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.


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.

Dala what you must

I shouldn’t be blogging because the truth is I have the most pressing deadline ever – like seriously. But life is feeling beautiful albeit a bit stressful. Can’t explain it, I’m just feeling grateful and remarkably happy despite the stress. And so as I am working on my writing, I am listening to Boney M sing Auld Lang Syne. 😳😱🤭🤫#GuiltyPleasure. My heart is so happy, so I want to capture this moment on my blog.

Back to “Dala what you must” – It’s is colloquialism in my community and my best friends and I use it quite often. It basically means “Do whatever it is that you must do” or “Do whatever you decide you can or must do“. So the phrase can have a positive connotation or a negative one, but generally when we tell each other “Dala what you must” it’s typically when one of us needs to get out of trouble for some or other reason. For me it’s an endearing term.

See I am so over dala’ing my Puh Huh Duh (PhD) project. And I cannot wait to bow down to the universe with gratitude and respect when this is finally done and say Thank You for the lessons that this part of my journey has taught me –  but then also be so glad to be done with writing chapters on Operational Excellence in the Pharmaceutical Industry in South Africa!!!! Yawn…..

I want to get on with my life now. I want to start the next phase. Besides the academic component,  in personal capacity I have grown so much during the time that I have worked on this study. I have gotten to know myself really well, my weaknesses and my flaws. I’ve learnt to love myself, truly unconditionally and deeply. I have finally also learnt to stand up for myself and say an unequivocal No, when something makes me unhappy. And probably the most important is, I have learnt to forgive myself.

So in April this year when my supervisor said “send me your first draft by end of June” and I still hadn’t done my final interviews, I blerrie knew that was practically impossible but I continued working as if I was going to make it.

Then in July she told all her students who were coming to the end of three years (this is a PhD study hey…three years? #SlaveDriverMuchMaybe…. but I push my own self hard too, so I’m  not complaining), to send her all our chapters by 17th August.

And then the 17th August came and I only had chapter one in a presentable format. To explain that – see when you a write a thesis, I would argue that no one in history has ever submitted what they wrote when they started. Yeah, you start writing, then you do literature review and then what you wrote changes, and then you do data analysis, and then what you wrote changes, and then it changes and then changes and then it changes yet again. But I was definitely starting to see my work come together, so I sent her an email and said I’m sorry I didn’t make her deadline. However I asked her permission to send her one chapter per week for the next eight and she said Yes, and I said “Bless you Shalini

And then end of September came around and I still wasn’t done. Admittedly I wasn’t working completely non-stop like I did with my Masters Degree. But the thing is working non-stop on that degree is what led to me being clinically depressed in that year, and so this time I know better and therefore I strove to do better. I continued to be involved with family and friend activities – took days off to celebrate the birthdays of two of my best friends, celebrated my own children’s birthday and hosted a party at home. I engaged in some other research on educational technology and my abstract was accepted to present a paper at the RITAL conference the end of this year – and I was asked to write a chapter in a book that is being published. I even dated a really nice guy for a bit. Busy but balanced? I was learning and growing.

When we know better, we do better- Angelou Maya.

So back to now. Back to my chapters. I sent my supervisor four chapters last night that I am very proud of and I admitted to her that the others aren’t ready yet. The others are about 70% done, but truthfully I’m feeling excited about them. My voice is getting stronger in my writing because I can see what my OpEx Model looks like. And I’m feeling confident about my work and proud of my work. And so she has given me another two weeks, which I am delighted about. I can do this!

So why Auld Lang Syne?… I don’t know… It just makes me feel happy. Doesn’t it make you feel happy?

Dala what you must

Photo Credit: Vannie Kaap (


Go on… You have the power

All that we are arises in our own thoughts. So with our thoughts my dear friends, we are the creators of our world.

The power lies with us…


So it makes sense to invest your energy where your power is doesn’t it – invest the energy in you

Happy Tuesday Beautiful People. Let’s create ourselves a Beautiful World 🌍