Where’s that pause button…

Life – it’s so fast! We always seem to be chasing something. Wishing days away, not enjoying each moment. Forgetting awesome experiences in our past, as there’s so much automatic focus on things gone bad in the past. I must remind myself to pause, slow down and remember.

Today, I am remembering a time when I was fortunate enough to visit India. Yes, really! INDIA! This may not be on many people’s bucket lists and had I not needed to travel there for work purposes, I don’t think I would have thought of it as a travel destination.

I travelled to India in 2011. That’s 7 years ago & I still dream about my time there. I visited Pune, Agra, Aurangabad, Delhi & passed through Mumbai very briefly. What do I remember most?

The people! Warm, welcoming and so very humble. I’ve made lifelong friends there & had the pleasure of hosting one of them in my hometown – Cape Town. Even while visiting me, they wanted to do everything for me! It’s hard to spoil Indians 😊 There are so many people in India, streets are busy, everywhere you go is always busy. And, yes… TRAFFIC is absolutely crazy, yet it works! I was a passenger on a motorbike & scooter (those folks have street skill on another level!) and I jumped in a few rickshaws.

The food! WOW! Think you’ve eaten the best Indian food from your favourite spot around the corner? Think again! But, I did cheat & have Chinese food & McDonalds while there – ha-ha! Although, they don’t serve beef (as the cow is a sacred animal in the Indian culture) so it was a McChicken something. I ordered a mutton dish and was warned – this is actually goat. I was a bit of a chicken … and chose chicken instead! As I walked the streets, accompanied by someone who is now a lifelong friend (and calls me her South African sister), I saw vendors selling sugar cane from contraptions I’ve never seen before. I drank ginger tea from another vendor, who served it in a plastic bag! It was definitely a learning experience, drinking tea from a bag. Here’s a pic of my first breakfast in India.

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The sights! The very first morning after arriving, having travelled for about 12 hours, I was brave enough to join a group of locals for a river rafting trip. They fetched me at 5am… I almost changed my mind – so glad I did not! It was a bus trip through a very rural landscape, with one of the most beautiful sunrises of my life. We stopped somewhere along the way for breakfast. This was my first culture shock! No coffee? Only tea. Fresh fruit, cereal or fry up breakfast – nope! Curried something. Which, of course I tried & loved! (above breakfast pic)

Once we arrived at the river, the riverbed was dry! There was some miscommunication, as we waited hours for the flood gates to be opened for the water to run through. I was so hot & thirsty, I went into a rural village, desperate for a drink of water. I was given water from a bucket, I gulped it down before hearing one of my hosts caution me to only sip! It was river water, not the freshest or safest. It must have been given to me with a good heart, I survived to tell the tale 😊 Eventually, we could experience the river rafting & after all the rapids, we arrived to a calm location, close to where a dinner was planned for the group. Everyone started jumping out of their rafts & I was so nervous – I cannot swim LOL I remember so clearly, thinking: “when will you ever get another chance to do this” and I jumped! With a life jacket, but I jumped! & floated along with everyone, who by then had nicknamed me “Cape Town” 😀 I should remember this experience more often. I jumped! And I survived & actually loved it. Hmmm, a life lesson perhaps?

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Of course, you cannot visit India without going to the Taj Mahal. What an amazing experience. What an amazing history! I even loved wearing the mandatory shoe covers. I visited many temples & forts, a beautiful garden called Koregaon Park, in Pune. At the theme park, Chokhi Dhani, I watched traditional Indian dancers & rope walkers, sat with a potter as he taught me to make my own clay pot, but the one thing I will never forget, is riding the “Ferris wheel” Once we got on, three boys started jumping in sequence to move the wheel! I thought certainly this was a joke, but it was not! It was a human powered Ferris wheel. Definitely a first for me & I actually felt guilty having fun on it, but they laughed along as they went about their synchronized business.

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Plenty of first time experiences & loads of memories that still make me smile.

Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane. A lovely feeling taking time to pause & remember happiness.

I’d love to hear from you, if you’ve travelled to India, what your experiences have been – or perhaps it is on your bucket list.

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Does it ever end?

Peer pressure doesn’t magically disappear when you turn 21. It’s something that takes a different form once you’re an adult. Sometimes it’s just blatant bullying.

For example, why don’t you have a boyfriend? (In the “what’s wrong with you” tone) You may even get nudged (or bullied) into a fix-up.

Now I have a great guy in my life, so the shift moves to “when are you getting married?” You then get reminded that you’ve been in a relationship for however long they can remember you being together. Also, you are reminded how many others have tied the knot. Ever consider, maybe we as a couple have just not found this to be a priority? That maybe we are happy & content with the way things are? And last I heard, weddings are frikkin expensive – we’d rather TRAVEL!

Next up…the “when are you having kids” questions. Oh my hat! Having been in said “long relationship”, my partner & I discussed this at length & came to the decision that we have no interest in having kids. We don’t have to justify or explain our decision to anyone. But the amount of brazen reactions we get, like;

  • You don’t know what you’re missing out on
    • I’m sorry? Sleep?
  • Who will you have when you’re old
    • I am enough & plan for my “old age”
  • Don’t you want to leave a legacy
    • Doing so everyday
  • How can you be so selfish? There are women struggling to have babies & you choose not to?
    • Am I to become a surrogate to ease your conscience? “Choose” = Choice = MINE

I live my life. I am not a sheep in the herd following what everyone else is doing. If something works for me, I am going with that. Surely, if I am happy, that should be enough? It’s hard enough being an adult, having to deal with grown up pressures, work stress, bills to pay, etc. Dealing with other people’s ideals is certainly not on my priority list.

Thank goodness I’ve gotten over the “people pleasing” otherwise I may just have popped some kiddies to “fit in” or make others happy.

So you really have to be clear on what it is you want. Before succumbing to the peer pressure & making life altering decisions.

Please feel free to comment on this topic.

Yawn…

I’m tired! Tired of being a people pleaser. Tired of wanting to be liked.

I think this is the point in my life where I’m realising just how exhausting & draining it is. The people in my life, the people I allow into my world, know me. They know all my quirks, get my sense of humour, cringe politely at my bluntness, they get me. Those who aren’t in this magical circle, don’t get me. I get that now. And I think I’m becoming ok with it.

So what if I’m not included in your hush conversation or private joke. Just because you’re giggling, doesn’t mean you’re giggling about me. This is something I really need to let go of. I am not the centre of other people’s worlds…haha! I mean, really now!

I’ve always wanted to be included & liked. From as far back in my memory as my brain allows! Often, this came at my own expense. So much so, that I don’t really know who I am. After always wanting to be something someone else wanted. Or, always thinking I had to be the same as someone else. This has to stop! Good grief! How am I going to live the life I love, do the things I love, dress the way I love, eat the way I love or just LOVE my way… if all I ever do is seek approval (albeit secretly / subconsciously) from others? So I smoke, I swear, I have a flabby belly… I’m not perfect, but I have yet to meet someone who is. So why do I seem to have the misconception that others are “better” than me, that who they are, what they are is better than what I am? Strangely enough, with all my imperfections, I am loved. I am liked. I am enough, just not for myself it seems.

Now where do I start? It’s so daunting! Having realised this, I now have to face change. Change in my mind. Shame, poor little head-space is overflowing! Ok, ok. I am also tired of putting pressure on myself, so I am going to take this one slow. Rediscovering who I am. What makes me tick? What makes me laugh, cry, hurt, enjoy? Over the past few weeks, I have started realising there are things I like & enjoy that may not interest people in my life. (More on this another time J ) Just because no-one else is doing what I do, enjoying what I enjoy, doesn’t make it wrong. It doesn’t mean I should stop, or be ashamed of it. This is part of who I am.

If the people in my life, in my magical circle, can’t understand these things about me or don’t like me the same because of it, then our circle needs to be re-evaluated. After all, not all circles are unbreakable.