Ten Things In Life That Are Absolutely Free

Getting everyone in the car in the morning in time for school is a bit of a challenge. You tell everyone at least 20 minutes before the time that we are going to leave in 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, I tell the boys that we have 5 minutes to get in the car and leave the driveway. Another 10 minutes go by because someone is missing a shoe or another can’t find his library book.

By the time we are all in the car I am just a tad frazzled. We get to school and as I wave my son goodbye he says: mommy, I love you so much. You can’t beat that.

Here are my list of 10 things that are absolutely free and that you cannot buy for any money in the world.

1. A child’s love

It is so unconditional. You can’t do anything to get it, you can just receive it.

All a child needs is to feel safe and to feel loved. It is in our power as adults to give them that. Don’t shy away from that responsibility.

2. A beautiful summer’s day

You wake up and it’s there. Whether you choose to see it or not, it will stay in your face. Seasons come and go. At the beginning of each season, embrace it. Don’t wish the time away. For once it has passed, you cannot get it back.

3. The feeling after a good run or workout

You may not feel like going to the gym. Don’t think about it, just put on your trainers and get going. It is really the best way to start your day.

Some people would love to move a bit more, but their bodies won’t let them. Be gentle with yours. Fuel it the right way and move.

4. A cup of coffee with a good friend

The coffee may be $1.75, but your friend’s company and good advice — priceless. Make time.

5. Curling up with a good book on Sunday afternoon

You may have had to pay money for the book, but the investment is in yourself. The time you spend nurturing, learning and growing cannot be bought with any amount of money.

6. Coming in from the rain and cold and taking a hot shower

The lights are on and you have somewhere to ‘hang your hat’ like my friend Nick Maccarone would say. Appreciate what you have for someone else will give their left pinky to have what you have.

7. Checking your bank account just before month end and finding that you have more money than month left

I wrote another piece a while ago about needing less. The easiest way to lift your mood is to know that you’ve worked hard trying to curb your expenses and then one day seeing that all your efforts to save are paying off.

Savour the moment, but don’t stop. It is only the beginning of great things for you.

8. Having a sense of humour

Whether you are the one with a sense of humour, or you have a friend with a sense of humour it makes life 10 times easier if you can laugh at yourself or catch a joke.

My colleague said something at work yesterday and if I think back I can’t help myself but burst out laughing. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in a while. The best are those who can tell it to you as if they are reading the weather forecast. Enjoy!

9. Long awaited rain

On my grandfather’s farm in Namibia we are always waiting for rain. It is a semi-arid climate with long, hot summers.

The air is dry and there is very little green fields for the animals. When I was a child, we would spend most of our holidays on there.

At Christmas when you see the clouds gathering and you can hear the lightning and thunder after you’ve been waiting and praying for months. It’s a different kind of joy. You have to experience it.

10. Gratitude

It’s so easy to become despondent and question everything. Our daily routine sucks us in. We feel like we are barely hanging on.

Take some time out. Go somewhere quiet and alone and just be. Think about everything that is going well for you. Think about all your blessings. Appreciate who you are and what you have.

11. Bonus — Your beautiful smile.

You have it, you own it. Give it away freely and it will come back to you one thousand fold. Just try it.

Life is what we make of it. It’s in our hands.

You ARE Interesting and Smart, and YOU Matter

Building confidence and self-awareness and loving who you are

While growing up and in high school, there was the popular clique and then there were us. We were the average girls. I was one of them. We would always be just at the edge of all the activity and hype.

The smart and interesting girls had so much fun.

Everyone wanted to know what’s happening in Smartville. They sounded clever and confident and all we could muster were nods and oh really.

Fortunately time is a great equaliser. Fast forward 10 years and you will see who made it. It’s not always the high school sweethearts. Few things trump determination and hard work. Laziness cannot be part of your vocabulary.

It took me a long, long time to figure out that I was just as interesting and smart. That I can actually be quite witty and fun. You don’t have to wait for anyone to give you that validation. I want to encourage all the girls and guys who feel they are not matching up.

Those who feel inferior because your 3rd grade teacher did not think you will amount to much. Sadly, those words may have come from a parent or care giver. They sting and they stay.

Let’s encourage positively affirm our young people. You need to know that you are valued, that you are respected and that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Unfortunately, living in a digital world the enemy is just a click away. We are looking to Social Media for that affirmation by posting a perfectly staged moment and waiting for the likes. If you are confident in who you are, you don’t need any validation. Much less from digital friends who don’t even know your address.

Let’s teach our kids that their sense of worth must come from within, it cannot be obtained through someone or something else, like buying a loaf of bread over the counter. It comes from a place of love, self-awareness and pride in who you are and where you come from.

We as adults have a responsibility to the youngsters in our care, be it our own children or those of family and friends.

Everyone has a place and your place is where you are right now. Tomorrow your place will be different. You will be ready and you will fit right in. The anxiety comes from thinking about it when you are not there yet.

Take every day as it comes and know that if you consistently work towards your goals, you will wake up one day and you will be there. The opportunities are right in front of you, it is what we make of them.

There are things I know now that I wish I knew earlier, but I realise that I may not have been ready. Trust the process. Trust and take the advice of those who have walked the path before you.

Treat everyone you meet with love and kindness, for you know not what battle they are fighting.

Let love lead.

Be The Change You Want To See In The World

Do Something For Someone Who Can Never Repay You

As we were driving this morning to run a few errands, there was a heavy police presence in our area. This was unusual for a Saturday morning. It later dawned on me that it was the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

She was a South African anti-apartheid activist and was married to former President Nelson Mandela. She was very much part of the freedom struggle that led to the country’s independence in 1994.

We Are Indebted.

She, and others like her, fought for our freedom. She didn’t know me by name, but I am free today because of her. She didn’t have to, but she did.
South Africa is a better place because of her.

In a man’s world, she stood up. There is no excuse for me and you.
It’s time for ordinary citizens like you and me to pay it forward. In whatever manner we choose. There are opportunities all around us to do good and show kindness.

If you are reading this you are inherently fortunate. Our basic needs are met. About one 3rd of the world’s population live on a dollar a day. What are we going to do about it?

On Minimalism

We can start by making it a point to get out of the endless consumerism treadmill. We don’t need more stuff. It’s a good time to clean out the house and donate unwanted stuff.

Physical clutter takes up mental space.

Buy less.

“My riches consist, not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.” — Joseph Brotherton

Our journey here on earth is temporary. We are on borrowed time. Strive to do something that will leave a mark. Not for applause or accolades, but simply because we care.

Kindness, Kindness, Kindness

Kindness starts at home. Be gentle with your spouse. Be gentle with your children. At the office. Go out of your way and make someone’s day.

Those who need it most can never repay you. It is infinitely more valuable to give than it is to receive.

People like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela stood up and said enough. It is our turn. Let’s be the voices of the voiceless.

There is always an opportunity to show kindness. To make an impact. To help someone in a less fortunate position. We owe it to ourselves.

”Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” — Annie Lennox

We will all die one day. The saddest part will be to die without ever having lived. That is the biggest regret of the aged.

You have a chance to turn it around. Start today.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James