Rediscover. Reinvent. Reap.

Reinvention. My personal, physical and spiritual theme for the year. It has absolutely nothing to do with resolutions for the year ahead but rather stems from a realisation which came to be as a direct result of being a parent, seeing life through the eyes of a child and embracing my inner child.

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To a child, the world is full of endless possibilities. There is no fear or rather, when fear does manifest itself, a child finds the courage to overcome it. These are traits that we unfortunately lose later in life and I for one have been on a personal journey to reclaim that which was once lost – reinvent myself so to speak.

To say that the past year was an exciting one would be a lie but rather than allow the negativity that was 2016 dictate my future, I’ve instead chosen to take a step back and rediscover some basic elements that used to define me – starting with self-happiness – and ultimately take some advice from my younger self.

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Finding happiness when it feels like your whole world is falling apart is daunting but I love that my faith is strong. I’m not here to shove religion down anyone’s throat but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my faith or that I’m ashamed of my beliefs. Just as sure as I am that the keys under my fingers are real, keeping God at the centre of all that I am an all that I do has brought nothing but blessings into my life – blessings for which I sometimes do not convey enough gratitude.

I woke up this morning and I was just thankful to be blessed with another day. I’m thankful to be able to wake up next to the same beautiful face every day and remind myself just how lucky I am to have her. I’m thankful to have been chosen to be the father of two remarkable, beautiful and intelligent little angels. I’m thankful that even with life’s challenges, I know, feel, give and receive love. I’m thankful for the gift that is family. I’m thankful for the privilege that is friendship.

You see I came to realise that the more I was thankful for, the better I felt. I’m not being unrealistic. There are still battles to fight, there are still bills to pay, there is still evil in the world but they don’t control my life, I do. I want to be happy and counting my blessings does that. It’s those very same blessings that are my key to success in that I’m so privileged to have a strong support system in my wife and all the motivation in the world in my kids.

This has been anything but an easy journey, especially when I can still see the starting line in my rear-view mirror looking back isn’t some sort of security blanket I’m holding onto but rather a reminder who I was – it’s the finish line, the promise of a better me, the acceptance that I have much potential within myself that pushes me. It’s having a partner, my wife, my best friend, my bae, my strength to always walk beside me and remind me that I’m not alone. It’s having two little people who surprise me with just how much joy they can contain in their tiny little bodies and motivate me to be and do more for them.

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I’m truly a lucky man. I may not have all the riches in the world financially speaking but my life is richer with the wonderful people in it. I was telling my close friends just moments ago, that “…we need to keep that fire burning. Life happens and sometimes we feel down but that’s why we need to surround ourselves with positive and influential people with God at the very centre. They remind us of our potential. They help us find strength when we’re down and remind us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. I know life is tough guys but God loves to be tested and He especially loves to show off when He answers our prayers so let’s not lose faith. Change may not come today or tomorrow but you never know just how close you truly are so as blind as we may be to that, let us not be blind in faith. Keep fighting the good fight.”

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Apparently there’s not a single good woman in my life

Anybody that knows me well will know that I don’t take social networking sites very seriously or rather, I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to such. However, every now and then, something that I feel strongly about hits home or crosses my mind and this is one such thing.

With Women’s Day about a month away – amongst other things – I came to the realisation that there are no good women in my life. I thought this through and it’s true, there just aren’t any.

Let’s go through the list, from birth I’ve known my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Growing up was not in isolation and I got to do so with my sisters, cousins and friends. Adulthood too has consisted of a wife, a child and colleagues to name a few. Looking back at the aforementioned, it’s become apparent that the only reason I don’t think that there’s a single good woman in my life is because most have chosen not to settle for being mediocre and have instead aspired to greatness.

Going as far back as my infancy and early childhood, in addition to mother, I was blessed to have numerous mother figures in the form of my grandmothers, aunts and mothers of close friends. They were the personification of unconditional love and displayed a strength that far surpasses that of any human being. My own personal experience, there is and always was my queen…my mother. Without her, I doubt I’d be half the man that I am today. Without her, there is no me. Without her, I never would have learnt what it means to honour, respect and love a woman in such a way that through good times and bad, she never doubts feeling appreciated and for that mom, I can’t thank you enough. I am privileged to have a mother who has always given so much and expected very little to nothing in return. Through life’s tribulations, she’s kept her head high, her heart open and her faith intact and for that mom, I salute you and every single mother out there – whether in the literal or metaphorical sense – you’re all the glue that keeps the world together.

Growing up, I was blessed with siblings, extended family and certain friends who have since become so much more. In a world that still has not shown women the respect they deserve, you constantly push yourselves to be and do so much more than the world gives you credit for. I can only imagine the strength and perseverance it takes to wake up every day finding yourselves have to prove that you have so much more to offer than perceived and for that, I salute you too. May you always realise that you make the best you. No other human being let alone man should ever make you believe less.

Now, the present. In addition to having the opportunity to interact with most of those referred to above on a daily basis, I’ve further been honoured over the last few years in having met some of the strongest and greatest women in the work place and on a more personal level. The likes of my (coolest) boss (ever)/colleague/next door neighbour at work as well as my other ‘honorary mother’ who is never short of fantastic advice on life, child care (and Rooi Laventel), along with some of my fellow colleagues/friends who time after time continue to rise above the limitations instilled by an environment dominated by men despite constantly (and incorrectly) being labelled as “emotional”. They have displayed the kind of ‘never-back-down’ character that has earned them by deepest respect and appreciation. I salute you too.

On a personal level, my darling wife and daughter. It is said that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and there’s no greater truth when I look back at not only the abovementioned but also the lessons I’ve taken from every situation in my life growing up. I look at you both every single day and all I see is the quintessence of greatness. You have both shown me what true love looks like, taught me what it means to be more than just a “good enough” man and accentuated what I’ve known about what it means to have and express unconditional love. Faith has gotten us this far and its faith, love and our unity as a family that I know will take us to even greater heights. To my wife, thank you for not only being a great role model to our daughter but for also living up to what I consider to be “greatness” whilst teaching me to appreciate the fact that within imperfections lies perfection.

To my mini-me, my rug-rat, my adorable baby girl. I hope that as you grow up, I will continue to remind you of all I’ve said thus far. That you continue to be blessed in such a way that you are a blessing to others. That any man worthy of your attention sees you in the same (or greater) light as I do. You’re my motivation, my inspiration, my purpose for wanting to be a better me and the best me I can be. I love you always.

So once again, with Women’s Day being about a month away, I thought that today was as good a day as any to let all the “great” women in my life know that you are an inspiration and are truly appreciated. Thank you for your many sacrifices, for your strength and undying love. Again, I salute you all.

I am legend

I’m not Will Smith but I Am Legend…sturdy words, profound proclamation but oh so true. Today marks the evolution of ME. Today I see a paradigm shift…a shift from what I once was, to more that I can be.

I woke up this morning and finally realised that I am whole. I and the “man in the mirror” have finally become one…and everything’s so much clearer now. I’m no Superman but I will save the world. I’m no Saint but I will make a difference. I’m no Santa but I will infect every face with a smile. Today’s all about being a better me, an innovative me, a complete me.

No more beating myself up about what could have been. No more fearing what may become. As I sit here with a sound mind, I vow to make every millisecond of every moment count!

Was this the purpose to my countdown you might ask? Well that countdown was really anything you wanted it to be but so as to not make it all pointless, yes there was and still is a purpose and reason behind it all, but no, sadly this is not it.

This is simply me freeing myself from the shackles that have held me back for far too long. This is simply me taking control of what has always been mine from the start – my life. I will reconcile for nothing less than the best because I aspire not only to be the best but give the best. I’m only as derisorily frail as I make myself out to be and that’s something I cannot and will not stand for.

Today, the boy who became a man now becomes a living legend. Arrogant some might say but alas, it’s merely one individual finally believing in himself and on the road to discovering his full potential. Great potential I might add.

For the first time in what can only be described as “long overdue”, I feel so alive and nothing and no one can take that away from me. It’s time to start making a difference starting with me…and then you, her, him, them. This is the ripple effect, let’s execute it…let’s leave a legacy for future generations. Let’s all be legends in our own right.

A little self-inspiration

It used to be about a future that I almost felt so sure about, a feeling that had me thinking that maybe it’s not selfish to ask for more, but through broken dreams, and life’s lessons, it’s safe to say that I think I can finally make sense of it all :-).

Ever had that one song that would always put a smile on your face or at least bring a happy tear to your eye whenever you felt the world was against you? I think that’s what self-happiness feels like, or at least how it should.

We all go through life with so much in store yet never content with what we have or who we are. We spend so much time focused on how we’ve been hurt before and allow it to dictate how we live our lives. We always feel that our problems are far worse than anyone else’s. It’s sad but we’re a very selfish species…then again, selfish seems somewhat of an understatement.

Personally, I don’t know what the future holds but I’m thankful for every day, every night, those happy moments shared with family, the smile on the face of the one you love, having a really bad day and no matter how bad your mood is, that one true friend disregards it all and goes out of their way to get that one laugh out of you, no matter how ridiculous the situation may be. Lately I’ve learnt that we need to make the most of what we have because we could lose it all any day, in the end it will all feel like a distant dream, a reminiscence that never was.

This is a crazy world and unfortunately it’s the fanatical things that make the most sense. In our quest for normality and sanity, we only find more insanity but in accepting it all then, well, everything begins to fall into place and make sense. No doubt that we’d all like some sense of perfection in our lives – families free of rules and regulations, relationships free of arguments, friendships free of betrayal, careers free of heavy demands, academics free of stress but think about it, how boring would it all be? Does it not make sense that we experience the above with those we love the most and care for unconditionally?

As I’ve gotten older, a part of me has yearned for those years when parents were over-protective, felt and feels good to know that even if nobody else gave a damn, there were people out there who’d go to the ends of the earth for your sake.

I’ve learnt to take the positive out of arguments within a relationship for it’s those moments that teach us so much about our partners and teach us to bounce back so much stronger than before. Friendships have taught me that though you may feel betrayed at times, there will always be family and the handful of genuine friends who will always stick around when everybody else leave us feeling so alienated.

Maybe the overall apprehension here is that it’s high time we toughened up. Time we all stopped feeling so sorry for ourselves and realising that nobody has more influence over our happiness than ourselves. Yes we tend to attribute it to those that we love (at times) but does that now mean that you need to lose it all when they’re gone? I mean let’s be real, if we struggle to allow other people to have control over some of the material and physical things we hold dear, why do we allow them to dictate how happy we should be and when? Why do we always have to say that someone “makes us happy” as opposed to them making us happier? Should that be what we all strive for?

With all this inculcated within me, I feel that to some extent, I’ve become so much stronger and emotionally mature, so much more prepared for whatever awaits me. I may die tomorrow, I may no longer be with the one I love, and tomorrow may not even come at all. Until then though, I’ll make the most of the ‘hello, I love you, I miss you, I’m thinking of you and the goodbyes’, we never know when we’ll never have the chance to say them again or when it may be too late.

Maybe it’s not even selfish to ask for more. Correction, maybe it’s not always selfish…I mean more time to enjoy the moments that mean the world to us, more smiles, more love…I guess more of some things makes sense.

All in all, it’s fair to say that it’s time to have a better sense of appreciation for myself, for those in my life, for life itself and to not let anyone but myself control what I do or who I am. Just hope it has a ripple effect.