Category Archives: Higgledy-piggledy
“Every moral has a story
And every story has an end
Every battle has its glory
And its consequence”
Its a fact, I am never bored! I may tire of repetitive everyday mundane activities, but i never ever get bored…. and that’s because i love stories! And you know what?!?!?! Every person in this world has a story to tell if we take the time to listen. Believe it or not the shy, quiet person at work has the most amazing life story and the biggest dreams, it is up to us to take the time to find out.
I look at the NEWS and wonder what the anchor’s story was to get there. I listen to a Director addressing his team and I wonder what made him get on the path he is. I look at a random stranger on the bus and wonder if he had a fun morning or a stressful one and whether he/she also has a fascinating story about where he/she came from and how he/she got to be where he/she is. The sheer variety of paths taken in this world, from farmers to mega successful CEOs; from homeless people to world travellers, from singles to married is indicative of how much we can learn from each person we come across.
Some people travel a path of wealth and privilege, while others struggle with only themselves to rely on, and both have great stories to tell. Each person learns lessons, makes choices, and develops a unique perspective, which only they can claim and share. Even two people who have had very similar lives for instance siblings will have slightly different experiences, leading them to a different point of view. So each person remains a treasure trove waiting to be explored. A Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped. When we take the time to ask questions and listen, we find that every person has a fascinating story to tell and an utterly unique perspective from which to tell it.
Bearing this in mind, we have the opportunity to approach the world around us in a new way. There is never any reason to be bored at a party, or on the bus, or at an airport or train station, in a conversation with a stranger. When we retain the spark of curiosity and the warmth and compassion required to open someone up, we always have in front of us the makings of a great story. All we have to do is ask. And somehow magically you become part of their story, their path and their journey to their destination!
I’m sitting in a restaurant with friends and everyone is animatedly going through the menu card to order their favourite meal and I just politely say, “I’ll just have what you’re having… only vegetarian!” We all settle in to a happy banter and my phone buzzes. I don’t want to be rude and interrupt my friends by picking up the phone to see who has messaged or who is calling or to check whether it is urgent or just another FB post. So I surreptitiously glance at my phone to see if it’s a call that can wait. Trouble is… I can’t really see it without my reading glasses!!! I just start to make out a four and a two and am trying to figure out whose number that might be, and poof, it’s no longer displayed on the lock screen.
I am on a train and after a whole day’s work, I want to check the FB posts or Twitter world! I need to take out my glasses to view the highly uncustomisable iPhone the font on which can only get that large and no more! I could get my glasses out, but that would be one more thing I will need to stash away carefully before getting down! So I buy a larger phone with bigger font and soon the person next to me on the train is smiling at a private chat I am having with a friend!!! Sigh….
The newest thing in my life is Presbyopia! Well, if you are under 40 you have probably already moved on to the next blog… but if you are anywhere between 40 and 50 you have sat up in your chair worn those reading glasses and read on!
If you are under 40 and still reading, let me enlighten you on this thing called the reading glasses syndrome. Inside our eyes is a lens that makes tiny movements to allow what we’re seeing to focus correctly on the back of our eye so we can, well…. see it. In this way we can look at something far away, then look down at something close and be able to see both equally well. As we age, this lens becomes less flexible and less able to make these tiny adjustments, so that eventually it becomes difficult, and finally impossible for the lens to adjust to see tiny things up close. This begins somewhere around the ages of 40-45. At first our eyes are able to compensate, but eventually most people get to the point, usually somewhere between age 40-45, where they can no longer make that adjustment and need reading glasses.
And what a pain this condition is! Though I’ve never hidden my age, I look younger, and so people tend to forget it. And to be honest the last thing I want to be doing when sitting among youngsters is fumble for those “old people” thing in my bag every time one of them shows me photograph or a funny post on FB! Reading glasses – they’re a blessing and a curse. When you need them, and have them available, they’re great. You can see what you need to see, and put them away, and not be stuck with wearing glasses all the time. But when you have to fish them out in a hurry, or tell people you can’t see that paper they’re waving in front of your face until you get your glasses out, they’re a god damn nuisance.
And to boot, it comes with loss of memory! You forget where you last saw your glasses. You wear it on the head to see far and when you have to read a contract document you look for it everywhere till someone points out that it is on your head! You get to work, leaving your glasses at home and the whole day is wasted trying to squint to read anything! And before you suggest hanging it around a chain around my neck, that just ain’t never happening ‘cos it’s just so…. well…. daggy!!!
Of course there are alternatives – get 6-8 pairs of reading glasses and place them strategically in every corner of your life! Get glasses that are plain on top, and reading on the bottom, and wear them all the time? Yuck. Or, get longer arms, so I can hold things farther away and then I could read them? Uhhhh… maybe not… How about having a personal assistant with you at all times to read things for you? No, that would be pretentious, and expensive. “One moment, please hand that menu to my personal reading assistant.”… sigh…. Naaah alternatives don’t work!
So nuisance or otherwise, this problem is here to stay! And the worst thing is this problem cannot be corrected by vision surgery (at least not yet). It’s only corrected by glasses. We need a vain baby boomer to go through this problem to come up with a permanent solution! Until then…. I will just need to buy a bigger bag to keep that dastardly glasses case and/or own five pairs, one in every corner of my life, or land up on relying on someone else to order my meal from a menu card!!!
Eve is back, New Years Eve, that is. Do you remember your last New Year’s Eve or the one before that? Was it everything you dreamed of? No? What about the day after? Did you wake up glowing in your resolution, ready to take the world by storm only to find that your resolve was actually not as strong as the resolution? Probably!
If you know me five minutes you know that I am not by any stretch of imagination a pessimist. But let’s face it, New Year’s Eve has got to be the most disappointing holiday of the year and it is time we stopped pretending otherwise. We need to be realistic. It probably isn’t be best night of your life, nor should it. Every night has the potential to be the best of your life, and we need to start realizing it.
New Year’s Eve has become less about what I’m actually doing and more about what the night symbolizes. Its all just the booze or the Ball. That’s all anyone talks about. So what really makes it different from any other Holiday or for that matter weekend?!?! I remember my last New Year’s Eve. It started off like any other: drink in hand, surrounded by friends and ready for everything the night would hold. We were a large group of friends at a bar and while it was great to meet new people and sing old favourites and dance the night away, that’s all it was. I (and actually all of us present) spent the whole of the next day, effectively New Year’s Day, in a dark room squinting at any light or wincing from the noise of a pin drop!!! Eve, an incredibly short moment in time, with its after effects screaming louder and a lot longer! New Year’s celebrations are honestly a far cry in reality from the oh so fun theory.
There has to be some sort of redeeming quality, doesn’t there? Do we stop to think what we are really celebrating? The birth of a New Year? The passing of a tough previous one? Maybe we are all coming together in this huge mix of positive and negative sentiment to rid ourselves of the last 365 days. We are different people, celebrating whoever we will become until the next time we see the proverbial ball drop.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a New Year hater, I’d like to call myself a New Year realist. I see most people thinking that in the coming 365 days they will somehow and miraculously be better people, with thicker wallets and slimmer waists? That somehow they will be wiser having spent their time constructively trying to achieve bigger and better? In reality, though, we continue to lead the exact same lives, doing the exact same things and yet expect to see different and most times better results?
2015 has held some of the warmest moments and some of the most trying times and I hope to cast off it a different person than I was that night a year ago. My resolution this year (and this time I hope my resolve is just as strong) is to live my days positively, peacefully, kindly and with complete awareness of the present. To let go of the past and expect nothing from the future…
So raise a glass and take a shot for everything the New Year holds. Here’s looking at you 2016…
Half a century, five decades, fifty years…and life, by now, has most certainly left its imprints on me. Do I exude grace or resentment? Probably a little bit of both. What I do know is this process we call “life”, with its finely woven blend of struggle and ease, has brought me to a place of inscrutable strength and also bewildering fragility. Yeah it is hard to explain when they seem so diametrically opposite. But think of it like a butterfly…. It’s the strongest cocoon when it encloses and shelters a new life within, yet fragile enough to break when life within is ready to emerge.
So in my 50th year I learned a few things that helped bring a lot more clarity and focus into my own life. What I learned about me and the world at large amazed me. So a week shy of my 51st birthday, here’s five lessons I have learned, lessons that have changed me for life:
A healthy lifestyle, not only makes me feel better and brings energy, but also brings more clarity of thinking.
I wasn’t a yo-yo dieter by any means, but weight management through a better lifestyle always was. My migraines in the past few years have bothered me no end and I’ve tried a combination of low carb eating regimes and eliminated various foods in an attempt to calm my troubled existence. However, it wasn’t until I turned 50 that I found out that it is a combination of healthy eating, sleep habits, regular exercise (without going overboard) and adding supplements to daily diet that actually improves a person’s overall well-being through mind-body balance. I still get the occasional headache (and that I suppose comes with the territory of being a middle aged woman) but they are less often and much less intense! Some of you must be thinking… what the hell??? As if we haven’t heard this before. Yes we have (as I had) but we do little to change our lot. “Having a migraine” is rather trendy. Downing meds is commonplace. “Carrying off “excess weight with élan is a compliment! It’s time to change that! A lazy lifestyle is the reason we have so much time to think about unnecessary things. Skipping meals to look “thin” is the reason we are fat! Stop thinking “Weight Loss” start thinking “Healthy”! Just think about it if, you are what you eat then to be awesome you must eat awesome! Eat well, sleep well, stay awesome!
Learning and Growing is a Daily Practice
Man is a learning creature and the lifelong practice of learning is what makes us humans and our lives worthwhile. Most of us have one or two areas of knowledge that we strive to know very well — things related to our jobs, of course, and maybe a hobby or two. But while it’s important to develop a deep understanding of the things that matter most to us, it is just as important to develop a broad understanding of the world in general. Don’t just dismiss all the things there are to learn and know that don’t impact your life immediately as “trivia”. Learning
- across a wide range of subjects gives us a range of perspectives to call on in our own narrow day-to-day areas of specialization.
- helps us more easily and readily adapt to new situations.
- a broad knowledge of unfamiliar situations feeds innovation by inspiring us to think creatively and providing examples to follow.
- deepens our character and makes us more inspiring to those around us in turn giving us more confidence.
- And, like I said, there’s the whole “making like worth living” thing.
With the entire world of knowledge just a few mouse-clicks away, it has never been easier than it is right now to learn something new and unexpected every day. For instance, subscribe to RSS feed to Wikipedia’s “Featured Article” list. Free Dictionary. Motivational thoughts. Tell me why. Daily Art! There’s so much out there to learn. So go ahead you won’t be sorry! There is, after all, a reason the term “well-read” is a compliment.
Life is a series of ups and downs and you just have to go with it and be in the moment.
Now, I remember how I felt when my Perima used to say, “Live the moment. Don’t worry too much about the future”. My reaction used to almost always be, “Easy for you to say! What would you know? Live my life and then we’ll see”. I was wrong. After a certain age, you don’t need to live someone else’s life to know how to help them fix their life. My life felt like a scary roller coaster ride, reaching wonderful dizzying heights and then falling to awful lows. In the lows, I’d wonder why I couldn’t stay at those heights and feel like I’d never get back ‘up’ again. Sometimes during the highs I’d be worried about when it would all end and the lows would come. Well if you are like me, know that you are not alone! It happens to most of us… if not all! Remember by doing this you can never fully enjoy a high and never appreciate the high when you are at a low… I’m not sure I make sense here J. Just go with the flow… be present and enjoy the heights to the full and live through the lows as best you can, knowing that it’s just part of life. Each is a cycle and will pass… nothing lasts forever not the ebbs and not the flow!
Spend some time in solitude every day.
Our world is just too noisy now. Between people, gadgets, the never-ending cacophony of social media and 24-hour news, the quest for quiet in our existence can seem more difficult than solving the national debt crisis. And while I always recognized my need for other disciplines, like study or work, I found it difficult to acknowledge my need for silence or solitude. I felt selfish and dismissed it. “Time for that will come in other seasons of life, but not now” was what I told myself. I see the fallacy of that now. I have been practicing solitude/silence/meditation (doesn’t matter what you call it) for over a year now. And I do believe that it is the best thing I have done for myself. It forces me to stop! Coming to a sudden halt even for just ten minutes was Herculean for a person like me. Do nothing. Don’t try to make anything happen. Just stop doing. Stop producing. Stop pleasing people. Stop entertaining yourself. Just stop everything. Imagine you are a spectator in a tennis match! Hard as it may be, it is one of the most liberating experiences. Imagine your only job is to relax and listen to your inner voice. The incredible thing about solitude is that, it works just about 100% of the time. After all I am in the company of my most favourite person in the world J. Additionally, while you are sitting there, rivers of ideas flow through your mind. You get to think about countless subjects in an uncontrolled stream of consciousness. And miraculously, solutions to the most pressing difficulties I face emerge quietly and clearly, like a boat putting in gently to the side of a lake. The answer that avoided me in the muddy clarity of the day looks clear, straightforward and perfect. What started out with derision now defines my day.
Life is short.
It is!!! Youth does not appreciate mortality, but at my age I see it clearly. Nothing and no one lasts forever. Health is the only wealth we have. In today’s day and age genetics is not the only factor to affect one’s life span or quality. Party hard, work hard, take a break, get a massage, travel, learn a language, knit, take yoga classes, write a book, take a scenic route once in a while, take a day off for no reason!! There is so much to do. Life is a journey to be savoured not a destination to be reached! And in the bigger scheme of things, the journey is rather short. None of us knows how far the destination is. Nothing shouts out mortality as much as losing a dear one your age suddenly! Enjoy life. You get only one hit at it. Make it worthwhile. And here’s a pro tip… the more you make your life worthwhile for others the more scenic the route to your destination.
Anyone who is my friend on FB knows that the Cancerian “Love my home” syndrome hits me hard on a Monday morning!!! I am never a happy bunny on a Monday. Not because I had to get out of bed early, or because I partied like a member of led zeppelin over the weekend. Its not about workplace, colleagues, work, boss… I love all of those. Besides, I am really active when I go to work! But still…. Monday bogs me down like no other day! Even after a very relaxed Sunday which I dedicate to everything feel good – shopping, massage, reading, FB, music, movies…. Come 6pm Sunday I start getting jittery and yucky and plain – unbearable sourpuss!!!!! 🙂
And its not just me!!! Except for those select few (who clearly are on something the rest of us have no clue about) who go around sending “Happy Monday” and “TGIM” messages, the world is full of us Monday haters! In fact studies have shown that more people take a day off on Monday than any other day of the week. It is cross cultural. Monday hating has no boundaries. In fact THAT probably unites the people of this world like nothing else does! As Sunday draws to a close everyone has a feeling of dread that the next day is approaching. Some call it Black Monday, some Blue Monday. Any colour and any case, it leaves you feeling black and blue in the heart.
Just this morning I sat next to a woman in her mid-fifties, who was clearly not happy with the state of affairs. She kept looking at me & muttering under her breath and the generally happy me turned around and gave her a look that would have frozen “the Devil” in his tracks. Well she shut up and the rest of the way I came in to work sans an episode, but darn I kept forwarding songs in the iPod to find one that suited my mood!!!! I got off a few stations away and decided to walk to clear the negativity!
So why? Why is Monday as dreaded as it is? Honestly, sometimes I think, if it was a person he would have that, “Nobody loves me L “ syndrome. Why don’t we like Mondays? Why doesn’t anything make it go away? The feeling, I mean… not Monday (if you take away Monday, Tuesday would be the new Monday and that would defeat the purpose)!!! Many a time I have wondered if I would have felt this way had I not to get out of home! Being jobless has no Monday as its greatest perk!!! Its all about earning a living! If someone gave me regular money to stay at home I would!!!!
S-I-G-H…. Let me get back to work now that I have had my whinge 🙂 But before I go here are some really funny Monday quotes
- Just once, I would like to wake up, turn on the news, and hear… ‘Monday has been cancelled, go back to sleep.’
- Monday is like a math problem. Add the irritation, subtract the sleep, multiply the problems, divide the happiness.
- Candy is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.
- I haven’t had this bad of a Monday since last Monday.
- God gave us Mondays to punish us for the things we did over the weekend.
- Monday is great if I can spend it in bed. I’m a man of simple pleasures, really.
- Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life!
- Sometimes it pays to stay in bed in Monday, rather than spending the rest of the week debugging Monday’s code.
- Monday must be a man, it comes too quickly.
- All men tend to become angry and irritated on the start of the week. It is the start of the week but is the end of all fun and happiness in life.
Everywhere you go, wherever you turn, whether you are travelling, working, shopping, social networking one is struck by the insensitivity portrayed by people! It is like they have no time to be courteous anymore! I am generally a rather placid and easy-going person! I generally don’t take offence very easily… but I do draw the line too!!! I find nothing more insufferable than lack of basic courtesy in certain matters. Five discourteous ways that peeve me no end are…
Late Kate: Take tardiness, for instance. Lateness does not equal greatness, but recently I’ve observed that more and more people must believe it to be so. “Fashionably Late” has become a ‘thing’! How many times have you been a situation when you are minutes away from a rendezvous at an allocated time, when you receive a text that they are going to be late twenty minutes because they are “running behind”? Why? If you have allocated a time, make sure you keep the appointment! The only time I would see it as even remotely forgivable, is if the person being met is receiving a tangible favour from the encounter! (actually even then… courtesy demands that you be punctual!) Otherwise, a meeting should only be delayed in this way if either party could not possibly have yet left their prior location. Traffic exists; rain usually occurs according to forecasts; taxis can be hard to find, trains and subways may be delayed for a few minutes for no apparent reason. But that’s why you leave yourself enough time to make it on time. I do not believe that I’m remarkable enough to wait for. Nor should you!!!
Distracted Kate: Then on arrival at the appointed location, there is the distraction with the mobile phone! Surely it should be common courtesy if you are meeting with someone to focus your attention on them. If there was something more vital, you should be off doing that, not subjecting some poor person to watching you stare at a blinking screen for an hour as you “check-in” on Facebook or tweet where you are. And then of course there is the problem of the phone ringing!? You know, you can decline a call just as easily as you can take it, right?!?!! If you think it could be urgent, surely, you can ask to be excused, take it away and answer with a quick, “I am in a meeting, if it’s not urgent may I call you back?” And if you can’t be bothered with all this courtesy, turn off the damn device and let the MessageBank take the call!!
Driving me insane, Kate: Another thing that drives me insane is poor driving etiquette (no pun intended)!!!! Jeez! Drivers are by far the most impolite bunch! You are driving merrily listening to music, minding your speed and lane and Bam!!! Someone pulls up abruptly in front of you or changes lanes without indicating, causing you to slam on your breaks! No apologetic wave, no acknowledgement of the fact that they nearly killed you! Nothing… they just move on like they are God’s gift to mankind and we are just meant to make way for them! And you know that odd person who won’t turn on red! Why?!?! And what about that annoying person who takes your parking spot by driving in while you are meticulously trying to reverse park!!!! Before you know it, the driver just gets off locks his car and chuffs off while you are left to do the rounds to look for another spot. No thank you! No Sorry! No eye contact! And of course the other end of the spectrum where that bloke is taking forever to leave a parking space while others are clearly waiting for it! Arrrrgh!!! Honestly, I never swore, till I started driving!
Mind your language, Kate: Poor English gets me too. People who don’t know when to use your/you’re or their/there/they’re. Using “me” where you should have “I,” or “who” instead of “whom”. Different than/different from! Less is in quantity, fewer is in number. You wouldn’t ask for fewer butter, now would you?? Don’t get me wrong! I do understand that the ever-complex and often-irregular English language is full of traps and pitfalls. For instance further versus farther, compliment versus complement, affect versus effect. But if you do have to write official e-mails, for God’s sake, get them right! And quite honestly sms speak in an e-mail is blasphemous! SMS speak is for mobile devices where there is a paucity of characters… in an e-mail you can go mental! And it really takes just a split second more to write “Hi i will be in a meeting from 2. I will see you three if that’s ok with you.” instead of “Hi i wiL b n a meeting frm 2. I wiL c U 3 f that’s k w U” and can be read, understood and appreciated much better!!!
Wait Kate: And then, we all know that one person who interrupts you repeatedly while speaking! They are loud when they interrupt and almost always have nothing to do with the topic of discussion. What is wrong with people who behave this way? Do they even realize what they are doing? In an argument they hear only theirs! They will never let you finish what you are saying! It’s like they have the attention span of a goldfish! They cannot let you finish what you are saying because they will forget what they are thinking! And in this category are spouses who choose to interrupt when their partner is talking! There is a time and place for everything, and shutting your significant other up at a party to show off your own knowledge or lack of respect for theirs is definitely neither the right place nor the right time!
Perhaps I am just getting old. Maybe it’s the new normal to arrive at a meeting twenty minutes late, driving like a maniac, parking in someone else’s spot to spend it’s duration broadcasting to the world where your physical but not mental presence is. But I’m nostalgic for a time of punctual people who gave you their full attention, waited for you to finish saying what’s on your mind and then contributing in healthy doses to the flow of ideas. Where driving was a means to get somewhere not drive others mental! Where it was graceful to be polite!
Sigh….. if the guy who said, “manners maketh a man” was to visit us now he would have to concur that man is falling apart!