complex where I live, we receive a call from the Security Desk at 9:00 every morning just to make sure we are okay. When the Security person called her room yesterday, there was no answer and upon investigation found her dead in her room.

Watching her body being taken away by the Funeral Undertakers yesterday was really sad – a stark reminder of how I watched my own mom’s body being taken away.

What was even more sad and thought provoking was watching her family come in this morning to clear out her place – removing all trace of her ever even being here. The family sent two male members with a kombi and one of the two drove her car away.

I was struck by how wise it was to send someone with a kombi to take everything away in one foul swoop rather than have four or six motor vehicles each carrying a load which I think would have been more traumatic for the family.

Is that what life is? You’re here today and gone tomorrow?

so easy to remove all trace that you’ve ever existed?

Sitting at my window there is a glaring empty space where her car used to park – a glaring reminder of someone who once was and who is no more.

I will miss the nameless resident who I never even got a chance to know (I’ve only been living here for almost two months now and don’t even know how long she has was here). I think she only moved in about a month before I did.

I will miss seeing her go out every day and come back home to where home was for the last period of her life.

 

Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?

 

 

 You may also enjoy reading these posts:

 The winds of change

The Ultimate Gift

Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Woman heal thyself

The pain of watching a parent age

Stop the bus I want to get off

In memory of mom – Flowers for my mother

Who moved my cheese again?

Reflections on a year that’s passed

6 Things you should love about your life

The winds of change and 6 lessons to learn about embracing change

 

Is your life off course? Are you too busy for these 5 things?

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I’ve been so caught up with trying to keep up and embrace all the changes taking place in my life right now – also see here: that I’ve hardly had time to think about, let alone write another post to publish here.

In my struggle to find the time to gather my thoughts logically enough to string a few sentences together I came across this article which is so well written I could not have said it better myself so I would like to share it with you here.

Read the article here:

I have not written this article but it clearly says how I feel about life in general so it’s useful to be reminded of this on this journey called life and all it entails.

 

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Excellent points being made don’t you think?

Is this a reflection of your life too?

Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

Embracing change

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Last week I wrote about the Winds of Change have spoken – you can read it here: Click here little did I know at the time that my security rug was going to be pulled out from under me again.

 

Towards the end of last week, I received the news that all the residents in our complex will need to relocate for approximately 8 weeks starting with the floor I’m on (ground floor). The complex management has discovered a problem with rising damp and feel that instead of waiting for the problem to get worse, they would rather deal with it now. Yes, the residents will be inconvenienced but will benefit us all in the long term.

 

I’ve just moved into this complex. I’ve only been here for two weeks. I’ve just nicely got my things in the place where I want them. Have my curtains hanging and my pictures on the walls. Now everything has to be cleared out and moved to another place only to be relocated again in about 8 weeks from now.

 

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Dealing with stress from unexpected change takes time:

Unexpected changes such as job loss or financial uncertainty, can turn life upside down and I’ve gone through both recently besides other stress relating to health (my own and my mom) and my mom’s death. Dealing with stress and a “new normal” can be slow and painful, but it is possible.

 

Stress affects our health and relationships. Even if we do not talk about it, those around us – our family, friends and co-workers – still pick up on our body language.

 

As much as I fear the unknown, the unfamiliar is not to be feared. It can be a chance to turn your life around. During the last few major changes I have learned a few things . . .

 

Don’t just do something: Sit there: When I’m facing major change in my life, my natural instinct is to go into “action” mode and DO something, but there is actually a lot of value to just sitting quietly instead. You need to allow yourself an unproductive period before you can blossom.

 

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Make yourself little: When you suddenly have to deviate from familiar routines, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. It is absolutely crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Preparing nutritious meals for the week in advance is helpful. If you are able to spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. It is important for you to take care of yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.

 

Ignore your inner reptile: There’s a part of the human mind that is referred to as the “Lizard Brain”, because it existed even in the earliest land animals. The Lizard Brain is concerned with survival, it likes the tried and true, so it is likely to  pop up right now, flooding you with warnings of “danger!” as you veer off course. It is like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying.

 

Silence you inner know-it-all: It helps not to be too smart. Smart people don’t like having their minds changed. If you’re so smart that you can’t rethink your positions, all you IQ points won’t do you much good when your life is turned upside down.

 

 

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Look for new perspectives: Zen practitioners cultivate the “don’t know” mind: they work to assume they don’t know anything and in that way see the world afresh. This is a great way to approach change – because an opportunity to start afresh, to consider all possible. Ask naïve, wide-eyed questions of anyone who is doing anything you might be interested in trying. Listen seriously to arguments you might once have missed.

 

Try something new and slightly scary: Why? Because now is the time to explore what it is that you really like. Catch yourself off-guard, do something spontaneous that you have never done before and see what happens.

 

Be sceptical of common wisdom: It is dangerous to live in the aggregate, especially when you’re trying to figure out your next move. One year, everyone knows you need an M.B.A. to succeed at anything. The next year they will be telling you you’re wasting your time because there are no jobs anyway. Set your sights on what you want to achieve.

 

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Learn to live with uncertainty: The anxious feeling does not signal that you are doing something wrong, only that you are trying something new.

 

Say “really?” a lot: When you start to turn this sudden shift in your life to your advantage, you might shake up a lot of people, especially the ones who are not happy with the way you are living. To them, your efforts to move forward may feel like a glaring searchlight that needs to be switched off and fast. To their descriptions of the terrible fates that will surely befall you if you dive headlong into a new life, respond with “Really?”.  Alternatively, “oh yeah?”

 

Shed your old skin: Discard physical clutter, tired ideas,  old routines. Seeing things through another’s eyes can help. It is only when you have cast off what has been weighing you down that you can finally move on.

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