Tag: change

Is Social Media a Thief of Joy? – or is it Comparison?

When I compare myself to others, I always seem to come up lacking.  I suspect that this is the same for many of us.  Is comparison the thief of joy? And what role does social media play?

Before the advent of social media (and I am old enough to remember it) we went about our world fairly oblivious of what other people were doing.  What they looked like.  What event they had attended.  How cute their kids were.  Somehow or other we managed, and I suspect that we were happier.

I actually love social media

This blog post isn’t all about slagging social media off.  Not at all.  I really value social media and can list numerous ways it has made my life better.

  • I have met such amazing people through social media who have become firm friends. When I was moving town, a wonderful woman I had met on a group promised to bring wine and cake on the day I moved.  And she did.  I really value her friendship (you know who you are – thank you)
  • I have been able to share my blog with people all over the world. I have also used social media to meet so many other bloggers who have inspired me.
  • I have reconnected with so many people from my past. Long lost cousins, school friends and numerous other wonderful people who I might have lost touch with.  Especially as I moved from South Africa to Ireland.
  • I have been gifted this window to the world. There are times when I have been lonely and knowing that I could pop into Facebook and connect with friends has been a true gift.
  • I have gained knowledge. I have joined groups that deal with issues that I face such as arthritis and pernicious anaemia (which I knew nothing about).  In these groups I have met fellow sufferers and we have lifted each other up.  We have answered questions and explained the unexplainable.
  • I have connected with hundreds of people through my own and have had the privilege of taking these online relationships offline through meet-ups and events.
  • I have made a little money. I have sold art, found people to work with and met up with brands who wanted to work with me.

There is a big but though ….

There are two real negatives for me relating to social media.

The first is time.  When I am online – either at my laptop or gazing at my phone scrolling or chatting, I am effectively disengaged from the world around me.

I know I spend too much time online.  I know this because I scroll, and scroll and realise that I am seeing nothing new.  I know this because I have to go back and ask what is happening because I missed a vital part of the conversation.  I have literally been missing in action.

When I do ‘forget’ my phone I am far more productive.  I get things done.  I listen to music, clean the house and find my creative juices flowing.  I love the practice of daily painting and I can’t paint and scroll at the same time.

I am really trying to limit my time online.  Those that know me are chuckling and rolling their eyes and saying ‘yeah’.  I promise though – I am trying.

The main reason why is that I am finding that comparison is indeed a thief of joy for me.

Comparison is my thief of Joy

My situation is unique to me.  And let’s face it each of us has a unique situation.  I am 54 now, and I suffer from severe arthritis which limits my mobility and in fact everything I do.  Most days pain is my companion and I am always tired.

I struggle with my weight as well so I am no svelte size 10.  I have wrinkles, and rolls and that is just the start of it.  Working full-time is no longer an option – as I simply can’t.  I also struggle with overwhelm and anxiety. There are weeks when I don’t post on my blog because I haven’t been able to write, or photograph anything.

On the positive side I have wonderful friends who support me. I have a good life. Fashion and beauty inspire me.  Travel delights me and I am determined to do more (albeit on a strictly limited budget).  There is nothing I like more than sitting down with a friend drinking creamy cappuccino.  I find my true bliss with a paintbrush in my hand.

I am not writing this for sympathy, but merely to give you a true picture of where I am in my life.

Even though I am intelligent I am still drawn in to this dreadful comparison trap.  I watch through the lens of social media as others attend events, go out for gorgeous dinners I cannot afford and seem to have endless cocktails with friends.  I feel real envy when I see people progressing in their careers when mine is in a sort of standstill state.  A cruise – oh I wish I could afford a cruise.  Skinny Jeans and high heels – no chance Kerry!

I know that there are many people who are too sick to go out.  People suffering from depression who cannot comprehend the goings on of others.  Your child might be kicking and screaming and very dirty and you cannot help but compare with the angels you see on Facebook.

Real Lives versus Facebook Lives

A very wise friend and mentor once reminded me.  Beware of the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives.  We all put our best foot (or face) forward on Social Media.  If I take a selfie and I look too tired and sick I don’t post it.  Perhaps I should.

I think that there are a couple of things I need to do for myself to put social media in the right place in my life.

  1. Monitor my time spent online
  2. Remember the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives
  3. Don’t compare. Comparison is the true thief of joy.
  4. Be grateful for what I have!

Truth or Lies?

We don’t know what really lies behind those beautiful images and even if we did, do they really change anything?

If there was no social media, then I wouldn’t know about these things.  I would simply be going about my day living my life.  And perhaps being more joyful.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

A New Year, a New Way

word-of-the-year

The time between Christmas and New Year excites me.  It may seem odd to some but I just love this week which for me is laced with anticipation.

I don’t like New Year’s Eve parties.  The false anticipation that something is going to change as the clock strikes midnight.

I do however, love a new book.  Cracking the spine and smelling the pages.  My Kindle is my companion these days, but my love of books has simply transferred to notebooks, journals and books with blank pages. A new year is like a book of blank pages.  365 days of opportunity to be in charge of your life.

Five years ago I was certainly not in charge of my life.  In fact I was juggling so much and lost focus and balance in a huge way.

I changed my life and sitting here today I can say that I am happy.  Today I feel strong and in control of my life.

A Word for the Year

I said goodbye to New Year’s resolutions, and instead for the last 5 years I have chosen a word for each year.

This strategy has been core to the changes and most of all improvements I have made in my life.

Balance

My first word was balance and I tried a few techniques to incorporate balance into my life. It worked in a big way across all areas of my life even on my core balance which wasn’t in my mind at the time.  I ended the year being able to stand on one leg!

Change

The second year I chose the word change and again used the simple techniques to incorporate it into my life.  By April of that year – only four months in – my life had changed to such an extent that there was little that hasn’t changed.

Discipline

Discipline was my word the following year, and this simple word focussed on areas of my life that needed strengthening.  It wasn’t an easy year, but it was a year of small changes that made big differences.

Creative

After those three years I needed a word that would feed my soul.  I have always been creative (I honestly believe that we all are), but I had been neglecting my creative side.  Creative – what a beautiful and fun word to have.  I started my blog, I got my paint brushes out, and I started teaching crafts again.  Most of all though – I fed my soul. (I also started writing my book)

Detail

There are two types of people in the world – big picture people and detail people.  I would definitely fall into the category of a big picture person. My career as a marketing strategist and an entrepreneur was all about big thinking, but detail was always my weakness.  For 2016 I chose detail as my word.  I needed this word – I really did!  I have been through a transition this year and putting a focus on detail has been essential.  I am so glad I chose it!

I also have a powerful word that has become an overriding word in my life and that is Fabulous.  Regular readers of the blog will know how much I love this word and what it means to me.

What will I choose as my world of the year for 2017?

During this reflective time I am again contemplating which word I will pick for 2017.  I know this programme works and I am excited to be sharing it with members of the Fabulous Woman group on Facebook.  Join me for a Facebook Live video every night and am delighted to be sharing this special planning time with people from all over the world. It was exciting to see people popping up from America, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and more.

I will be back in a couple of days to share my word for 2017.  If you would like to join me on this journey please feel free to join the Facebook Group (only girls allowed), my page on Facebook and by subscribing to the blog.

I am excited!

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

South Africa to Ireland a Big Move – My Story

There is no place like home

 

I have updated this blog post, which is one of my most read.

Thirteen years ago I moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to Ireland.  Not only was it a huge move from continent to continent, but it was also a move from city life to a rural life in beautiful Connemara.

It really doesn’t matter how many people you ask about the experience before it happens, it is still a massive shock to the system.

Ultimately my decision to move was motivated by the rising crime in South Africa.  There were a few experiences that really touched my life and I realised that I was living with fear.

I don’t judge the people who have stayed and neither do I judge the people who have left the beautiful country that is my birthplace.  The time came and I had to make my choice, and the fact that I had a 7-year old son was a huge part of that.

From South Africa to Ireland

We moved across the world and landed up in Connemara in early February.  Connemara is a beautiful place, but it doesn’t really show it’s beauty in February.  It was wild, windy and very cold.  It rained almost every day.  I wasn’t prepared, and my pretty umbrella bought in South Africa turned inside out and blew away the first time I used it.

With the hindsight of 13 years I am glad I made the move.  It has been a very turbulent 13 years which has seen me live in Connemara, in Westport, Mayo and now back in Athenry on the east side of Galway.

It has seen me start my own business in the form of a craft shop called An Siopa Buί – The Yellow Shop.  Through the shop I was privileged to travel across Ireland and meet some really special people.   Circumstances change and I returned to the corporate world and spend two and a half years in Westport (considered to be the best place to live in Ireland.)  I am now living in Athenry (made famous by the song The Fields of Athenry) and am moving onto a different phase of my life.

The common thread through my life and the big move has been people.  The friends that I have made at every stage – both South Africans in Ireland, South Africans at home and of course my Irish friends.

After 10 years I took Irish Citizenship and am proud to be Irish – although I will always be South African too.

I visit South Africa as often as I can and will always have the song of Africa in my heart.  When I am homesick I think of the sound of crickets on a summer night.  The evocative smell of sunset after a hot day and the wonderful social culture of bring and braai (a BBQ where everyone brings something along).

I was honoured to take part in a TV series on RTE in 2007 called No Place Like Home.  The producers came up with a cool concept of featuring foreigners living in Ireland, and comparing where their lifestyles in Ireland with lifestyles back ‘home’.  The title really says it all.  There is no place like home, but what I have come to realise is that you can have two homes.  I will always have a little part of my soul in Africa, but now I have fallen in love with Ireland too.

The West of Ireland where I have made my home is a truly beautiful place.  One day on a drive between Westport and Connemara I stopped to take in the view.  The word awesome came to mind.

Truly awesome as you realise that this magnificent scenery is simply there for us to appreciate and admire.

Ireland has been good to me.  I have made so many friends, through my crafting, through blogging , through the ICA and through my career.  I have been welcomed into so many homes and drunk copious cups of tea as I have learnt the generosity of spirit that the Irish are known for.

My son is now grown-up and has completed a Physics Degree at University in Galway and is now working in his dream job in the United Kingdom.  He has made his home here but I will always remind him of his African roots, so he too can have two homes. (Maybe even three since he has moved on)

You can read my post about my empty nest  here.

My information about the legalities and practicalities about moving to Ireland is a little out of date.  It is almost 15 years now.

I am delighted to say that there is a whole lot more information out there than there was when I did the move.

There is a wonderful Facebook Group run by South Africans who have made the move and I suggest that you join it and take a deep dive into the files.  There is so much information available and the people in the group are so helpful.

You can find the group here.

I do try to answer all the emails I receive but it isn’t always possible so apologies in advance.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

The Wisdom of Winnie the Pooh

You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think,and loved more than you will every know

I have beautiful memories of reading the Winnie the Pooh books to my son.  Every Sunday morning was anticipated and the book would be taken down, the bookmark found, and the story would begin.

Although essentially children’s books, the stories of Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne have universal appeal.  They make us laugh, they make our heart’s sing and they also teach us life lessons.

Monday 18 January was Winnie the Pooh Day and the HuffPost Better Together featured a great article about this really special bear.  Please also remember to scroll down and you will see a cool little video with 6 facts about Winnie the Pooh that you might not have known.

The article which was written by Katherine Brooks, senior arts and culture editor for Huffington Post delves a little deeper into the origins of this special bear and his friends.

The quote I have chosen for my image and for this Wednesday’s quotation is really special to me.  I am using it as a bit of an affirmation right now as I go through a few hard changes in my life.

It wasn’t only Winnie the Pooh was inspired to make so many great statements, many of which are so relevant to today’s society.  The other characters have distinct personalities and are very quotable too.

Here are a few of my favourites:

“I wasn’t going to eat it – I was just going to taste it”

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

“Some people care too much.  I think it is called love.”

“Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.”

“ The harder you fall, the higher you bounce.” –  from a personal favourite Tigger

and for balance …

“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine” – from Eeyore.

I would love it if you would leave a comment and let me know your favourite Winnie the Pooh quote.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

When change happens – make it good change

Marilyn monroe quoteChange is inevitable.  Marilyn Monroe is a woman that divides.  I admire her and am often drawn to her quotes.  I think that to an extent she was misunderstood, but behind the blond curly locks and sexy voice was a very wise woman.

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I was musing on 2015 and realised that so far it has been a year of two halves.  For the first 6 months I was happily living in Westport, working away at my job, with a great social life and a fabulous circle of friends in Mayo.

The second half has been all about change.  I found a new job in Galway – which was the first domino in a series of changes.  I left my beautiful flat,and now know that I would have been given notice anyway as the owners were moving back!  I bade farewell to familiar streets that I walked every day greeting people along the way.

The transition was not easy, but now I am starting to realise that this quote is true.  New things are starting to fall together.  I am writing this sitting in my lovely new home, contemplating putting on a fire with a pot of soup on the stove waiting for my dinner guest.

I have found new ways to exercise and am walking regularly.

I am closer to my family and am rekindling old friendships and making new ones.

I have new challenges in the workplace that are allowing me to exercise my mind.

So, thank you Marilyn for those wise words of inspiration.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my Wednesday quotation.

Kerry x

 

 

How to eat an elephant … dealing with big challenges

How to eat an elephant- (2)My very wise big sister shared this concept with me.  It was during a time when I had a lot on my plate – big mountains indeed.

She told me a story about her daughter.  As a little girl she was faced with a lot to do – homework, projects and more. My sister asked her young daughter and how she would eat an elephant.  The answer is simply – bite by bite.  I know that so many times in my life I have been faced with an enormous elephant sized challenge and sometimes I simply can’t figure out where to start.  Then I remember the elephant and break it down into bite-sized chunks.

I have recently started a new job and believe me, after a couple of days I realised I was facing an elephant.  So much to learn with so many different aspects to the job.  I am not quite finished eating this particular elephant, but I have broken the challenges down into smaller chunks and in many cases smaller tasks again.

The first split was to figure out what was urgent and had to be done.  Then look at those tasks that would make a real difference and then finally some of the tasks and marketing ideas that are great, but can wait.

Unpacking my house, dealing with my health and many other challenges are always easier bite sized.

Thank you Janet for teaching me this valuable lesson, which I use in so many parts of my life.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this Wednesday’s quotation.

Kerry x

Writing my first book and how Words changed my life

W

 

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to write a book.  I was never quite sure what the book would be about, fiction or non-fiction, but I knew that I had a book in me.

I think perhaps we all have a book in us, and I am proud to say that I have finally started writing my first book and it is all about how words changed my life

Regular readers of this little blog will have read a few posts on balance and change.  These are two of the words that have changed my life.

Let me back-track a bit and tell you about my word of the year idea and how this has evolved into the start of my book.

A few years ago I was in a very dark place.  I simply felt that I had no choices anymore, no opportunities and that I was stuck in a situation that I couldn’t change.  I hit rock bottom and from this I had a germ of an idea.  I did a good bit of navel gazing trying to figure out why my life had got so out of sync and realised that my life was out of balance.  This can best be described by a post  I wrote about Balloons in a Box.

I decided that instead of a new year’s resolution I would simply choose a word.  This would be my Word of the Year.  I didn’t know how it was going to work, so I simply started by thinking about it.  Literally meditating on the word.  Slowly but surely over the year my life started to come into balance and I ended the year in a far better place. Take a sneak peak at how it panned out here.

The next year, after some more soul searching I chose the word Change.  Now I can promise you that this was a dramatic word to choose.  In a few short months the changes had started happening and they continued to happen.  Big changes in my life that although traumatic resulted in a better me.

Choosing words to focus on became a way of life for me and I have spent a year with Discipline as my word, and now this year my words (I felt I needed two) are Create and Respect.

I am really honoured that quite a few people have decided to use this approach to ‘resolutions’ using words like brave, focus, grow and strength.

So the book is started and sneak peaks will continue to appear on the blog.  I really do value the feedback and comments, please keep them coming.

I have been through quite a few changes in the last few weeks myself, and have missed out on a few blog posts.  All up and running now with my brand new broadband connection so here is a promise to keep the posts more regular.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

 

Making a gratitude list – and checking it twice …

gratitudeˈɡratɪtjuːd-nounthe quality of….. there are many people who have been very nice, and none that have been naughty.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Over the last couple of months I have been through a bit. I have moved home twice, started a new job, said farewell to friends and hello to new friends.

Throughout it all, there has been one constant.  Gratitude.  I have so very much to be thankful for. My family and friends near and far have been there for me.

Sometimes it is the big things like a the gift of a holiday or a bed for a month that I am extremely grateful for, but then again there are those smaller things that simply come along at just the right time when you need them.

The day I moved to my new home I had so much help.  I simply could not have done it without the kindness of others.

I was moved in and was surrounded by boxes and memories, all the helpers had left and I must admit I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  A little bit lonely to be honest.  The next thing I was greeted at my front door by a fellow South African I had ‘met’ on Facebook.  She had those moving day essentials, a bottle of wine and a cake!

I am no good at scrubbing and cleaning because it hurts my hands.  How blessed am I to have a friend who came and cleaned my bathrooms for me.  True friendship,

I have honestly been so humbled when I wrote my gratitude list.   It is something quite personal but very important.to remind us of the true meaning of gratitude.

This definition is very true.  It is not enough to simply be thankful.  We need to show appreciation and return kindness.It is also really important that amidst the hustle and bustle of life, it is important to make a call, send a text or even send a card to say thank you.

I challenge you to make a gratitude list.

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

Pushing beyond your limits

Push beyond your limits (2)We all have limits.  I know I have reached mine when I am ‘crying tired’.  It was my mom who first used that phrase.  It really is so descriptive.

Yesterday I reached crying tired.  I have been putting my all into learning my new job, where I have literally hit the ground running.   Throw in horrific traffic problems where it is taking me up to an hour and a half in stop start traffic to travel a normal 20 minute journey. And then for a final flourish add in packing up my home.

In addition to this I had reached the end of my ‘battery life’.  Let me explain, I have pernicious anaemia.  As I cannot absorb B12 through my tummy – and B12 is what oxygenates your blood – I have to have it injected on a regular basis.  I compare myself to a battery operated toy.  Twenty-four hours after receiving my injection I am at full battery capacity.  The couple of days before it is due and I am really run down and tired.

I am not looking for sympathy here, just explaining how I came to reach my limits.

The only problem is that when you do reach your limits sometimes you have no option but to push through them.  I had to get up early this morning to travel to work, put my brave face on and handle the job in front of me.  I had to think up some solutions to my move which is was becoming a logistical nightmare and simply push on.  Giving up isn’t an option.

Today as I am reading the post I am calm.  I pushed beyond my limits – not quite sure how, but I found that extra 10 percent needed to keep going.  I had a great day and am now fully ‘charged’.

Next time I get crying tired, I need to remember to keep pushing beyond my limits.

Thanks for reading my belated Wednesday quotation.  Please feel free to share.

Kerry xx

 

Trying to take one day at a time

quote taking one day at a time.

 

You know when you get a point where you could either laugh or cry? Well I was at that point yesterday.  As crying will give me panda eyes, I think I will just have to laugh.

I love this quote which I heard years ago – I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several attack me at once.  No matter how organised or controlled you get, and no matter how many lists you make, sometimes thing get simply overwhelming.

For me it is a combination of finishing up a job that has been a huge part of my life for two and half years, packing up my home, trying to find a new home, and of course saying goodbye to my friends in Westport and to the town itself, a really special town that deserves the title of the best place to live in Ireland.

I know I am not going far, but it is still quite a thing.  Twenty plus boxes packed (so far …), and I am tripping over the empty boxes in the hall.  My lists are out of control as I remember something else and dash to add it to the list only to find out that I have packed the kitchen pens.

The paintbrushes and paint are packed but not the gleaming white canvasses which are sending out a siren call for colour.

The bedroom looks like a clothes cannon has gone off as I pack into piles.  One for the charity shop, one for my London holiday, one for the new job.  And I must remember to leave out clothes to wear for the next few days.

My work desk is still chaotic, but it tidier than it was a week ago and the drawers are empty so that is good.  Imagine by tomorrow, this desk will be clear of clutter and awaiting a new owner.

Daft.ie and Rent.ie are my new go to places for web news.  House hunting is fun – for some people, but not for me!

Now, I realise that this post is not a how to, or motivational, or particularly positive.  That is because some days you just have to accept that several days are attacking you at once.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share the quote with others that are being attacked.  I think it happens to all of us.

 

Kerry x

 

%d bloggers like this: