I don’t generally like August – I never have. For the last 22 years I have disliked it even more because August is the month that claimed our son. This year he has officially been gone for the same amount of time that he was with us – Sigh! It has changed me forever and one of the ways it has changed me is how protective I became of my own life. I view my life as being made up of moments – pockets of time – If you waste my time you are wasting my life. My life is also a result of the decisions I make so I try to make the decisions that will shape my life to create the future that I want to live. I think this shows in my current reality. Some say that I am lucky – I don’t think luck has anything to do with it – I like to think I live life deliberately. Many comment to me that I make the most of each day – well I think that’s normal and the alternative is unthinkable. I have been around too many people who didn’t know that their last day was just that – so I really do try and live each day as if it’s my last. So how have I invested my time this month? I constantly calibrate what and who is important to me, my goals and my time to try and get that balance. Of course I have to work to pay my bills and to eat but I do have some discretionary time that I have influence over – we all do – It’s that time I am talking about.
Where I have been: My leopard quest was a long awaited outstanding item on my bucket list so that was definitely time well spent. It really was a magical moment and I am not finished – nor will I ever be finished fulfilling my curiosity about nature and the animal kingdom. I also make it a priority to spend a few days in nature with my grandies. I took Craig to a farm so he could run free and enjoy time breathing fresh air, enjoying fresh milk and our annual horse ride – the essentials of a happy childhood. I am planning a similar excursion with Jessica but at 13 she has school, sport and a hectic social life to consider – I think a night in Addo is on the cards with an evening game drive.
Who have I met: I met some young people whose lives have been impacted by HIV last weekend and was struck by how, despite their circumstances, how cheerful and energetic they were. A great reminder of how it’s not your circumstances but how you respond to them that makes the difference in the levels of happiness you experience. I have joined an art class as part of my goal to explore my creativity and met some lovely and talented people – all with a story to tell. I studied art years ago and while I have never lost my appreciation for art, I have forgotten a lot of technique – plus materials have changed. Anyway I have enjoyed it so far – I looked down at my paint spattered hands after the first lesson and had a flashback to Sue aged 19 in bell bottomed jeans, colourful tunics and with flowers in my hair, full of confidence and the arrogance of youth and felt something inside me click back into place. August is Woman’s Month so I went to a couple of functions and surrounded myself with strong, sassy and simply splendid women most a lot younger than me – I envy them that – to have the strength and beauty of youth. I come from a family of strong and independent women who paved the way for me and sadly this month, the last of that generation passed away. Aunty Gladys – business woman, entrepreneur, mother (although she outlived both her daughters) grandmother and great granny. She was a prolific reader and a charmer of people and she lived alone and looked after herself until recently and all at the age of 98, Whenever I felt a touch of pity for my losses – I thought of hers and was inspired to pull my socks up!
What I have learned:
- A lot about Princess Diane – she also died in August and for her 20th anniversary the media is full of her – even in death she can’t escape them.
- Of course I will survive – it was a relationship not a lung!
- I will more than survive - I will thrive.
- How to paint with a variety of palette knives.
- Your work and knife skills improve when you drink wine while painting.
- Accidental success is rare – plan – plan – plan – budget – budget – budget!
- Don’t put your electric blanket on when you wake up – no matter how chilly it is – you will be in bed till lunchtime.
- Greige! It’s a new term for a blend of beige and grey and it’s a hot décor trend right now. I’ve always know it as ‘sludge’ and there is nothing hot about it!
- The term ‘sharenting’ refers to sharing pictures of our children on social media. I think it more appropriately describes what we should all be doing – shared responsibility for raising the next generation good manners and to respect one another and our planet.