Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The eve of my birthday...

As I write this, it is the eve of my birthday.
Like many others, I tend to take "life stock" every now and then. This, I have learned, can go either way. It either leaves me feeling empty and worthless or fulfilled and appreciative.
Hmmmm!
Glass: Half empty or half full?
Perspective!

While taking inventory of my life, I have noted that:
I am not living in Canada or America as I so wished since I was a teen.
I am not married to a 'desi' north American, living in a home with a white picket fence with two children playing in the garden. I do not have a social calendar filled with cocktail evenings or play dates for my children. I am also not the editor of a glossy magazine with an office on the 20th floor overlooking the concrete jungle of Toronto or New York. 

HOWEVER...

I have also noted that:
I am living in a country of my birth, colourful as a box of Smarties! Without ignoring our own share of hardships, I recognize that I live in relative peace. I enjoy electricity and the use of technology, internet which brings the world to my fingertips, clean water, wholesome food, plumbing with flushing toilets and being able to take hot showers - at any time of the day.

I am proud of my long list of mistakes, failures and heartaches. Looking back, when it seemed like it was Me vs The World, I now know, understand and appreciate that all those potholes of life were only preparing me to be the strong, independent woman my high school teachers were sure I'd become.

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger?

But, what I hold the closest to my heart are my parents.
Two people of whom I am honoured to be a product of. A few weeks ago, I was filled with immense awe, admiration and appreciation of my parents' work, resilience and honour. Growing up, I always knew that I was fortunate, or as my friends would say, "lucky" and "spoiled". I choose to say "blessed". I've always known this but I don't know if it was perhaps maturity that made me see my parents in a different light.

From my earliest memory (and evidence from photographs), one thing is clear. My brother and I were always afforded the best of everything - education, stationery, toys, food, travel, gifts and...opportunities.

My parents were never demanding of anything. Never forcing us to take a certain path of education or career. Instead, they stood with us at the crossroads. They waited patiently for us to choose a path and watched us tread slowly into unknown territory. What I know now and I guess I've always known, is that they too, took the path with me...keeping just a step or two behind. If, for some reason, I lost my way or got lost, I knew I could turn around and there they would be! Without judgement, they would take my hand and lead me to light again.

For this, I drop to my knees and give thanks.

So...no, I am not spending my 32nd birthday the way I envisioned. I believe this is a lot more special. I am with my parents and brother. In the home I grew up in. Where I probably took my first steps, where I lost my first tooth - and put it under my bed in a shoe, only to go back and find a R2 note from the Tooth Fairy. The home where I lived my teen years, with walls plastered with my teenage heartthrob, Salman Khan. The home which had many family gatherings filled with food, love and laughter. The home I came back to for weekends and holidays from university. The home, which now in my adult life, has become my safe haven. A place I know I can always return to refresh and recuperate.

I am who I am because of my parents, brother, my uncles, aunties, cousins, relatives, friends...and who, in my opinion, is the best Godmother in the universe. I want you to know that I thank God everyday for each and every one of you.

I love you all so much.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Time

As I lie in bed, I try to focus on my breathing. Deep inhale and a strong exhale. I imagine my breath as light entering my body and healing me where needed.

In the distance I can hear the kitchen clock ticking away. Its sound reminds me of time passing by. Each second. Each minute. Each hour. Each day. It disappears. Never to return.

Time, like so many things in our life, is something we easily take for granted. How foolish we are to think we have a lot of time!

Truth is, the only time we are guaranteed is this absolute present moment. So why do we waste time stressing about what has happened? Why do we waste time on what may not ever happen?

When we "live" in the past or future, we are dismissing this moment.

Treasure it.
Before you know, it will be gone.
Just a memory.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part Three)

My accident was...
... a wake up call
... a blessing
... the highlight of 2015

One might think this odd to call an accident that, but allow me to explain why.

I realized that life can be over in half a second. (no exaggeration) Because of this chilling fact, I had to get a few things in order. In other words, I took it upon myself to do some "life admin".

Let me break it down.

I decided that I want to live a life of no regrets. This includes mending broken relationships. How to do this? By being kind. What seems like a simple gesture, is indeed life-changing.

After I decided that I needed to be kinder to more people, I realized something else, which is on the other end of the spectrum.

I had to stand up for myself. Even if this meant being a little harsh.

As the saying goes, "Be firm, but fair."

Standing up for myself meant change. I had to alter some things in my life in order to regain my own power.

You know, when more than 2 people tell you that you have changed, you're bound to start believing it. In my case, at least 5 people told me that I looked and sounded different. I looked sad and didn't sound as energetic and bubbly as I used to be.

My accident taught me to listen to my inner voice. My gut. I re-examined my personal and career goals and decided that something had to give. 

I resigned from a practically new work venture. It was hard, but necessary. How did I know that? Because it just felt right.
A month later after taking that difficult decision, I feel a lot lighter and free!
And guess what? I don't have a single regret.

I have spent the past three weeks in my hometown, East London. Realizing that time is ever so precious, I have used my time off to do many things:

Reconnect. Refresh. Rewire. Restart.

I maintain that my car accident was a blessing in disguise. It has forced me look at the world with new eyes. Eyes that are filled with even more love and appreciation. I will never stop giving thanks for the fact that my life (and my mum and aunts) were spared and that we didn't have serious injuries.

I'm ready for what life has in store for me. In my dad's words, "It's time to rock and roll."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kindness

Kindness....

It is something which is often underrated & can be expressed in different forms.
A kind word.
A kind gesture.

It may mean something so small and perhaps insignificant to the giver, but to the receiver, it could be life-changing.

Being kind means caring deeply for those around you. It is being loyal & helpful, without expecting to gain from your actions.

It is not putting up a facade to those around you...pretending to like or care for your peers. This falseness eventually catches up & you may end up exposed, baring your true colours.

We all make mistakes in life. Mistakes can lead to regret, anger and possibly self-loathing.
This is wrong.
Be kind to yourself.
You're only human.

Life would be meaningless if it weren't for all these potholes. Its purpose? To test our patience & resilience.

...and then be kind to those who did you wrong. Our path crossings are inevitable & those who have hurt us in any way need to be treated with [genuine] kindess.

I have learned that kindess is the best form of forgiveness.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part Two)

I'm so grateful to my friends who prove to be more like family in times like these. They meet us as the hospital, take us out for lunch and to pick up medication before dropping mum and I off at home. These friends make living away from my own family bearable.

It's about five hours after the accident and mum and I are back home. We are sitting on the couch in silence. I haven't even opened my windows - which is the first thing I usually do when I get home. We are reeling from the past few hours. Mum doesn't say much, but she busies herself with the necessary admin that comes with such unfortunate events.

The sun sets over Sea Point, making my apartment dark and cold. As I take a hot shower and prepare for bed, I can't stop the movie playing over and over in my mind. It's black and white. Slow motion. The white car zigzagging downhill not knowing that it's going to hit me.

Crash!

...and it repeats.

I talk to my cousin who says something so profound that it brings me to tears.

"God has a lot more for you to do."

I say my prayers of gratitude and fall asleep.

The following morning, I am in a lot of pain. All over.

When I take a shower I catch a glimpse in the mirror. Half of my left breast is bruised. I find another bruise below my navel and another one across my thigh. I am grateful for these bruises as they remind me of the importance of a seatbelt and how it saved my life.

It's hard to believe what happened. The other driver told the cops that he was changing lanes and lost control of his vehicle, causing him to crash into me.

I refuse to spend time moping at home so mum and I take a bus (my first time) to the Waterfront. It's Sunday and I'm sure it will be busy, but I feel like I need to be outdoors and walking. However, I find that I am slow in movement and I am in pain everywhere.

I don't know why exactly, but I become emotional. Mum tells me that it's a normal reaction and she comforts me. I walk around the Waterfront, but tears stream down my cheeks as if uncontrollably.

Again, I say my prayers of gratitude that my mother is with me.

----------
My hired car arrives on Monday and in every phone call my dad encourages me to drive. He reminds me of the knocks I've taken in life and that this is something I can overcome in no time. I hope he knows how much his encouragement means to me.

When it's time for me to actually take to the wheel again, I drive on 20km and am weary of every single oncoming car. My heart races, but I don't show my mum that I'm nervous.

----------
I have the week off from work and I spend my days taking it easy and go for treatment. I decide to travel to East London with mum on Thursday and spend the long weekend at home. The pain in my body increases and my emotional state is that of a roller coaster.

I feel the need to be with my parents and the thought of being alone in my Cape Town apartment leaves me with a hollow feeling. I have no choice, but to return to the Mother City. I have to go back to work. I'm not entirely excited about returning, but I have no choice. Or do I?

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