Ikigai

I have almost fallen off the wagon. But I do have some constant reminders about habits, goals, discipline and so forth that I read or listen to just to try and keep inspiration alive. What I have found is that constant rituals, daily practices and doing small things every day are so important to maintain the discipline momentum.

My last published post was on 5th April. How the hell? I missed two posts! See how easy that was. Its because I firstly allowed my posting day to slide somewhat. As long as it was within the week I had as my goal. Then as long as it was before the Sunday/Monday of the following week. And so, I fell down a slippery path into habit slide!

Now to kick it back into gear.

Are we pursuing becoming a writer or are we just wasting time with futile goals that actually don’t mean anything? It’s a rhetorical question but an important one. I say I would like to be a writer. But I can’t/won’t commit to a writing plan! Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? According to Simon Sinek, you must start with the Why 😊. I shall revisit my “Why” for wanting to write. And so the word Why makes me go back to one of the articles I read during a mindless trip down a rabbit hole on the internet. It’s a problem. But I digress. Anyhow this brings me to Ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese word which, according to the article and some other Google references loosely means “a reason for being” or “a reason for jumping out of bed”. Honestly. I like my bed. If I was still into sleep as much as I was when I was younger, I would be bonding with my bed a lot more and my reason for being would be to stay in bed. So the jumping out of bed bit doesn’t quite cut it for me. Anyhoo, I digress once more. But I do like the concept though. And I do like studying places where people are happy, eat well and enjoy active longevity. So yes. There’s a Blue Zone in Japan and Ikigai (amongst other things) is pegged as one of the reasons for people achieving happy and healthy lives.

We are so hell bent on pursuing our passion, happiness and health as if there is this ultimate goal to be achieved and miss so much in the process I have just come off a long weekend. It was the Easter long weekend.  Was I focusing on pursuing goals this weekend? Hell no! But if I really think and reflect on this weekend and focus on that other thing that also leads to happiness – gratitude – then I my weekend was filled with the things I love and that makes me happy and practicing gratitude makes one realise that true happiness lies in the process of unfolding as opposed to the achievement of a thing. So, what are the things that make me happy and creates immense opportunities for gratitude?

Food! Yes whatever. Unhealthy obsession blah blah but seriously. I had a most exquisite meal at the restaurant called Dash!  But I was with people I enjoy spending time with. Added to that the other meals or happenings from this weekend that were highlights – the times I was most happiest – was about the people I chose to commune with or share the experience with. And therein lies the rub.

We are social creatures by nature. OK introverts this is not a post for you. Let’s make this about me.  I am a social creature by nature. I have come to appreciate my own company as I have gotten older. And while solo pursuits are had, and I do enjoy them. My bestest (I don’t care if that’s not a word) times and most memorable ones involve the fellowship created over a good meal, coffee or cake (or all of the above) with other people. Of course, I love some people more and could spend an inordinate of time with them. But I know that everyone else gets energised in different ways so therefore I have learnt to ensure that I have multiple sources of people-energy to tap into. Don’t worry loved ones – I know how much of me you can handle 😉.

So, back to the writing and WHY. I guess writing allows me a platform to tell stories and still connect with people. Becoming a published writer and having more people read what I write – is a way to create even more connection. Also words have the ability to create profound meaning, experiences and again, connection.  So my ikigai (or one of them) is about connecting with people. Writing allows me the opportunity to do that in a way that my IRL person might get in the way 😉.

On other habits, goals. My step goals continue but mostly thanks to the Fitbit. I feel like my Fitbit should get a name. I am dabbling with Pai Mei. Kill Bill fans will know who that is. Something/someone tiny but with the ability to kick you a$$ or kick you a$$ into shape. Lets see. I did an average of 9500 steps last week but alas its not a daily amount as on some days I do more and other days less. So it needs to be more evenly and consistently distributed.

Happy Week ahead everyone!

Life happens…and the kindness of an uber driver…

So, this week was a bit of a @#$#$ up.  Why? Because this post nearly didn’t make it. And also, my car went in for a service yesterday. And some duff up during the service made some bolt or other unthread (you know car stuff jargon) and so that meant my car was not ready yesterday.

Now that would not have been an issue. I am a reasonable person and believe me I know that $@it happens. But I called the dealership twice. Once to confirm with the Service Rep and then just as a follow up, another admin person. I had to take an Uber from the City all the way to the burbs.  And in order to reach there before their closing time, I had to leave at latest 3.30pm. Traffic unpredictability and distance are huge factors to negate.  Anyhow, I am quite close to the dealership in said Uber when my phone rings. “We hit a bit of a snag” after that all I heard was blah blah. Of course I had a bit of a meltdown. Having no car. I had to go and pick up my Mother. And then also redirect the Uber within seconds. Then realising my keys were on the bunch at the dealership. Once more redirect very patient kind Uber driver who made sure I needed to be where I needed to be without getting all technical about route changes. And just provided a safe space as my source of problem solution in that moment.

Anyhow, in the grand scheme of life it was not a big deal. But seriously – I had called them twice. What they should have said is, we will call you when its done! And even this morning – no call to update me. I had to call them again to find out what’s happening. What has happened to customer service? OK first-world-problem rant over.

It’s the weekend! All good on a Friday. A whole weekend lies ahead. I have a training session in the morning. I wanted to post about putting on an identity and how this makes you behave in a particular way. But I shall leave that to next week. Given that my identity got a bit hijacked yesterday and a kindly Uber driver schooled me in Ubuntu!

For now – I have continued to meet my step goals with my average being just over the 9000 steps per day average.  And my second habit goal is related to me getting this blog post live.  So here it is!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

I choose happy!

We choose happiness. Now I am not negating those who have been diagnosed with depression or any type of related disorder that affects your ability to choose happiness. I am talking about Jane Average who has down moments and sometimes it feels like that might be your entire life. I am referring to those of us who at times feel like you want to stay stuck in negative thoughts, negative energy and then ride the downward spiral to a deep dark place. Its there lurking for all of us. And sometimes you can catch it and other times – it’s overwhelming.

I generally refer to myself as a happy person. Don’t ask me where the label came from but that’s the label I chose and continue to fight to choose. Doesn’t mean I don’t have negative or “unhealthy” thoughts. When I was younger I was preoccupied with death and dying and what is considered the shadow side of ourselves.  Which probably could have had me declared as a goth-loving emo person who needed to be medicated (hey that might still be the case)– but it just made me realise from an early stage that we do all have a shadow self that sometimes wants to consume all the light and take over.  Again, I am by no means thinking I know what its like to have borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia – but I do want everyone to accept that even happy people can have a shadow side to them.  And could be going through as much turmoil as anyone else. As much as I didn’t like mine (my shadow side), I have learnt to embrace it. But herein lies the rub. Sometimes the people around you are suddenly shocked when you start allowing more of your shadow self to emerge. And its not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a protection mechanism. I think we should all allow people to be who they are – as long as it does not do any harm to yourself and to others. And if it does. Either remove said person causing harm from your life or remove yourself from the harmful situation. And seek help!

Navigating life gets even more trickier. Especially when you see friends and family allowing the shadow-self to actually start consuming more and more of their light. Especially when you think people are breaking through and reaching some form of a happy life – its as if happiness-sabotage is inevitable.  And no matter what you do – trying to give them some of your light does not work. And then when their darkness starts to suck your light like a black hole – its time to move your solar system.

Not dark stuff just some thinking. But alas, also has to do with the habits we allow to develop over time with people we care about. How much do you invest in trying to help them light their way? And at what stage do you need to stop so that you don’t turn into a black hole or the Death Star harbouring the very manifestation of the Dark Side. (Star Wars aficionados will get this reference 😊).

On my other habits (other than this post being somewhat late but still in time for my weekly goal) – step goals have been going great! My weekly average for last week was just over 9000 steps per day.  I am going to get to 10 000 soon!  And in other news I am in Week 3 of my running programme – but I will update more on that in my next post.

Todays illustration is a perfectly imperfect dragon beast I call Shadow. Representing the shadow self which is also perfectly imperfect but there lying in wait in all of us.

On that note. Love and Light. 

Shadow by Samajoy73

System Design

So, its Tuesday today. I am a day late with Monday posts but still in time for my “blog once a week” goal.

Firstly, let me say that I did join the beginners running program.  I am now a “Spartie in the making”. I am strangely liking running more than I expected to. But its early days I have had 3 training sessions thus far. I had to miss last night as I was travelling for work. I need to make it up somehow, but tomorrow is back to the scheduled training for me. I also have a knee that makes LOUD cracking noises!

Ground Zero continues to make progress – albeit very slowly. Curtain rail in main bedroom goes up tomorrow night. En-suite shower curtain needs to be put up as well. But any progress is better than none. I need a few more bits and bobs for storage and clever space saving ideas – but that will come.

I need to get more deliberate about some life systems designs. I joined the running program as it’s a system that’s going to take me from zero to 10k in 12 weeks with a graduation race on 1 June. May the weather gods see me through the cold and rainy nights of training ahead. My trusty Fitbit continues to remind me to feed it steps on an hourly basis.  And it is quite gratifying watching that little fireworks display go off when I hit a goal. So, I feel like some of the fitness goal/habit systems are on their way and implementation is happening without too much effort on my side.

Another major system/set of goals/habits I want to look at overhauling and getting some serious traction and system design in place is my financial ones. I say this just after making one of the biggest purchases one could make – buying a house. Of course, do not forget I am in a long-term relationship with the bank with regard to that purchase.  

I have long been a reader of various blogs on financial wellness. From ones that sell the latte factor as a means to accumulate wealth, to the ones that teach extreme frugality like dumpster diving (can’t do that here in SA). Majority have been focused around the American market though. So as much as a Roth IRA sounds fascinating or maximising my 401k sounds like it’s a wise thing to do – I can’t do any of those.  I have read Suze Orman, dabbled with listening to some of Dave Ramseys stuff and subscribe to Ramith Seti’s newsletter.  All great content and great advice. And some great sound universal truths and reality. But somehow, none of the content resonated with me. I still read a lot of their stuff for ideas and inspiration – but I needed to find something closer to home that resonated with me. Disclaimer – I have worked in some financial services related companies but during my time there – I was just working a job to get a salary. It’s really only at my last stint in fin services whereby I started thinking – why am I not learning from these great people I have access to. The really smart ones were quietly going under the radar – doing their best for clients but also quietly getting on with managing their own money. Believe me – I have had access to some seriously smart investment folk – but they were just colleagues and honestly – you didn’t really want to talk about your financial status (or lack thereof) with your colleagues. How stupid was that thinking. And I know the bulk of them would happily have taught me a lot more than what I have struggled to learnt on my own! But we live and learn.

So, back to my current system learning. I found my way to the book called, Become Your Own Financial Advisor by Warren Ingram. I honestly am not sure of the exact way I found this book. It may have actually come up as an ad on one of the online shopping sites I visit. Anyhow, I have just started reading it. from what I have skimmed read thus far – I think Mr Ingram suits my investment personality perfectly. But let’s see how we go.  I have not quite gotten into the meat of the book yet.  Oh and I did do some online due diligence on said Mr Ingram – happy to note that he’s a homegrown South African, right local credentials, FPI planner of the year and runs his own wealth management company and all his content speaks to locals!

Oh step goals for the past week have been great. The 3x week training sessions have helped. Step average for last week was 9318 – almost hitting 10 000! Consistency really is key!

Have an awesome week!

Breaking (bad) habits

So here it is Monday again.

Ground Zero has seen some improvement. There is a kitchen. Its tiled. It even has some cupboards. And by the time I get home – for real some actual working electric sockets and a workable stove. I got a quote to partially fix the stuffup over the weekend. I say partial as I knew that when digging deeper the true extent of the stuffup would only be understood. Which is as I suspected. So, I await a revised quote. But I am on focusing on onwards and forwards, so In some good news around the stuff up. There is a working toilet now and a sink. But the main thing – the shower – remains useless.

Onto other things. I finally bought globes for two floor lamps I had purchased a long time ago. And there was light! Its looks great. And when the electrician popped by this morning, I had done some enquiries about removing the hideous ceiling fan. He said. “when you’re ready, let me know”. Of course, I am ready right now! But I first have to pay to have a working shower!

So, last week’s 6000 steps per day goal was reached. Ok it netted out at around an average of 7900 steps, but it was only because the Fitbit made me do it 😊. I have not managed any gym sessions or anything else but at least the Fitbit keeps me going. Seriously. Gamifying things really does work. As soon as that little man asks me if I want to Stroll or I just need X number of steps to CRUSH IT I am up like a shot and off I go. Of course, my fellow office-space sharers probably think I have an over-active bladder or that I have restless leg syndrome but hey – you must be weird if you want different!

The thing I learnt these past few weeks is that you don’t break bad habits. You have to replace them with new and different ones. Habits are the rituals you perform on a daily basis and they can have either a positive or negative outcome. You also need to set up different systems to support your new rituals. So I have initially started off with the steps thing. With the help of my trusted little helper. I feel like he should have a name. He plays such an important role in my daily life. Let be ponder that. But anyhow so there’s my little helper and then of course, I am joining a system tonight. No. Not some ponzy MLM system. But I am hoping it will still have some sort of cult-like affect on me.

Tonight, sees the start of the Beginners 12 Week Running Program which I signed up for last week. I have had all kinds of sniffles wanting to start and sudden onset headache and a myriad of “ailments” wanting to derail my headspace from going. It was pouring with rain and so were my reasons not to do it. But I have done that in the past. Not do it! So today, I am going to Nike the crap out of this thing. Wish me luck!

Slippage

In building terms, slippage means the gradual sliding of a building over time – it’s in one of the things mentioned on one of the numerous pieces of paper I had to sign my life away when I decided to enter into my recently announced long-term relationship.  It’s also an investment term but I’m not going to go into that.  But it also has other meanings.  Slippage also means the failure to meet a standard or deadline.

Posting to this blog has slowly been going into slippage. A post a week.  I am barely making it. I can make a thousand (legit) excuses but they are just that – excuses. So here I am trying to prevent further slippage. So here’s my (late) post but still within my weekly goal.

So, Ground Zero aka The Investment (the evidence of my long-term relationship) has not sparked joy in the Marie Kondo sense of the word. Not that I would want to purge it – already buy I am not quite calling it home yet – it’s The Investment (or Ground Zero).  But I digress. The reason for the frustration is because dealing with contractors is a nightmare. I mean seriously. If you offer a service, then a) deliver on what you say when you say and b) provide a detailed quote. Simple!

Another thing, it doesn’t matter if your client doesn’t know what quarter rounds are or when you want to sound knowledgeable and throw jargon around like “Upats”.  Break it down as it gives the client a sense that you know what you are doing and are not giving “rough guesstimates” on what you think might be needed. That does not instil confidence.  Or if you don’t provide some detail – it just doesn’t bode well for what you want to charge. People need as much comfort as possible at this point – especially when they are living on said Ground Zero aka The Investment. 

Also, I am that person. Don’t talk twak to me thinking I will just take your word for it. Believe me. I will learn and read and become a “google” expert on you!  And then we have a problem. Then I will start asking technical questions – because I can – and then I won’t be as easy-going or forgiving as I might have been in the beginning.

OK. Now that The Investment update is done. Moving along swiftly. So, another goal I have always wanted to attempt is running. And I finally got myself to sign up for a beginner running program. Let’s see how it unfolds. It’s a 12-week program and there is a “graduation” run on 1 June. Its nice and structured and with a group. Its starts on Monday, 11 March. Go Runner-Me!

Wishing you all a happy rest-of-week and especially my friend and personal illustrator(😉) Samajoy73 – a very Happy Birthday to you!

Habit creep…

To state the obvious its Wednesday! This blog post is a few days late.  Its been busy at work and I am ready with a slew of excuses about how life happens and so forth. But actually, what’s happening is that negative habit creep is happening. So in order to stop the rot before it has time to take root, I have to hit that publish button and not get sucked into a path that will lead to negative thinking. And then suddenly writing is no longer on the agenda anymore. And before I know it – months have passed and I have not written a single word – let alone met my weekly writing habit/goal.

Last week’s step goal was OK. I mean I hit my average of over 6000 steps but on one day I missed the daily goal – my average was over 7 000 per day – but its been a struggle to push that amount up. But we move forward one step at a time 😉. The refurb work at home continues to be a disruption but I am pushing forward. Do I dare hope that it will be finished by the end of this week? I am not so sure but hey – we just keep forward momentum going. As Tony says (YES, I listen to Tony Robbins sometimes) – we have to take massive amounts of action. ACTION. So at least there’s tiny progress. It’s tiny but it is progress none the less.

I am doing some stuff in the background while the bathroom is patiently waiting to be done. Getting more quotes on a couple of other projects that will need doing. But of course, the budget dictates which ones will be prioritised. I have also bought some curtain drops – so its beginning to look a lot more like a place where people live. I can’t quite call it home. I am guessing time and living in it will make it that. Also, given my nomadic existence this past while – I am not quite settled. Also that saying that home is not 4 walls is so true – I need to make it lived in and “peopled”.  But at least I have a space to go to which is the evidence of my new long-term relationship.  I am now in a seriously committed long-term relationship. Me and my bank 😉.

Happy rest of week everyone. Onwards and forwards! ff