Three things

For some time now, there has been a trend running on Facebook about gratitude. These range from memes to stories and challenges on pages that preach gratitude. 

Some posts are quite cliché but a further look springs new meaning to them. My favourite of all is the challenge where each one gets to state what they are are grateful for everyday. Most times, such challenges are limited to seven days. Sounds easy enough, huh?

The main instruction is to write down three things that you are grateful for, for seven days. Easy peasy! 

What I thought was going to be easy turned out to be one of the most difficult things I had to do. Three looked like a thousand. My list would often have two very similar items and one other item that people often throw out there ever so often. 

Gratitude, is a sense of appreciation for all things good even in the most difficult situations. That’s how I look at it at least. To be honest, being grateful under difficult times is one of the hardest things. Being clouded by sorrow and often times self pity or failure to look beyond the dark clouds limits our ability to feel and appreciate the good around. That has been my problem. However, I want to turn this around and become a much more positive person regardless of what is going on. So much of this gratitude thing will have to work hand in hand with positivity. The power of positive thinking. My grateful list for today:

1. My parents waking up 

2. Zamfest tickets  (please let the show be good)

3. The will power to say NO to being added to another WhatsApp group. 

This may not be what everyone had in mind but I am grateful for them and so much more to unravel throughout the day. That’s the thing with this gratitude attitude, you are more aware of the good as time goes by. With more practice, I will be able to add more seemingly important things to the list.

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Wisdom teeth

Recently found out that my jaw could not accommodate two more teeth. “You have a compacted jaw…” Those words led me to burst into laughter. I figured it also meant that I have a small mouth which means that all those years I was told that I have a big mouth were useless because science says that I have a small mouth! Yes. I know that’s not what they meant. Just…just go with the flow on this one for me, ok? Thank you! You are not allowed to laugh.

The dental visit story. Yes, I went to the dentist for the first time in my adult life. The place I went to is actually a dental school, which means that the people attending to the patients are students. Senior students under the supervision of the doctors. Not a very helpful piece of information if you are going there the first time or have a throbbing toothache or whatever case you feel needs more experienced hands. It is unsettling to a larger extent but I went anyway.

The man at the registration counter was actually nice. It didn’t take too long but the waiting room was quite packed considering how early it was. A quick scan of the environment showed student doctors taking a peek at the patients in the waiting room, possibly counting how many each would have to attend to that morning. I also thought the guys were trying to ensure that they got the prettiest patients, saw them staring at some patients. 

The lady that sat next to me was really scared to go in. The thought of the tooth extraction procedure being done on her was shaking her to the core. I managed a big smile and some words of encouragement. Interestingly, at that point, I felt like the words were meant for myself than anyone else. It didn’t take too long before I was called in for my consultation. 

The sight of tools that were used sent cold chills down my spine. It was too late to turn back. I was moved into position and the teeth interrogation lights were also positioned. Lights, tools and action! 

The story would have been more interesting if there was breaking teeth, needles being stabbed in the jaw, ghost like screams and such but it was nothing like that, my teeth are in good shape. All I needed was a good scalling and polishing 😃

Small changes 

Today revealed something about me. It was a small thing but a milestone in my adult journey.

Being a holiday, I planned to go to the salon before it opened. It’s a really popular salon and there have been times I have had to wait for 6 hours before being worked on. Holiday rush to get hair done was probably on a lot of women’s minds. 

Called the salon to find out if they were open while walking to the bus station. I was fortunate to get a response in the affirmative because I was ready to turn back and continue with sleep sweet sleep and figure out the hair issues as the week proceeded. Bus came up in no time and off I went. 

The salon was in an old neighbourhood, a place I lived in for 13 years. Actually remembered the day we moved out. A day after my 24th birthday. Moved to Mansa a day later. Time definitely flew by.

Got to the salon and for the first time ever, I was directed to an empty seat and a hairdresser came to attend to me IMMEDIATELY! Couldn’t believe it. Waking up early was actually worth it! 

The hair was done in no time and started off. I looked like Diana Ross but that was a small issue because I was going to trim it to my liking later. Took the scenic route to the bus stop. Got there and the guys calling out for people called for a station near my home but not particularly where I was going. 

One of the call guys insisted that I take that bus because the bus I wanted was going to take forever to come through. Another came to tell me that he was ready to take me for half fare so that I could take another bus to my actual stop. It was a reasonable offer but I said no. Previously, I would have been on that bus in no time but I stood my ground. It didn’t take too long for my bus to come through and I was so happy that I didn’t have to wait forever as I feared earlier. 

Got to my stop and turns out that it’s still called the same as it was 3 years ago. Bus stop names tend to change over time around my area so it was quite interesting to know that it stayed the same. 

People stared as I walked, it was the Diana Ross effect of course. Strutted my little tush like Tyra. 

Enough digressing. However insignificant it was, I said no till I got what I wanted. Stuck to what I believed in and it got me to exactly where I wanted. I was in charge, didn’t let anyone convince me otherwise. There was a really good second option but I didn’t settle. Something to look at for the week 🙂

Bill payments

I think I come up with the most clichĂ© titles ever! 😅 Yes, Sherlocks, this post is about paying bills 😎

My thoughts were hovering around the idea of convenience. Most adverts on tv will sell the idea of doing things within the comfort of our homes because you won’t have to deal with the hustle of annoying people, long queues, rude receptionists or cashiers. 

Actually remember listening in on a conversation about holiday shopping and how they loved services like amazon prime (had to do a little research about it later at home to appreciate their feelings towards it.) Amazon is surely doing it right because it got some major love and this major love it’s receiving translates into really big wads of cash. 

That brings me to the next thought. Cash! The concept of convenience has people paying for services and things we typically had to physically get up for and take a bus, car or just walk to the place that had what we were looking. But now it’s all paid for in the comfort of their homes or whatever space they are in. Take for instance, buying electricity units. I remember standing in snake like queues praying to get to the front before the cashier says it’s time for her lunch break or system malfunction. Well, those queues are still there but there’s a complete array of options to things getting done in the quickest and hustle free manner. There’s options like mobile banking that is accessible on almost all banking platforms, telecom companies have been big on this one and those ATM look-alike machines. I must admit it, I was a mobile banking junkie till I decided to stay away from the service and eventually forgot my pin numbers. Went back to the service centres to renew my pins a couple of times, not so convenient now, huh? 

Speaking of forgetting pins, we were low on electricity units not too long ago and couldn’t buy because of …yes, that. You got that right. I didn’t have money in the accounts that had bill payments enabled on the mobile banking platform 😸. My niece aka trusted companion, provided the teenage hormones are not raging, went with me to the ATM (another convenience) then to the electricity units place. One place was surely crowded at that time of day so we proceeded to go a tad further. The units sales shop was closed but we looked around and there it was, it stood next to the ATM machine, right at the entrance of the supermarket, the one stop transaction thingy! All I had to do was click the required service, follow the prompts, feed it money and voila! It spit out a receipt, sign of a successful transaction! The convenience gods did good on that one. 

For as long we will continue seeking convenience, people may no longer leave their homes to do anything anymore. Companies are raking in on the option of delivering whatever people request for to their doorstep for a fee. 

The next five years will be pretty interesting as talks of a cashless society already started and some countries implementing it by completely erasing the role of the cashier. You will notice that with technology advances it becomes almost inevitable to get rid of convenience. I will delve into that topic another time.

Smile

Smile tho’ your heart is aching

Smile even tho’ it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by

If you smile
Thro’ your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shin-ing thro’ for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev-‘ry trace of sadness
Altho’ a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time
You must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worth-while

If you just smile

Nat King Cole’s song is one I have been thinking about today. The simplicity of the song speaks a message of hope and comfort. In the midst of man’s foolishness is this little gem of wisdom. 

It is as if a mother is cradling her little one, rocking back and forth while singing this song. This picture becomes the norm whenever the child needs comfort till a time when she is away from her mother and is facing a difficult time. The image of her mother cradling, rocking back and forth resurfacing much to her delight in the moment of grief. There, right there, she feels comfort. 

Release

Blogging is therapeutic. So I have heard anyway. Many people will encourage you to write down your thoughts as a form of release. 

Just the other day, a friend requested another friend to get him a book and a pen. I may have called him a cheapskate for doing this till he explained that it was for the sake of inspiration. He had been meaning to write more but just didn’t have the motivation to. I still think it’s an odd thought but it makes sense to him so it is what it is. 

Fast forward to today and the emotions enveloped my desire to live or do anything. Missed work, missed breakfast and missed out on life for the better half of the day. 

However, not all was lost. I read a couple of articles that emphasised writing down thoughts. The benefits of doing so pointed to release. Emotions need a release. If you’re like me, a person that doesn’t show much emotion in front of people, you will know that it is quiet difficult to keep everything in all the time. The boughs break eventually. However, it only happens when incredibly overwhelmed about something. The bottom line was clear, we all need to let off some steam regardless of who we are. 

So here I am, looking to try my hand at writing down my thoughts. If I don’t like it very much, I will say that I gave it a shot. 😄

Calm

Today I felt happiness. Today I felt like myself again. Today I felt at peace.
Rewind to a few hours earlier, my mind was busy. Running through to do lists and a couple of what ifs at the odd hour of 3 am. I had to quiet the thoughts somehow. There was an article I read about breathing, sounded bizzare in the mesh of thought, one of the thoughts highlighted that people rave about breathing. For instance, a woman in labour is encouraged to pay attention to her breathing. Still didn’t understand stand why but a flash of light, another thought just said, “try it”. 

Calmness is what I felt each time I exhaled. Inhaled and held in the breathe a couple of seconds then exhaled. Repeating this process gave me another thing, relaxation. I felt relaxed. As the body settled in this new state, I discovered that my thoughts had quietened down. I was quiet, both physically and mentally. 

The effectiveness of this gem of knowledge trickled through the day. Calmness. For the first time in a long time, I smiled to myself and realised I was happy. There was so much that may have contributed to it but there were also so many things that could have taken away from it. At that time, I was happy. 

Plane food 

​I really think that curry or spicy food should not be served on planes. Plenty of food selections are there. Host food tastings while simulating flying if you have to. Just don’t serve curry on planes.

Yes, I feel that strongly about the issue. 

One thing I was looking forward to on a trip I took last year was the food because a day of travelling can be eased by good food, food solves a lot of problems. Marriages have been saved by food! I jest :mrgreen:

 I was eager to test out my theory on food easy the flying hibbie gibbies. New airline, new experience and new food! My sister on the other hand wasn’t too excited about it. It was her fourth time flying with the airline and the thought of the food appalled her. I didn’t let her feelings about the food deter my excitement. Food over feelings y’all, yes it’s mean but I was excited! 

One interesting thing I noted was the choice of food served, it’s spicy and fragrant food. Main meals had three variations: lasagne, chicken and rice or fish and rice. At one time I picked the fish and rice as a safety because of the deadly nature of too much spicy food. I didn’t even eat my meal because it looked horrible. Unfortunately, not many passengers realised the dangers of spicy food and I’m sure they regretted it. The lines that formed to the bathrooms were never ending. Two obvious things came to mind about the possible causes of the lines, 

(1) overfeeding and

 (2) spicy food. 
They fed us so much in short periods of time. I was happy about it to a large extent, you sit and get fed! That is close to paradise my friends! We all know what that led to.

The vacuum toilets did not help much because they didn’t suck the skid marks(pardon me for this graphic) left behind thoroughly and the next person had to see the mess before using it. No time was left in between for a quick clean because people were pressed and when nature knocks, keeping it in is next to impossible. 

In conclusion, food excites me and i’m certainly looking forward to another airline food adventure. Just hope there won’t be curry 😛

First days

Being new is never easy on anyone. Think about it. A baby is born, it cries. A stranger holding it triggers the crying face which eventually ends up in a long wail. On the other hand, new person holding baby is nervous too and desperately hoping not to make the baby cry. For most of us, declining to hold the baby after an excuse like “baby is so small I don’t want to break him/her” or “I don’t know how to hold her/him”, is our go to, you understand? No? Ok maybe I am a little twisted in the head. Seriously though, how do you feel when you make a baby cry?

First day at a new school is difficult, first day at work is also difficult. Not sure which is worse between the two. School has kids and man can they be mean. Flip the page, work is not very different either. You need to impress to fit in otherwise you will be known as “that person…” Yes, you will end being identified by a description tag, not name but description. The description tag is usually negative might I add. For instance:

Colleague A:Where are you going ? 

Colleague B: I’m going to see that new person with a really annoying voice.

Colleague C: That voice is annoying mwe bantu!

Now that example is not as bad as some of the things I have heard. I am guiltyof doing it a couple of times till I was the new one. Life has a way of teaching us lessons *sigh*

For some reason, a simple thing like knowing a person’s name makes someone feel at ease. It feels good to know that someone is paying attention so that you don’t end up being a identified by a not so good description. 

My name isn’t the easiest for most people even though it’s just 3 syllables and a really cool mix of vowels and consonants 🙄 Some people find it difficult to learn. I have learned to be patient with them and it’s interesting to hear what new mixes of my name they can conjour up. 

My point is, being new is hard on everyone. Do what you can to make the newbie feel at ease. Simple thing as learning the new person’s name will go a long way.

Besides, even if the newbie doesn’t remember your name, your description tag will be in the affirmative 😎

14 Days off

Found this draft stashed away and decided to finish it in the spirit of a true procrastinator.
Finally got time off work, 14 days to be precise. Travelled to Lusaka to be with the family till the first week of the new year.

The first day of the break was a breeze because I got to hang out with my sisters, niece and nephew. Day two was one of the longest day I had experienced because there was just nothing to do. It made sense in my head that the 14 days would be spent frolicking about and getting home later in the evening just to have supper and sleep. This day proved me wrong on so many levels.

First of all, reality hit me hard in the shin as I examined the thoughts I had about the holiday.  How was it possible that one could go out for 14 days straight? A trip to Livingstone was in the works hence other activities were given a time out. 

Secondly, I also remembered the status of my wallet. That is what finally convinced me to stay home. It was cheaper staying home, way cheaper. As usual, power was out for 8 hours so I had to entertain myself. A good book, naps and a little note making. My day was set. Again, this was a deliberate move to accommodate the looming trip. The penny pinching was not an easy thing to do.

As I pondered over the state of my wallet, my workmate calls me and says he had been called to attend a workshop in Lusaka for 10 days. I was among the people invited to attend but I was off for 14 days. My knees felt weak and heart sank at this news. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have picked a better person to replace me than him and had to force myself to remember that time off was equally important.

Brain lingered and digested the news for two days before it settled on getting over the lost opportunity. So what if I missed out on a huge sum of money? It was difficult. Met my workmate and he was so happy to see me. Of course he was happy, I was the reason he was rich at that particular time! With a little resentment, I forced a smile and met the other team members from my place of work. Something about fake it till you become it came into play and I was genuinely happy to see them and hear what exciting things they were doing at the meeting. 

Said goodbye to the others and my guy walked me out to the bus stop. He told me to hold out my hand and he placed a wad of cash. My eyes popped as I realised what was happening. He looked at me and smiled. 

I felt bad because I may have said that the money was mine when he broke the news about the meeting. Of course we laughed about it but couldn’t help but think that the gesture was a result of the conversation we had. He refused to take it back and said friends share with a huge smile on his face. Yes I took it and decided to get something to remind me of the wonderful gesture. One of the best highlight of my 14 days off.