Time Thieves – 2022 January No. 2

I am going crazy and want to change areas of life which are probably causing many of us to have way too little time to do all the important or pleasant things that we should have the time to do.

This wretched world of “me, me and more of me!” is the problem, and it’s sucking the soul out of many of us, though millions of people will continue to be in total denial! Have any of you stopped or even paused for a single second to think about the ways in which your time is being stolen from you every day? Okay, so we all (or at least many of us who are living in a relatively sophisticated country) have computers and mobile phones. Each time you do anything on either of these devices, you are bombarded by advertisements which, if one is totally honest, are useless and irritating to say the least.

So, you switch on your phone and click onto Facebook, as an example. There is a new post by someone whom you actually know and like. So, you decide to watch the video which she has posted updating all her friends and followers about her current circumstances. You think this is going to be a quick update. Think again! This person has no consideration for your busy life, and all the commitments which you have to fulfil during a normal day. 15 minutes after starting to watch the wretched, dragged-out video, you are angry with yourself for falling into the trap of even caring what this person’s life is all about! You were hoodwinked into wasting valuable “you” time because of someone else’s self-centred “me, me, me” time!

The same thing happens when you log onto a news app and see that there is a tantalizing question regarding, just as an example, the British royal family. The question seems simple but, lo and behold, it takes wading through reams and reams of trivia and barely related facts to try to find the answer to the question and the chances are that you will be so frustrated, that you never do. For heaven’s sake, let’s start remembering our school days, and having to make a precis of a lengthy piece of literature. Can’t we all start considering other people and stop dragging out information. As most of us cannot bear to wade through garbage to get to the nitty gritty of a situation, wouldn’t it be great if everything were simplified and answers were, as they should be, readily available in the minimum amount of time!

I am also getting frustrated on a regular basis with well known authors who, despite the fact that they have in the past written some really gripping books, are now taking about 500 waffly pages before we identify the killer, let alone the crime. All of this could have been reduced to a mere 250 pages – is this all a matter of trying to justify their existence on the year’s best seller list? For me, personally, short chapters, and a comfortable, easy writing style say it all.  I don’t want to read a page whilst wishing to high heavens that the author would stop all the filling and waffling and just get on with the job in hand – and a bit faster too please!

Just the other day I saw an article on U tube where a young American woman was offering to show viewers how to make very attractive fabric gift bags in a maximum time of 5 minutes. Now that really did appeal to me, as I do like to indulge in the rare bit of creativity. So, I started watching. 15 minutes later, and totally fed up, I turned her off. She had taken all this time and the gift bag was only half finished – so much for a 5 minute job! We are being coerced into wasting valuable time over and over again. I really am going to try to make 2022 the year in which I nurture each and every moment I have and not allow my curiosity to steal any of my “me” time!

Midlife Crises

All of a sudden you realise just how fast the years can pass you by without you barely noticing. One day you are writing final school exams and planning your future and, before you blink, you are wondering just where the time has gone. Looking back can be a positive thing to do, but more often than not it brings with it a feeling of loss and sometimes deep despair and disappointment.

Every stage of life has its good points and its bad ones. We all remember times during our childhood and teenage years when we may have had unhappy events which possibly contributed towards the way in which we subsequently handled our adulthood. Parents divorcing or perhaps even having died are always catastrophic things for children to handle, and the resultant sadness can manifest itself in long-term personality issues. Feeling that you may have somehow contributed to this traumatic situation can sometimes result in feelings of guilt and lack of self-worth. Nowadays, it is customary for victims of any kind of trauma to be offered counselling, but this wasn’t the norm in the past.

So, most of us just muddle along as we grow up and try to cope with those day to day challenges which life tends to throw at us, despite any childhood problems with which we may have had to deal. Then, suddenly as the years go by, life tilts a bit more than usual and we have to face the fact that our offspring are now grown up and often living far away and our own surviving parents are elderly and frail and may need help. As we recognise the longevity of so many of our family members and acquaintances, it can cause us to start to panic regarding our own future and how we are going to survive financially.Midlife Crises 2 350x227

We know for a fact that, in the western world specifically, the estimated life span of both men and women has increased dramatically over the past century. It is not uncommon these days for people to celebrate their 100th birthday whereas it used to be a wonderful achievement to be hale and hearty at 80! Insurance companies and investment specialists have jumped on the bandwagon and are hammering away at the fact that young adults need to start facing the possibility of having many retirement years for which they need to make timeous adequate provision.  At the same time there is world-wide unemployment and retrenchment, so this is not always viable. More and more people are becoming their own boss and no longer is there the enforced contribution to a pension or annuity fund. If you are battling to survive in your own business, putting money away for old age may be something which is sadly neglected.

2020 with all the challenges that Covid 19 has forced us to face hasn’t made it any easier to cope with all the above factors, but there is light at the end of the tunnel in many cases. There is absolutely no reason to retire totally from doing what you enjoy doing as long as you are still capable and relatively healthy. Many people have achieved or continued to achieve greatness in their latter years. To name just a few, the first to come to mind is the world renowned Sir David Attenborough who, at 93, has recently completed a very intense documentary pertaining to the damage that we humans have caused to our planet. The British actress, Dame Maggie Smith is still being cast in acting roles despite her advanced years as are others such as Dame Judi Dench. Let us never forget the music industry with the likes of Cliff Richard, Elton John and the ageless Mick Jagger and the Rolling stones. A critical factor is to try to remain positive, despite the changes which are inevitable as one ages.

Midlife Crises 3 350x162

It is a tragedy to allow all the knowledge that is gleaned throughout life to be wasted. Becoming a mentor to younger people, either through actually giving talks or lectures face to face or online (more so now due to the Covid crisis), or writing a book or articles to assist students could be a way to avoid feeling redundant. It’s never too late to start a new career either. One just needs to take that brave step and give it a go. You may surprise yourself to find that a hobby you hardly had time for in the past, is now capable of becoming a vibrant and profitable business. Try to avoid the potential mistake of asking others for advice, as they will probably thwart your dreams before you even start – people often enjoy the prospect of you failing, as it makes their lives appear so much better and they probably lack your courage to do something different.  Just go out and do it, and you may amaze yourself (as well as them) with your success!

Good Luck and enjoy the journey!

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often
might win, by fearing to attempt” – William Shakespeare.

Update and Comments: 6 December 2019

I seem to do nothing except make excuses and apologies for my lack of writing every time that I manage to sit down and start bashing away on my keyboard. However, this time around I am laying the blame totally at the feet of that always unseen, and criminally inclined creature with whom I have had dealings before, the very dislikeable time thief. He lurks out there somewhere and, when there is just so much to be done, and so many ends to be tied up, he wields his evil magic, and steals precious hours, and even sometimes days! In this case, and I know that I am not alone in my belief that 2019 did not have the usual numbers of days, weeks or months, he really surpassed himself! I say “he”, but the culprit could just as easily be a “she” or even an “it”. Whatever the case may be, I sincerely hope that 2020 and the start of a brand new decade sees the creature retiring or expiring completely. I need 365 days – oh bonus! 2020 is a leap year and we get that extra day in February! Now all that is required is for each day to have 24 hours with not a minute being stolen, hidden or removed in any other fashion. Too much life to be lived and words to be written.

I hope that you, my readers, are coping successfully with the end of year wind-down (often extremely hot in the southern hemisphere), and chilly festive preparations (in the northern regions) and may we all look forward to the end of a particularly challenging 2019  (for most of us here in South Africa at any rate, and possibly elsewhere too) and a bright new 2020!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

Update 6 Dec 2019 350x233

Update and Comments: 29 October 2019

Could someone possibly tell me what has caused this year to be only half as long as previous years? It seems just the other day that I was decorating my Christmas tree in time for the 2018 festive season, and now it’s almost that time yet again. I am beginning to think that there is an invisible and very devious time thief lurking out there, conniving and scheming to steal that very precious commodity from those of us who really could use a few extra months each year just to catch up on ourselves!

When a year begins with huge amounts of heavy rain resulting in a lounge having its own version of Niagara Falls, then I suppose it stands to reason that the rest of the year could be somewhat challenging. Roof and ceiling repairs, replacing a door, then small appliances deciding to give up the ghost, all played their part this year. Then last week my faithful laptop just made up its mind to go AWOL. No indication that it was suffering from stress, was overworked and under paid, and generally feeling frustrated and needing a long holiday. It just bit the dust, so to speak. It might have been a sign of loyalty if I had been given some kind of warning – but, no! Just a blank, non- responding screen.

Unfortunately, when one is totally dependent upon one’s computer, a quick decision needs to be made, and time is of the essence. Therefore, I am now getting my head around a new laptop with a more up to date version of Windows, and I hope that I haven’t lost too much of my writing due to the changeover. From now on, I think that the Cloud needs to become my new best friend. Cannot bear the thought of hours of work disappearing into thin air ever again!

All the above chit chat is just a way of letting you know that I am still here, in body if not always in mind, and back to bashing away on my brand new keyboard.

Until next time, it’s my hope that none of you are spooked out this Halloween!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

Update 29-10-19 350x235

Update and Comments: 22 September 2019

No excuse at all is acceptable for the fact that for the past few weeks there has been virtually nothing posted on my blog. I could blame it on the excitement of having celebrated a birthday with all the messages and phone-calls which accompanied that day in the calendar, but that would be a bit of a feeble excuse. After all, it should be second nature, after many years of multi- tasking, to be able to sit down and write something relatively intelligent in order to let people know that I still exist.

Living in Johannesburg, South Africa, unlike other parts of the world, we really only have two seasons – winter and summer. Although we talk about the first day of Spring being the first of September, it has often turned out to be one of the coldest winter days instead of heralding warm, balmy temperatures. This year was no exception, and it reminded me of being in my last year of high school when we were invited to visit an old age home in the town in which I lived at the time. We were asked to wear summer dresses and bring small bunches of flowers to give to the old people. It turned out to be a really bitterly cold day and we all felt as though we were going to die of exposure!

20150918_173145_Cropped 2 350x292

We have a plant known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which blooms in September each year. It has a beautiful strong fragrance which reaches your nostrils as soon as you come through the front gate. The sad thing is that it should have been named Here Today and Gone Tomorrow because, as soon as the temperature soars, like today, the flowers  as well as the fragrance fades and the plant is soon no longer a thing of beauty but a rather sad, dried out has-been.  That is what happens when you only have the two seasons. Living in Italy years ago it was so good for the soul to see how new buds and leaves grew slowly every day as Spring days followed those of Winter. In Jo’burg, if you blink you miss the transition from stark, bare winter branches to trees covered in an abundance of fully formed summer foliage!

One must not jump to the conclusion that everything here is faster than in other parts of the world –most certainly not! That is a bone of contention for many of us who have had to try to learn patience or expire! Africa is Africa and some things still take place according to African time!  As relaxed as it could be to do things in slow motion, it doesn’t bode well when one is reliant on modern technology in order to run a business.  Enough said! The sun is shining, the weather is hot, the birds are chirping and I am back in writing mode!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

Updates and Comments2 472x265

The Human Touch

“At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” – Plato

Babies who area left unattended and unloved at birth do not thrive and that has been a fact which has been verified over and over again through research and long term studies. The modern way of thinking is that, even prior to birth, the unborn child can benefit by the mother talking to the baby, playing soothing music to it and generally trying to keep a calm and positive frame of mind during her pregnancy. This is proving to be a big challenge in a world where many mothers are leaving the reproduction process until their career is well established.

It would appear that in many instances, the higher the achiever, the more stress their career usually generates. We land up with a catch 22 situation with a highly motivated mother to be who is bombarded with masses of available data informing her of how to handle her pregnancy in order to have as healthy a new-born as possible. Sometimes one has to wonder whether the saying “while ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise” doesn’t actually have some merit. The more information which is available, the more the poor future mothers have to worry about.  It’s don’t do this, don’t eat that, avoid the following but, make sure you take the time to enjoy your 9 months gestation period!Print

The reality is that many new mothers have to work almost up to their due date, so the luxury of taking things easy is often only enjoyed by a privileged few. However, once the baby arrives it is the love and nurturing that is of utmost importance for the future well-being of the baby. This is not always easy to achieve when you find yourself with a niggley, colicky baby who doesn’t feed well, and cries a lot. Then the feelings of guilt may kick in whereby a new mother starts worrying that it is due to her having pushed herself so hard at work to meet all her deadlines before commencing her maternity leave.  This is when the support of a friend or a family member is so important as it is easy to become depressed and riddled with anxiety. The lack of sleep after having a baby is absolutely horrendous and has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Being zombie like for weeks on end doesn’t make bonding with your baby any easier either. This is the time for a special kind of human touch.

Human Touch 3 350x334

A partner who is understanding of the new mother’s need for emotional support can make all the difference.  Modern fathers in many cases are way more hands on when it comes to helping with a newborn than men were in years gone by. However, a female friend, sister or mother can be invaluable in helping in the early weeks after the baby’s arrival. Once a woman feels that she is coping with her new role it becomes far easier to give the baby the loving attention which it so badly needs to thrive.

The upside of the above is that, in most instances, a new mother has had the best part of 9 months to prepare for the baby’s birth. How much more difficult is it when, often quite out of the blue, a phone call comes in saying that you are now at the top of the adoption list and your longed for child has arrived, and can be fetched very soon! There have been none of those irritating trips to the toilet during the night for the past few months, to prepare you for broken sleep. It’s now a case of sink or swim and your nights are no longer your own.

When all is said and done, the human touch prevails in most cases and millions of children benefit from being nurtured and cared for despite the concerns and worries of their over-worked, over ambitious but extremely loving mothers.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure
love, are dogs and infants.” – Johnny Depp

Mind Travel

The sun was beating down, the seagulls were circling overhead making their raucous sounds, children’s excited voices could be heard coming from the distant beach but she was blissfully unaware of anything that could detract from her glorious feeling of aloneness.  Floating over the gentle waves, totally relaxed, this was the most incredible therapy. The past few months, and even years, if she was honest, had been extremely difficult in many ways. Some old friends had moved to distant shores and several had died. There had been the stress of coping with huge financial losses as well as certain health issues. On top of this, there were always decisions to be made and she loathed making decisions especially as they always tended to involve money, or the lack thereof. So very difficult to switch off and relax, but today was different.

Right now all these complications were of no consequence. She was experiencing the most incredible form of relaxation and she managed to clear her mind of every thought as it threatened to creep into her state of semi consciousness. Peace, calm, floating, floating, gently over the waves without a care in the world. This was something she should have done months before instead of trying to relax through the usual methods such as watching a movie, chatting to friends or reading a good book. Those activities used too much energy. What was needed was a mindless drifting form of relaxation. Today was absolutely perfect-just what her inner voice had been nagging her to do. Far better than trying to lie back in warm, essential oil infused bath water surrounded by fragrant candles – the persistent background noises caused by the other members of the family destroyed any true feelings of peace and harmony. Floating in the ocean away from the trials and tribulations of the real world – this was the closest thing to heaven.

What’s that ringing sound interfering with her feelings of calm? It’s going on and on. She forces herself to become aware of her surroundings and with feelings of dismay realises that she is lying on an inflatable mattress in her pool in the back garden and not floating in the ocean at all! It’s that wretched mobile phone that’s causing the disturbance to her tranquillity. Darn it – she should have turned it off, but with the possibility of business calls and potential problems with family and friends, it was usually left on twenty four hours of the day and night.  Oh well, that’s today’s mind travel episode over she says, and feeling cheated, clambers out of the sun-warmed water and forces herself, reluctantly, to get back to reality and answer the call.

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub”- Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Mind Trvl Beach 515x342

Short Stories

Imagination is the divine body in every man – William Blake

So often it is a short story which catches the imagination and there will be times when some of my posts are really short and, I hope, enjoyable. However, at other times I may divide a writing into several separate posts. Time seems to be the enemy of many of us, so I trust that the short writings will be received favourably by you, the valued reader, if you find there just don’t seem to be enough hours in your busy day.

Moving On

Moving On

Sitting by the window, she allowed her mind to wander. She found her thoughts filled with nostalgic memories, and the dreary look of the early winter garden did nothing to cheer her mood. She loved the crisp winter days, but this bleak, still, grey weather made her miserable.  She remembered the day over 23 years ago, when she had brought him home from the hospital – a beautiful, big, blonde baby boy. How the years have flown, she mused. No longer so blonde and the baby fat all gone, he had become a good looking young man with light brown hair. A fledgling who had left the nest to try spreading his wings. She was the last person to think of clipping those wings. She had encouraged the move, knowing the importance to their relationship of letting go. Possessive mother was not part of her makeup.

She loved him dearly, but the past few months had been fraught with frustrations on her side. She had begun to feel used, and somewhat abused by his apparent selfishness. Passing his open door and viewing the mess within had made her fight to control her anger. She knew this was all a part of the cycle – outgrowing the family home and no longer having any regard for family rules. Shouting didn’t help matters. It just caused her to feel exhausted and nothing was gained. Finally, he mentioned his hopes of getting a flat of his own to rent.  All of a sudden there seemed to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel! Could it be possible that, before those men in white coats came to take her away, her sanity would be saved?

He had been an easy child with a good sense of humour. The teenage years had often proved to be challenging, as any confrontation seemed to end with the slamming of doors and the threat of running away. She blamed this behaviour on his father’s genes! She took the credit for his love of socialising and his sharp wit. Funny how easy it is to pass the buck for one’s children’s shortcomings! She was proud of his accomplishments. He had worked hard for the past five years and was beginning to find his feet. Soon he would be able to consider making a down payment of a home of his own.  No doubt marriage would be the next big step. The cycle would start all over again with the birth of his first child, just as it had the day he was born.

She had to force herself not to feel depressed. After all, this was the beginning of his true independence, so why was she feeling sorry for herself? For the first time in years, she had a room to pursue her arts and crafts and how she had yearned for that moment! It must be the weather that was making her feel down. Exercise would do the trick. She dragged herself from her thoughts and started changing into a tracksuit. Running the dogs always managed to cheer her up.

moving on eagle and boy 525x371

Memories

 

Do you remember me, in the dark of the night,
When you lie awake,
Unable to sleep?
As you fight to escape your fears
And doubts,
Do you think of me?

When you wake to the sun’s embryonic rays,
Do you think of me?
As you face the onslaught of another day
Of struggles within and without,
Do your thoughts traverse the miles,
And do you miss me?

We were one, you and I
For many long years,
But now we are two, and divided.
Do you miss me?
As the shadows wane and evening draws nigh,
Do you remember me?

memories 2 515x336

Judy Binns Nemeth