Archive for July, 2013

July 26, 2013

A Planner’s Pitfall

Ok I admit; I’m a planner. I’m that type – where once an idea is in my head, not much can get in my way before I turn the idea into reality. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love spontaneity like a last minute decision to take a road trip and I especially love surprises – but I also love to plan. I love to organize, I love to have goals. I love to challenge myself and I love to check things off the bucket list. I’m sort of Type A. But one thing life constantly reminds me of – is that no matter how much you plan, organize, or prepare for, you never really know where your path can lead. And what a beautiful thing that is.

One Year Ago I never Imagined

One year ago, I was beyond content, I felt rejuvenated, and was entrenched in exploring every inch of San Francisco. I spent as many minutes possible with friends, doing fun social things and embracing the lifestyle of the twenty-somethings. But yet, quickly I started to realize that there are other things I also wanted to do with my time. Like spend more time with family, exercise much more vigorously, start saving money, and determine a stronger devotion to my faith. More and more, I was searching for new ways to have fun, and new ways to reach my ‘beyond content’. I haven’t changed as a person, but some of my interests may have. One year ago, I had no idea what my new definition of rejuvenation would be. And what a beautiful thing that is.

I’ve noticed I’m not the only one walking down an unforeseen path. My sister and her husband moved to the Big Apple about a month ago – when only four months ago they had no idea they could be moving to New York. The opportunity (an awesome opportunity) came up, they took it, and they figured it out. Amidst a trip to South Africa that had been planned for almost a year, they sorted out all the moving pieces and did what they needed to do for this new opportunity. And you should see the view from their new living room – it is beyond magnificent. And what a beautiful thing that is.

A good friend of mine the other day said something that just stuck with me. I was telling her about how I’ve been feeling a little different lately, about my slight change of direction, about new people in my life, and how certain things from before just don’t seem to interest me as much as they used to. Her response went something like this: I would hope that you have changed and grown from a year ago. I hope we all have. If everything looked exactly the same as it did a year ago, we would probably need to reevaluate things. What a beautiful thing that is.

Does your life look exactly like you imagined it would? Have you let go of things that didn’t work out exactly the way you thought? Maybe you went to school for a degree that you wish you still wanted a career in – but you just don’t. Maybe you’ve picked up a new hobby or interest that you never dreamed you’d enjoy. Maybe you’ve taken some hits, been hurt, let down or left alone. Maybe a job didn’t work out; maybe a relationship didn’t work out. There are certain things in life that you just cannot plan. You can’t organize everything, and you certainly don’t get a user’s manual for much these days.

You have to take everything that life throws at you, sort out the good from the bad, find what speaks to you, and march forward with your new rejuvenation. Turn a planner’s pitfall into a reevaluation pit-stop. What a beautiful thing that can be.

So from this Type A, organized driven, slightly OCD planner who still has no idea where my path will lead me – I wish you happy traveling to unforeseen land. No matter where you end up, remember to just love life.


July 1, 2013

Not Enough Ways to Thank a Person Like You

Fortunately for us regular people, there are individuals in this world who are put on this Earth to make a difference, make a change, or make this place better for others. In different ways and unique styles, certain people have the courage, heart, and persistence to do things that other people are not fit to do. I would be willing to bet there are several of these people in your own life, whether you acknowledge them for this or not. And of course, there are those who have accomplished so much, or something so extreme that they are known all around the world for their deeds and sacrifice for humanity. This week especially, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what others do for me, what some have done to change the world, and those who sacrifice absolutely everything – even their lives – for selfless actions.

Late yesterday evening, Arizona lost nineteen remarkable and heroic firefighters while saving people, homes, nature and the community from a Prescott fire. I did not know any of them personally, but I will be forever thankful for their service and sacrifice. Prescott Firefighters In these unfortunate and tragic circumstances, it’s hard to understand why or how this has to happen in our lives. It is also easy to get a tainted view of the world, as negative or damaging feelings fill our hearts and minds from pain and mourning. But in my humble opinion, every single one of those nineteen souls deserves more than that from us. Nineteen firefighters were not brave, courageous, strong, skilled, trained, and determined just so we can then give in to moments of weakness. Those nineteen heroes deserve in return, for us to carry on with that courage, meaning and perseverance even through pain and sadness. I’m not saying it will be easy, and I’m certainly not saying there is an ideal way to mourn. We can’t change what happened, but we can change how we respond and show respect. Nineteen heroes have become angels, and they will never be forgotten here on Earth. There will never be enough ‘thank-yous’ for the nineteen of you.

My heart also grieves for someone who will never know how much he changed my life. Nelson Mandela is currently fighting for his own life in my hometown, Pretoria, South Africa. I was a child when President Mandela was in office, shamefully too young to realize what extent of history was unfolding before my eyes. But even as an eight year old, I quickly grasped on to the love, hope, and 20130701-120229.jpgtransformation that my President believed in so strongly. I saw changes in my school. I saw changes on television. I saw changes in sports. I saw changes in people. It took me years to understand the full depth of what I was seeing, but I know what I saw in Madiba; a man who believed so strongly in a cause to create a better place for all, no matter what the sacrifice or no matter the trials. He wanted a better place for all – not just some, not just a select group, or those who deserved it more than others. He challenged us in our thinking and actions, which certainly didn’t come easy. But he kept going in hopes to make a small difference, and he ended up changing the world. Nelson Mandela’s vision, persistence, heart, courage and strength to stand up for what he believes will forever be locked into my heart and fuel my understanding of humanity. Madiba will never know, but my passion for public policy and its effects on people and communities came directly from his commitment to our country and to our people. With the remaining days that we are blessed to have him with us, I hope he is certain of his magnitude of influence, change, hope and love this world has come to know. To you Madiba; there will never, ever, be enough ways to thank you.

This week also serves as a celebration and honoring of America’s Independence and the accomplishments of our Founding Fathers. As an immigrant and naturalized US citizen, my family and I are extremely grateful for this great country and the foundation on which it was built. Yet again, I find myself thinking about all those from years past and those who currently sacrifice their lives to defend our freedom and keep our country united. Celebrating the Fourth of July is and should be, a great time with family and friends, hopefully gives you a day or two off from work, and fills you with great food, a beer, and plenty of pool or sun time. Perhaps this year though, in addition to the fun festivities, we will remember that our freedom doesn’t come easy, cheap, or without responsibility to protect, reflect, and honor it. There are and have been leaders who built a foundation for us, admirable pioneers paving our way, and heroes who fight for us every day. There will never be enough ways to thank people like you.

Liberty and Justice For All

So to my parents, siblings, friends, a handful of former teachers, and spiritual leaders in my life – you know who you are – there will never be enough ‘thank-yous’ for you. My life is undoubtedly better because you are in it. This week I mourn the loss of people, but I also celebrate the meaning and accomplishment of their lives. This week, I am a proud South African and American citizen, aiming to capture any stint of inspiration for you.

And hopefully serving a small reminder to just, love life.

Have a happy and safe July Fourth my friends!