Don’t worry about the future

Don’t worry about the future

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

“Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum” makes me realise that I am glad my adult life does not include algebra too. That would have added a whole lot of unnecessary stress to my fairly simplistic life. You know, like remembering you never replaced the paper towel roll that moment an egg breaks in your hands… Or trying to fold a fitted sheet or something serious like that.

We all worry about the future. I remember panicking when my tiny human was on the verge of starting to crawl. My office was one helluva mess at the time with dangerous objects and tiny pieces of who-knows-what and cables and electrical cords draped all over the floor. One morning I sat down and realised that, no matter how much I worried about my kid’s safety, the problem was not here yet. Sure, my office was a disaster, but I had enough time to clean it up and make it child-friendly. I am happy to say – no one who knows me well would ever have thought – that my office is now the child-friendliest room in our house. There is this saying by I-am-not-sure-who:

There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it or leave it. If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.

This was exactly the case with my office. I took the necessary steps, threw out bag-loads of stuff I forgot I even had and found a place for everything I wanted to keep. Sure, there are still piles of things I am in two minds about, but I sort them as I go along.

It gets a bit difficult, we have to be realistic, when these worries include an unpaying client, a tight deadline, a friend who is dealing with a situation you can’t help with, or even something silly like the unexpected rain when your whole wardrobe is on the washing line (and tomorrow is Monday!) We need to accept, there is only so much we can do. Send invoice reminder emails, ask for a deadline extension or gather the courage to tell your client the deadline is unrealistic (hahaha 🤣). Or, when a friend is going through a tough time and you can’t help with the situation itself, send a simple message of support. Sure, you won’t solve the problem, but you did what you could and that is enough.

Every single time when I finally reach the stage and am able to say “stuff it, it is not my problem to solve” my problem ended up solving itself. >SNAP< Just like that. I am not a fan of mind-over-matter. I get lank upset when someone tells me it is a mind-over-matter situation. My mind matters and, in my mind, my problems matter. And I can’t just put my mind over all of my matters. The secret, I believe, is to just stop. Let it flow. Let it go. At the end of each day, the only person you need to put up with is yourself. Pat yourself on the back, say “I did what I could. Let’s try again tomorrow.”

And that is enough.

nogsteedslana_lanaland_lanabreedt

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
oh nevermind;
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked…
You are not as fat as you imagine.

Ja, sure. As if we ever manage to do this. There is always something you want to change. Always something unpretty or too something. I remember in my teenage years (20 years ago), I experienced tremendous self-esteem issues because of comparing and competing and never feeling good enough. Of course, this is the phase of your life where your body starts changing rapidly. Your skin bombs out, you get braces, you gain a lot of weight, you lose a little. You go through hair-colour changes, and you smear your face with makeup to try and feel acceptable.

I hated being a teenager. Not only was I 10 kilos overweight (nobody ever believes me when I tell them this! But it is true.) Being artistic and eccentric and always upstream did not help. I never felt as if I fit in. Apart from my body that filled enough space for two people, that is. So you withdraw yourself. Unfortunately, I could not stick to Luhrmann’s advice at this stage.

When I reached my 20’s, things got a bit better. I lost most of my weight and settled with my signature hair colour – black. I blended in with the other freaks from design school and stopped plastering my face with make-up. Being surrounded by people in the same situation as yourself makes it easier to accept yourself. And this is true. Slowly but surely my mind became comfortable in my body, and much of the self-esteem issues were chucked into the cupboard of bad high school memories.

So yes, I suppose by the time I reach my forties I will be able to look back at photos from my twenties thinking it was not too bad. Sure, I still have issues (and it has nothing* to do with you at all. This is between me and the voices in my head.) At least now, as a working person with some ability to budget, I can sometimes go for a Brazilian Blowout because I still despise the curls. I can invest in a mascara that looks natural and a blemish stick that actually works. I wear what I want and when I want to because I am comfortable now to admit that I hate trends. I don’t see the point of buying stuff I don’t want with money I don’t have to impress people I don’t even like. So yes, I might not be able to tell myself “you looked fabulous” by the time I reach fifty, but hell, at least I can say I was sorta comfortable in my own skin.

I hope you find yourself a position where you are comfortable with most parts of you.

Yours in fabulous flaws,

nogsteedslana_lanaland_lanabreedt

 

 

*When I say my personal issues have nothing to do with you, I mean it. It’s a topic that is not open for discussion, and I don’t want to be pitied either. I am sharing it with you with the best of intentions and hope you can gain a little positivity from it when you realise it’s not just you.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 99

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 99

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear Sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now…

I was in St 7 this year. Even at the blooming age of 15, this song touched me deeply. You know, advice that came from anyone else but your parents.

At the age of fifteen, I used to live for the December holidays. We were fortunate enough to go to Mozambique every year for quite an extended holiday; free to roam, play Uno and Scrabble at the only restaurant, drinking Cola Tonic and Soda along with a plate of fries. Later years we swapped the Cola Tonic for Hooch and Hunters Gold. And another couple of years later, brandy and coke (I know, I know!) It was a holiday of chasing waves and soaking up the sun (wearing only baby oil) while reading and journaling. You know, I wanted to keep the sun under my skin for as long as I could for the first-term madness that was waiting.

My skin has always been strong and could handle the sun very well. I loved spending time in the sun, either swimming or just lying on my towel thinking of ways to make the world a better place. My mother always used to tell me to put on sunscreen; of course I hardly ever did, because “what does she know?”. She always used to say “I should have listened to my mother.” I find myself sounding like her now!

As with many other traditions that went with December holidays, I burnt myself into a raisin within the first couple of days. And, not willing to wait for the sunburn to heal, I ended up making it worse and worse. My skin hardly ever peeled, but every year I managed to do that. Without fail. Now, in my mid-thirties (sheesh, that sounds so old!) I honestly am sorry for not listening to my mother. The damage of the sunburn shows and, no matter what I do, I can’t reverse it.

So, ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2018. Wear sunscreen! You will thank yourself when you reach your thirties!

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