Christmas Shutdown Notice

Time to pack up and shutdown shop for a while….

Christmas in India…. why not uh. Why not

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The calibration curve

I’m stepping back and looking at the calibration curve. It’s an analogy from my days working in the chemistry lab. See before you test any chemistry samples you need to make up a standard solution – actually…. not one but five. Five different but known concentrations of a particular standard solution. For example if it’s iron or magnesium that you testing for, you make up a 10ppm, 25ppm, 50ppm, 100ppm and 150ppm of iron or magnesium.

If your testing apparatus (the machine you’re using) gives you accurate results for these “known concentration” solutions then can be relatively sure that you can trust all the iron or magnesium results of the rest of the samples you’re about to test.

Now, it’s seldom that 10ppm or 25ppm or 50ppm etc will read exactly 10ppm or 25ppm or 50ppm because variations are a natural part of life. And, importantly if you look too closely at just one point in your curve, it’s more than likely upsetting, because you’ll only see how far that particular point is away from what it’s supposed to be! However, if you look at all five of them together, you will more than likely see a beautiful curve form right in front of you.

Looking back at my 2018 “curve”, I am not unsure of how I feel. I feel strong. I am very tired at the moment though, as a productive year draws to an end. So I took today off. Mostly spent it in bed and reflected. Although I’m tired I’m more sure of myself than what I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’m certain of the direction I am going in.

Admittedly I am scared because so much is unknown. But fear is not gonna stop me from moving forward. My heart beats strong and urges me on. Something up ahead beckons. I’m cloaked with a strong sense of purpose and an immense sense of gratitude floods over me when I compare the person I am today to the person who I was two years ago.

2017 was kind to me because it pulverized me, crushed me before it shred me to bits. Even my hair hurt. The golden gift it bestowed on me through this was, it forced me strip off every narrative I previously taken on and used – all the walls that I built over the years and identities I thought defined me. After crushing me however, it introduced me to the nicest person that I know. Me.

So as 2018 started, I felt naked. I was also aware that it wasn’t a brand new beginning. It was simply a ‘rebooted me’. It was who I am, before I became anything else. I was naked because for the first time in my life I was simply being who I am without a single shard of anything else to cover me or conceal my soul. I’ve always been pretty authentic but never so naked and vulnerable. Evolved and taking ownership of everything. My essence, my past, my potential and for the first time in my life I made a concerted effort to fully live in the present.

The first few months I was like a toddler, still not ready to play outside and a bit clumsy, stumbling a bit.

Then I hit April and I had the first opportunity to test the evolved version of me. Life was busy albeit relatively quiet and happy. It was not comfortable or easy though – keeping things real and keeping them simple. My biggest enemy is, and always was, my own ego. #EgosMustFall. The situation in April took me by surprise. It felt good to be true to myself.

Life continued as it does. Uncomfortable yes, but productive. I was getting stuff done. I wasn’t realizing it but I was growing. I was getting stronger. I was flexing muscles.

Another test in July – this time a huge one. Again it felt good to be true to myself. With each test I fell more and more madly deeply in love… with me.

Then from July until now the time just flew by. Many things happened. Both in my career and in my personal life. This has been a good year for me in terms of both. Tremendous growth. I know that I’m not where I want to be yet. I also know that I don’t actually know exactly what it is that I want, or where or what that exactly entails yet, but I certainly know what I do not want. Most importantly, I know Bronwyn. And I know that she’s got this.

It’s been a beautiful year.

Eating Broccoli 🥦

I’m in the habit of googling phrases that describe how I’m feel at a particular moment and usually a bunch of articles come up, from which I select one or two or three to read. In a way it’s like having a conversation with someone (without someone actually having to be there) who understands how you feeling. Mostly it’s helpful, and I’ve honestly found some really good ones that have given me ‘real food for thought’ and helped me process whatever it is that I was feeling.

An interesting situation that has now arisen is currently I can’t find an article that adequately describes my current feelings or situation. I don’t think I’m unusual or special in any way. I guess that when most people feel like I am feeling at the moment they just don’t bother to write about it. So that’s why I am now writing about it.

I’m not scared of being alone or lonely. That notion or concept has lost its sting for me. I think over the past year (just like one would train yourself to not be afraid of the dark), I’ve trained myself to not be afraid of being (1) alone – or by myself and (2) feeling lonely. I’m not afraid of it anymore but …. I just don’t enjoy it.

There are many theories on how not to feel lonely. One that resonates with me is establishing human connections. For the most part ‘being connected’ to others mitigates the negativity of feelings associated with loneliness. And I am connected. I have an amazing supportive family, strong bonds with my children, I’ve two super best friends, a handful of other really close friends, a network of other activity partners, two great business partners, a bunch of adoring students who I love working with. And I don’t isolate myself from them. When I engage, it’s rich and meaningful. Equally important, I am in touch with my innermost core-self too, and I regularly spend time alone meditating or running to sustain that connection.

But there are times when I don’t feel like meditating, or like just being quiet and on my own. And I am not unhappy with being by myself but I do feel like something is missing. It’s like eating broccoli. I’ll eat it (spend alone quiet time with myself) and I don’t mind it but I don’t really enjoy it that much. Whoever said they enjoy eating broccoli is a liar…. trust me on that! It tastes ok but it’s not the same as ice-cream.

The most natural thing for me now to do is to get a partner and although I have tried, it’s not so easy. For a moment, let’s set aside the fact that there must be some physical attraction, or at the very least not repulsion. Let’s be honest, all of us have preferences and certain things like physical attributes that we would rather stay clear of – for me it’s a full beard. Not stubble or a goatee – that’s rather handsome, but a Father Christmas kinda beard. It just is.

Then, at my age I am not a blank slate. I come with experiences and I come with baggage. Let’s start with the baggage. Obvious ones that spring to mind are my children and my cats baggage yes, but I also come with a supportive family, a bunch of friends, a house, a car, a motorbike, a successful career (which includes students who depend on me) = all my baggage. See as the years passed I have built (and invested) so now I have these assets. A man I get involved with must not only not mind any of my assets that but he must also understand the value of all of my assets. If he has his own assets then one could assume (although it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true) that he will understand. To manage all of those assets, time is arguably my most precious commodity. If he is not able to comprehend that, then he doesn’t see my true value or worth. Then we are not a match and I’d rather not be with him.

So it’s more difficult at my age to find someone who meets that criteria. When we were about 20, we all had nothing or very little. Now that I am about 40, if he doesn’t have similar to what I have then there’s a chance that he and I do not share certain values. That doesn’t exclude a every man out there, there are exceptions, but it’s definitely a consideration.

Secondly let’s talk about experiences. Over the past 20 years, during my marriage and after, I have had experiences that have moulded and influenced me. I believe that I have processed most of them very well and although I still carry some scars, because of that, I am wiser and quite frankly really proud of my scars because going through all those experiences has made me much more loving, more compassionate and definitely more purposeful. I am still here to serve a purpose. Now, this also means that a man more or less my age will naturally also have had his own set of experiences. The thing is, each individual will process their individual experiences differently and at a different pace. This is another variable to contend with in a partner search. See what can happen is that you can find someone who you think is amazing (like I did a few times) because of the high level of synchronicity in so many areas, but then you discover (like I also did a few times) that he is still dealing with stuff from his past. A very common example that I can make because we all suffer from it is self esteem issues. No human being is exempt from self esteem issues. But just how big are those self esteem issues – that’s the question.

So what now…. well, getting back to that loneliness. I’m not scared of it, but admittedly it’s just downright unpleasant when I find myself in it. I’m currently still experimenting with healthy ways to deal with it. Not being fearful of it permitted me the space to realize that what I must not do is to settle (again) ….. Being scared of being alone is the reason why I did that in the past. So even though I’ve dated some really nice guys this year, my intuition is telling me: “if it doesn’t feel right, then don’t pursue it”.

The guys are really lovely fellas but….

One fella did Ironman a bunch of times, very masculine, brimming with testosterone, a very physical oke with a strong kind heart. I’m completely attracted to his sheer determination. And even more attracted to his cheerful demeanor. Whenever we’ve been on a date I’ve noticed how he goes out of his way to say something nice to people – like the cashier or waiter. Sweet guy, people’s person, physically strong. But….

There was another dastardly handsome fella who had me laughing all the time. Quick witted and so smart too, I literally could have conversations with him for hours on end – and we did. He works out of town and almost every night we’d speak on the telephone about various random things for two, three sometimes four hours. He is interested in my opinion and has a kind, benevolent nature just like I do. But…

Then there’s the other fella, who is very tall and super cute in a nerdy kind of a way, and fairly sporty too. Really sweet kind guy with a gentle nature. Calls me Princess 👸🏽 and packed a surprise beach picnic for our second date. I feel completely relaxed when I’m around him, But…

I’m not expecting to find someone perfect because I’m not perfect. Far from perfect – So maybe – I am probably going to settle. Maybe we all have to settle eventually – but my heart is telling me don’t settle Yet. So for now, I’ll eat my broccoli 🥦

The Home Stretch

19:40 Log entry: In reality I know there is still a fair amount of work to be done. From previous experience (my own M and that of my students), I know that even if you have completed the draft of your thesis, there could potentially still be plenty of revisions that need to take place – from either your supervisor or God forbid even from your examiner if they find major issues with your work! Then there’s the bibliography and annexures, an abstract 😱 and table of contents….. wara wara wara fish cakes!

However, right now it feels to me like I can almost smell it and touch it. My spidey-sense is tingling. That is, being done with this blerrie PhD. I’ve been really dedicated – like today – every time I considered taking a break I think “you almost there, just keep at it“. And my bottom is literally numb from sitting on it today. The other work that I have to do is busy piling up in my inbox and I imagesknow that I have to still get there sometime.  Eventually I’ll have to finish all my tasks, but tonight I want to finish chapter seven.

My brain is not firing at it’s peak right now, after sitting for most of the day – but I don’t care. I want to friggin finish….

Then I’ll be done with:

Chapter 1 – Scope of my research (ticked off)

Chapter 2 – History of Operational Excellence (OpEx) and the theories on culture (that has an impact on OpEx) (ticked off)

Chapter 3 – Regulation that affects OpEx and strategies to achieve OpEx (ticked off)

Chapter 4 – An international case study looking at OpEx in Japan, Europe and the United States (ticked off)

Chapter 5 – Research Methodology (ticked off)

Chapter 6 – Data analysis (quantitative data obtained from a survey sent to South African pharmaceutical manufacturers) (also ticked off)

Chapter 7 – OpEx model development and optimisation of the model using interview data from selected South African quality managers in the pharmaceutical industry ..I have three more paragraphs to go to tick off Chapter 7…….

(I’ll put out all the bonfires that are currently running rampant, (raging just tad short of out of control around me) because I’m just not looking in that direction, in the course of next week. And  then I will start Chapter 8 where I just write a conclusion on all my findings – and friggin kill that too!)

I can smell it, I can hear it, I can feel it….

To be able to train again, go for morning runs after dropping the minions at school. To call my friends and say let’s braai tonight, or let’s go to movies, hell let’s have a jacuzzi party. To not have to sit working on a Friday night and to be able to sleep late on a Sunday morning in the same weekend…

Ke Nako is almost here

22:40 Log entry: DONE!

 

Alive. Awake. Living.

So this is completely insane. My last post was barely 24hrs ago and was about how overloaded I am with work – another Mission Impossible Deadline, but something just came up and I have to blog about it.

It’s about living. About being alive and present in your life. It’s about being awake. It’s about loving your own self unconditionally – enough to fix any negative experience. It’s about picking up your shit, getting rid of any “I’m a victim” identity and going on.

I’m feeling so strong about this because two weeks ago I was stood up. Had a date with someone and he just never bothered to call to cancel or apologise. I was really excited, I had my hair done for date night and I had an outfit planned and I waited. And waited…… And waited…

He has his reasons… and in the past two weeks I made peace with it. I believe that essentially everyone is just doing what they can to be happy – just trying to love themselves. We can’t be angry at someone for your choosing their own happiness over ours – when it is in fact what we should all be doing. For some reason this was what right for him to do. I don’t believe it was personal – it wasn’t about me. It was about him. I let go. I breathed in, processed my feelings and breathed out. I shed a few tears (let’s be real – rejection always hurts – even if you didn’t want to go that party – if you don’t get an invite, then it stings). Then I continued with my stuff.

So.….. here’s the bit where I get to living – or why being alive is so wonderful and so scary. Unexpectedly someone asked me on a date today. And it’s someone who I really like (and he is someone who is a available – strange but true – at 40 years old that’s a criterion we don’t take for granted). In fact, I didn’t even realise he was asking me out. I read his message and thought he was saying it’s a lovely day for a cocktail on the beach, and I agreed. Only later when I re-read that I saw that he said he wants to take me for a cocktail on the beach. Like whaaaaat…. super super awesome cool.

Now living is scary because it’s getting close to evening time, a little voice in my heart whispered “What if he stands you up too?”. I freeze, but I am brave. I gently, lovingly tell the voice “Go lie back down. This isn’t your party. It is mine. If he does – then he does. And just like the last time, it is not a reflection on me”.

Anyone who does that just shows me that I should not be hanging out with them in any case. So I waxed my legs and painted my toenails a shade of playful baby blue with silver glitter. Tried on my denim shirt dress to see what it would look like with a pair of wedges because he is rather a tall fella.

I won’t let my past experience steal my happiness and joy. And I will deal with whatever when I need to. It’s scary to keep on living – but I owe it to myself to be brave. The destination of my journey is already determined, I have the ticket. I must just jump back on this train.

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I’ve done enough work for the day and listened to enough Christmas Carols today. (Klaar ge-Boney M for the day). Tonight is date night….. Well, take two at least. Let’s see what happens.