The meaning of life…daily struggles for purpose!

Have you ever felt that you are doing the exact same thing day in and day out with little or no change of activity whatsoever? Have you ever thought by yourself while caught in a traffic jam “this is surely not what life is about, working, eating and sleeping”? This dilemma is something familiar to 90% of the population, we have become so conditioned with a daily routine from a young age, that when you find someone doing something completely different and out of the norm, it is frowned upon. I like to call this routine rut something I have been playing around with for some time now known as: Box Living.

Typical box living, in my opinion, is humans running from one box (being a responsibility/activity) to another box in a 24-hour period trying to distribute time evenly amongst them and then they are very proud and feel somewhat accomplished when they apparently “balance” everything out, because ultimately that is what society expects of you. This way of living is causing more and more people to be overworked, exhausted, unproductive and literally almost slaves to the concrete, corporate jungle. Not only does this behaviour result in poor human health but it also has detrimental effects on the psychological side of a human.

Why do we allow ourselves to become “slaves” of everyday life, why do we allow ourselves to be “boxed-in”? Have you ever wondered what the meaning of life is? I spoke to quite a few people and very few of them really understood the question and asked me what I meant. You can see that they think about it and start realizing that they do not know what the meaning of life is, others again said things like it is about unconditional love, forgiveness and family. My personal opinion of life is to grow yourself as a person to be the best version of yourself. I guess it is a question with no right or wrong answer.

I have done some research to see what educated people say about this: Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, wrote in his memoir Man’s Search for Meaning “…therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way.” The meaning of life possibly comes from three sources: purposeful work, love and facing difficulty.

Neil Degrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and science communicator, has quite an interesting view on this topic and he says that the meaning of life differs for every person. It is not something you look for and find somewhere; it is about doing something (whether it is to learn a new skill, rituals, and having compassion for people) or creating something that allows you to enrich your own life and possibly the lives of others. Have a look at the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-meaning-life-2016-4.

This concept is quite a debatable topic worldwide, mainly because it means different things to different people depending on your frame of reference. It is an exciting topic to write about, it is controversial and many people have different opinions.

After all the meaning of life is to enrich your own life, not to merely survive through every day – learn something new, experience fine dining, collect wine, look at the stars, smell the flowers but most importantly have an open mind towards controversial topics in life and learn from the opinions and experiences of others.

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” – Joseph Campbell

C* xoxo

 

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Is blood really thicker than water…

Have you ever noticed that you have quite a number of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and people caring for you when all goes well…until life happens!?! Have you ever wondered, while you are trying to keep the pieces from falling apart, what happened to your so-called friends on Facebook, the numerous messages you once received a couple of times a day and your invitations? Keep on wondering, because that is exactly the type of people that is in this world, and in your life.

The word “people” are defined as: “human beings in general”, also known as “members of a particular nation, community, or ethnic group” (just for in case you were wondering). Some of these human beings are incredible friends , family members and colleagues with a nurturing, caring and loving side to them (or is this just the side they show you, is this yet another mask they wear?); you would never think that they would abandon you when you need them the most. Well, guess again…what I have realized is that some people are not as loyal as you might have thought and that is when you get to know who your true friends are. This is a bitter pill to swallow, yet a necessary one.

I had an unfortunate accident late March 2017 and broke my fibula (ankle) falling from stairs. After only a few days I started seeing who my true friends were and oh my were I in for a surprise. This incident was a huge root awakening for me of people I once called friends, yet they put you on the sideline until you are apparently “back on your feet” (the lamest excuse I have ever heard, but it soothed their conscience to think they are allowing you to rest and recover). It was like they said: “not our problem” and looked the other way.

I received support (whether an actual visit, a telephone call or gifts) from people I never expected to and that is what made me realize if we really, truly know the people who we deal with on a daily basis…are the so called “real” friends (the ones you spend endless time with at braais/ at dinners/ at coffee dates, the ones you support at athletic matches, the ones you cheer for when they celebrate life) wearing masks or is this just really the type of people they actually are!?! I guess that is a question that will remain unanswered.

You might wonder why people are like this, and in my opinion it comes down to primal instincts and behaviour. People, in general, do not like being confronted with the “unknown”, they find it a hassle to deal with, they find it difficult to relate to and another aspect of it is that humans are very selfish beings. If a situation or circumstance does not add benefit to their existence, why would they care, why would they want to take the time from their “busy” schedules if it will not benefit them in any way. Yet another question that will remain unanswered.

Throughout this journey (and I am calling this a journey as I want to belief that something positive will come from this experience) what I have realized, is to treasure the “real” people close to you, the ones that are true to your face and behind your back, the ones willing to go the extra mile for you with or without your limbs intact, the ones that make time to check up on you (even with a 1-minute, uncomplicated message), the ones appreciating and nurturing your friendship. Those are the types of human beings I want around.

Lesson learnt: “Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.”

C* xoxo

Part time studies, full time life…reaping planned rewards!

At the end of 2015, I decided to apply for Master’s degree. I thought about the impact it would have on my life, I am married with a full time job and would definitely take some sacrifices but somehow the rewards seem to be so much more. Many people do this full time, and barely have time for anything else but I wanted to be extraordinary…so I submitted my documents (still being in two minds and thought whatever happens is clearly meant to be), writing the project proposal was quite a challenging task as I have studied 5 years ago, so my writing was somewhat rusty! Nevertheless, being on edge for about two weeks I received my acceptance letter! This was an amazing opportunity for personal and career growth and was more excited than nervous about this new journey despite people’s criticism and frowns.

The acceptance letter was the green light to start with the project planning, statistical design of the experiment and meeting with my professor for guidance on what the industry wants to gain from this research. Research has always been one of my ultimate favorite things to do, it challenges me in a way I never thought possible and it is hands down one of the most rewarding feeling when you get to tell someone what your research is about. Very few people talk “science” and therefore when I find someone that shows interest or knows even a little bit of what I talk about, I kind of respect the person on another level.

My laboratory research started in June 2016, I was up and sampling at 5am every second Friday for 9 months…there were a lot of ups, but definitely more downs during this period. You doubt yourself on some of these days wondering why you ever even started, you doubt whether you have what it takes to finish this huge responsibility and somehow I made it through. When you get to see your results, graphs showing increases and decreases, after processing your samples in the laboratory for 8 grueling hours and your get to go home, after your processed 180 samples you get to see a positive detection for a pathogen you were looking for…that is what makes it worthwhile!

In February 2017, I received an invitation to the SAAGA symposium in Tzaneen. This was an fantastic platform within the industry to present my preliminary results. In June 2017 I represented myself and the University of Pretoria at the International Postharvest pathology symposium in Skukuza, South Africa (http://www.postharvest2017.co.za/). The symposium brought together the postharvest pathology researchers from across academic spheres from around the globe and delegates shared their scientific research, developed new collaborations and strengthened existing networks.

What I learnt from being this busy, was that time management is key! Time is a very valuable thing a lot of people take for granted. Although I have very little time on my hands, I get everything done I plan for everyday and even have time to keep physically active (Bonus!). Planning your day makes a huge difference to how many things you get done and how effectively you live. Another thing: doing what you love is not work at all.

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

C* xoxo

Day 1 of 365: Wings for Life, World Run

So…I thought long and hard about this one and challenging myself has been quite a challenge for me in the past, something I never or very rarely do. Just thinking about this commitment makes me a little scared and anxious (eeek!!!). Some of you might know that I fractured my fibula late March 2017 and it was and still continues to be a life changing experience for me. I have always been someone who plans my life to the T, but had to cancel many plans when this accident happened. I decided to be more of a “in-the-moment kind of person” and after I heal I think that will be another challenge to maintain. Nevertheless, I decided that I want to participate in the Wings for Life, World Run.

Many of you might be familiar with this race, but just to briefly explain to those unfamiliar with it. Wings for Life is a global, charity event, here’s how it works: On one day each year (normally in the month of May), the Wings for Life World Run takes place at event locations across the planet. Everybody starts at exactly the same time UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Whether it’s day or night, bright sun or pouring rain at your location – you’re running together with the world and sharing this amazing experience. Your name shows up on a Global Result List, too! Have a look at the link for more information: http://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/za/en/.

Not only is it a global event, it is also for a good cause. Every cent raised goes to spinal cord research and clinical trials.

This is an exciting, new journey – not only will I be able to add value to much needed scientific research and clinical trials but will also be challenging myself in a completely new and different way (and that after a broken fibula). Hope you will think about joining too.

So, here is to day 1 of 365 days of getting ready for the 2018 race! I will keep you updated as I progress…#holdthumbs #wingsoflife #day1of365 #fracturedfibula

“Understand that it is ok to be scared or uncertain, however right beyond those barriers ultimately lies your dreams.” – Josh Hinds

C* xoxo

The idea of starting a blog…

This is my very first post as a “blogger”, I don’t think I have earned the right to call myself that yet but let’s say I am one in the making…

I have always been fascinated by people having blogs, able to write endless stories about stuff! It seem to come so easy for them, yet I struggle to put together a few words that makes sense. It has been an imaginary, idealistic dream of mine for quite some time now to be able to do that but somehow I always ended up not doing it. Somehow you always end up with so many excuses for not doing something that you eventually end up doing nothing. So I finally decided to take on this challenge and adventure and blog and see how it goes.

The idea of this blog is to share intriguing stories, ideas, challenging your thought process and share memories (whether bad of good). I have never been a natural story teller but am rather more of a thinker and this is why I think this is a good platform to share some of my own life experiences but also add value to your life.

I hope this journey will be a value added and rewarding one for both of us and that you will not only have little bit of insight into my life and my experiences but will also be inspired to do something you thought you were never capable of! We are all, regardless of age, only students of life! #blognewbie #studentoflife

“You are the master of your own destiny”- Napoleon Hill