Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finding the good fruit in between the rotten

It is funny how three people made an indirect comment about my "good life" over the past couple of weeks by refering to my blog or something I have written there. A friend from Russia told me some time ago that she never reads people's blogs because she finds them too pretentious. I didn't want to ask straight out if she was refering to mine, but if she was she probably never read my negative posts on Angola and the "joys" of traveling in West Africa. My wife the other day, who I personally think reads too much in to my posts, told me that I have an "unrealistic life", or something to that extent. Yesterday a friend remarked on a comment where I said I was here in Tanzania "for work and not pleasure" yet I have these lovely laid-back pictures that were taken on another exotic beach. Somehow I am starting to feel as if people are questioning not only my "pretentious good life", but even my sense of responsibility. So let me clarify...

A couple of years ago I made a conscious decision in my life to ignore the negativity that particularly white South Africans around me had, and to actively look for the positive things in South Africa. I guess my well-known-by-now life-altering-book The Power of Now, also contributed to my decision to live for the now, to forget the past and to stop worrying about the future. Also, my friends from overseas that visited South Africa opened my eyes to the magnificant things we have in our country, and I realized that we walk past the good things in South Africa only to see the bad. Please, let me NOT kid you, we HAVE plenty of bad things here as well. I started blogging after a friend suggested I write my travel stories for everyone to read which I at that point only send to a few selected friends via email. So, Life's a Beach was born. I don't think many people read my blog to be honest, but I was enjoying myself and gradually I started writing about other positive things as well; South Africa, photography, kite surfing, braaing, whatever I found myself doing and actually enjoyed. I am not writing for anyone in particular, I am writing for myself...and one day for my son to read about his dad when he is all grown up. I am not trying to paint a colourful picture of how beautiful life is while ignoring reality, I am just concentrating on the positive things and then write about it. It encourages me to be more positive and see more positive sides in every situation. It makes me more concious of the good out there. Somehow being positive seems to attract more positive things too. Except of course when I go to Angola or West Africa where I find it very hard to see the positive in anything. But one thing I know for sure, writing is not only therapeutic, but concentrating on the positive things has dramatically changed my whole outlook on the world and on life in general. I changed from a negative sinical pessimist to a positive fun-seeking optimist. I have NOT lost track of reality at all. I still read the newspapers and listen to the doomsdayers' opinions, I still feel the pain of people getting murdered on their farms, and I still feel sorry for the world's hungry and lonesome. But I turn around from that and then appreciate every second that I am granted on this earth. I lost a friend a couple of days ago in a motor car accident and I still have not recovered properly from the shock of realizing how insignificant our lives on this planet are. We can be here today and gone tomorrow. All I can say to myself is "LIVE NOW!" Live as much as you can, enjoy life as much as you can, tomorrow it might be too late. Tomorrow a similar shock much closer to home might hit me, or it might only hit me in twenty years time. That is reality, it is not a death sentence and definitely not a reason to stop being positive.

My question then is, is there any wrong in appreciating a beautiful beach when I am having lunch on a business trip and then writing about it? Is there any problem in enjoying a kite surfing session when the freezer at home is leaking and the car doesn't want to start? Is it a crime to admit that I have a fabulous life because I actually do the things I like and not only dream about it like most people do? I don't think so. I still have the responsibilty of keeping a steady job to support my family (sometimes under less than favourable conditions). I still educate my son to distinguish between right and wrong (a very difficult task for an "semi-adolescent" dressed up as a responsible dad). I still get an empty feeling on my stomach when I see the "real life" out there with all its pain and suffering (the gross reality of life). I still make mistakes and hurt people and wish I could hit the delete button afterwards (sadly no such buttons exists in life). I also still believe that the ANC's incompetency to rule a country can fuck up South Africa like Robert Mugabe did to Zimbabwe (a worse thought than life's pain and suffering). I just don't write about it, I deal with it in my way and enjoy myself while it still has not happened. I prefer not to because it drags me down and takes me back to where I was a couple of years ago. And if I die tomorrow will I regret being positive in the last couple of years in my life? I bloody-well hope not. You just cannot necessarily create happiness or a better life by just changing your surroundings and circumstances, but you can create both by changing your attitude towards them first (it took me nearly 40 years to realize this). I think I have nearly arrived.

I will not change my blog into an inspirational one for sure. I would rather just be home, kitesurf and write about how I got dragged down the beach, because that is what keeps me alive and motivates me to keep going. Oh, and don't forget that little hand in mine when we walk from school in the afternoons, the ultimate reason for living. Never mind the distorted picture it paints. I don't have this fantastic wonderful or this irresponsible unrealistic life. No, I just concentrate on the positive and carefully pick the good fruit from in between the rotten to write about.
I leave you with some inspirational quotes from "beautiful Tanzania" while longing to be home with my family and friends back in South Africa.....

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.  - Virginia Satir

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. - Joe Lewis

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. - Grace Hansen

We spend too much time living in the ‘what if’ and need to learn to live in the ‘what is.’ - Rev. Leroy Allison

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”  - Angela Monet

It's your life. Live it with people who are alive. It tends to be contagious.”  - Peter McWilliams

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