The Seasons of Life

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Unknown

When it is summer, the trees, plants, and flowers flourish. It reminds me of happiness and the truly great parts of life. When autumn comes, nature does not fight the change in season. Rather, nature allows itself to be changed by it. And in turn, a new beauty arises out of this change. Have you ever stared at the colourful trees and how beautiful it looks when the wind carries all the different coloured leaves through the air?

With winter, change comes again. And again, nature allows this change to take place. The rain cleanses the earth, and snow might fall. Even though everything may seem dead, it still looks so peaceful and pure.

As spring dawns, new life starts to sprout, flowers bloom, and everything seems so lively. Yet again, nature allowed this change – never fighting it. Every season is a transition into a completely different phase, and nature completely accepts these changes as every year passes.

accepting changes, change

Life is a lot like the seasons. We are constantly confronted with change. As humans, we want to reject it. We fight to hold on to what we know and what is comfortable. The secret is that we must allow change to change us. Without change, we may never experience progress.

Gail Sheehy said that if we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. You may interpret this differently, but what I understand from this is that we can only truly live if we allow ourselves to change.

Physiologically, we are changing throughout our lives. From infancy, we grow until we reach adulthood, and our bodies continue to change until we die. We do not have control over this – nature allows this change to happen.

So why then do we fight change in our basic lives? I think it is part of being human to hold on to what we know, because we are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid that what is to come will be worse than what we have now. And yes, that may be true in some cases, but if we allow these experiences to change us, we will come out stronger, wiser, braver, and more compassionate.

You may want to make a career change, perhaps, but you fear the unknown. You may be thinking, “How do I know that I will enjoy my new career?” It seems like a big risk to let go of life as you know it, and pursue a different direction. (You could, of course, pursue a distance learning course in your field of interest. That way, you can discover whether you do indeed enjoy this line of work – without having to leave your current job!)

doves-dusk-fly-light-lights-sky-Favim.com-41181 edit

Remember, if the trees do not allow the autumn and winter winds to blow their leaves from the branches, then there will be no space for new leaves to grow in spring. If nature did not allow these transitions to take place, the next phase would have been impossible.

Summer cannot jump to winter, or autumn to spring. The same can be said about your life. We all have a different story, and the journey we take will differ, but we will all be confronted with change, and we must allow ourselves to be shaped and moulded!

It does not matter if you are in the winter of your life, or in the summer (metaphorically speaking, of course). You must see the worth of each season of your life. It has a purpose! You may not understand why the autumn phase of your life happened, but if you look back, you will see that it prepared you for winter. And in turn, winter prepared you for the most beautiful spring!

 

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How do we spend our time?

“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”  Mandy Hale

Time

I received an e-mail today with a story by an unknown author. I want to share it with you, and hopefully nothing will be lost in translation.

Every night, the father of a six-year-old arrives home late in the evening, tired and irritated. One evening, just as the father walks through the front door, the little boy asks, “Daddy, can I ask you a question?” The father answers, “Yes, what do you want to know?” Excitedly, the boy asks, “Daddy, how much money do you earn every hour of the day?” This was a strange question, and the father answered irritated, “Why do you want to know? It is for grownups to know and it has nothing to do with little children! Are the kids at school bragging about whose fathers earn the most, huh?!”

The young boy shakes his head and continues to plead with his father to tell him how much he earns an hour: “Please daddy, I really need to know, it is important!” The father, who just wants to end the conversation and go unwind after a hard day’s work, finally tells his son, “Fine! If you really must know, I earn R600 an hour.” The boy stood there silently for a few seconds and then politely asked his dad if he can borrow R300.

His father, now furious, yells at his son and tells him to go to his room. “You are too young to be this greedy! I work all day and every weekend for my money. And I am not just going to give it away to a brat. Stay in your room until you have learned your lesson!” The little boy immediately stood up and went to his room.

While his father is sitting on the sofa watching television, he begins to wonder why his son asked for R300. Maybe it was for something at school that is important. After a while, he went up to the boy’s room, knocked on the door and asked, “Are you asleep?” The boy answered, “No, daddy, I am still awake.”

His father sat down on his son’s bed and explained to him that he had a long day at work and that he is sorry for yelling at him before asking what he needed the money for. He said, “Here is the R300 that you wanted to borrow. What do you need it for?” The boy was ecstatic and jumped up, grabbed the R300 and said, “Thank you, daddy, thank you! It is for something really, REALLY important!”

He ran to his desk, opened his drawer and to his father’s utter surprise, he removed more money from the drawer and started to count it. His father can feel the anger rise, but decides to bite his tongue while his son counts the money.

He feels angry, because why did his son ask for money if he already has? After his son counted the money, the dad impatiently asks, “Why did you ask for money? You already have!” The father feels ashamed that his son turned out to be this greedy. But the young boy looks his father straight in the eyes and answers with a huge smile, “I did not have enough yet, but now I do. I have R600. Daddy, can I please buy an hour of your time?”

Clock

This story made me think about how I spend my time. This six-year-old boy felt that he had to buy an hour of his dad’s time. It is heartbreaking to think that so many of us spend our time on things that do not really matter. Instead, we could be spending our time studying towards our dream careers; spending time with our friends or loved ones; or spending our time doing something worthy.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We should live each day as if it is our last, and plan as if we are going to live forever. I know this is a cliché, but there is so much truth to it! Therefore, spend your time wisely. Be with the people you want to be with, and do the things you have always dreamt of doing. One day, you will look back on your life – not with regret, but with content. You will have done the things that dwell in your heart. You have will have lived.

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”  Mandy Hale

Just can’t decide…

When we were asked to start writing blog posts for our website, I was ecstatic, because creative writing is one of my strengths. My head was overflowing with ideas, and I knew this was going to be so much fun! At least, that is what I thought…

 

When it came down to putting fingers to keyboard, my mind and creativity ran for the hills. All I had was a list of topics, and that was it. I stared blankly at the computer screen for hours, when suddenly it dawned on me – why not write about the journey of my CV?

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans

What an amazing journey and what an amazing topic. It sounded like the perfect topic, because my CV has really travelled around and seen the insides of many Human Resources offices. Right, it was decided! My topic would be – The Journey of a Travelling CV.

 

Fingers to keyboard, I started typing frantically, but …  nothing. Yes, I said it – NOTHING! Unless you count the sad, sad paragraph about how I sent out over 100 CVs and went for numerous interviews, but still hadn’t found a job to call my own.

 

Back to the drawing board (or should I say writing board?). I thought about writing a meaningful post – something about how you should never give up, and go for what you want in life. Unfortunately, same story – frantic typing away, and … nothing!

 

I wanted to throw in the towel and just look for something on the internet that I could adjust. Alas, that is frowned upon in the writing world.


Hey, that could be a good topic – Things Frowned upon in Society. It was interesting. It could stir up debate and be the most controversial blog post ever to be seen on a college blog page. But perhaps I shouldn’t go there…

 

Draft after draft, I still couldn’t think of something mind-blowing to write about. Suddenly I realised that this entire time, I had the best topic for a blog post – “Making up your mind”, “Making a decision” or plain old “Just Can’t Decide”.

 

It is difficult to make up your mind and to make the right decisions; whether it is about the topic of your blog post, which job to pick, what you should study, or whether or not to eat that burger.

 

Life is a very funny thing. There seems to be no right or wrong answer – just lots of lessons.

There are no regrets in life, just lessons

Something NEW

Hi there Dear Readers,

How are you all doing?

If you are anything like me, then clichés irritate you. Like seriously irritate you. I get nauseous from the saccharine-sweet excessive sentimentality of feel-good clichés. I am smiling to myself right now because I just realised that my mother speaks mainly in clichés, it’s her preferred argot. For example, when I would ask if I could get a toy, she would reply with one of the following:

  • All good things come to those that wait
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • Cleanliness is next to Godliness
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • A fool and his money are soon parted
  • A good name is better than riches
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • A watched pot never boils

 

Counting Chickens

As you can see, not all of these proverbs (also known as clichés) were entirely relevant to the context. But the point is, I was practically raised on clichés. It is no wonder that by the age of 10 I had quite a collection of proverb-cliches that I could recite to impress my school teachers. But more about that another time …

 

 

But back to cliches … I am willing to concede that some clichés actually have some truth to them. And, it’s possible that a cliché is only a cliché because it is over-used (and not because it is factually incorrect).

Today I want to discuss the idea of new beginnings (and yes, for this topic we have an epic range of clichés).

But why am I thinking about new beginnings? Well, today is Friday, and it has been quite a long and challenging week for me. But this morning, something happened, something quite spectacular – my colleague Genevieve came into the office with her 2 week old baby, Garlin.

Here is a picture of Genevieve, with Jan Badenhorst (College SA Principal), and Genevieve’s baby, Garlin:

Gen, Jan and Garlin

 

 

A baby is undoubtedly something ‘new’. This particular baby, Garlin, is only two weeks old. So in terms of ‘life’, Garlin is very new.

How do we tend to feel about new things?

  • Terrified,
  • Anxious,
  • Excited,
  • Nervous,
  • Filled with self-doubt

Have you experienced something new lately, or, are you planning on starting something new? How are you feeling about it?

Don't give up

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that many new College SA students are often anxious about their studies. Some of their concerns are:

  • Will I be able to do this?
  • Will I cope without a teacher?
  • Will I finish my studies in time?
  • How will I get my study material?
  • What will happen if I don’t understand the study material?
  • What will happen if something happens in my life and I need to stop studying?

[By the way, if you are looking for answers to those questions, please CLICK HERE].

It’s quite understandable that starting something new can be a bit or a lot scary. I know. I’ve experienced several new beginnings in the past couple of years. In fact, just yesterday, I was whining to myself that I am sick and tired of unexpected changes in my life (which, by default, will require new beginnings).

I’ve been working at College SA for quite some time now, and one of the (many) things that I can safely state is that all of us at College SA know that studying can be intimidating and a bit scary. We know that our students need lots of reassurance and guidance. And, that’s what College SA is about – supporting our students. I haven’t met a single College SA employee that does not want to truly help our students.

You see, at College SA we don’t sell you a fancy car and then just abandon you without explaining how to actually get into the car and operate the car. Actually, and if I can continue with this analogy, we will sit in the car right next to you and be with you wherever you drive (but in a non-creepy way of course!).

I just want to say to you, Dear Readers, that even though you may be filled with self-doubt and fear regarding your new venture, just know the following:

Regret

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND

The disguise of new beginnings

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND

 

The story of your life

 

Dear Readers, this is me urging you to:

  • Just keep walking (with or without the Johnny Walker!);
  • Take the first step, then another, and then another;
  • Know that it is okay to be afraid;
  • Know that there is at least one person who wants to, and who is able to help you,
  • Hold your chin up high and know that you have every right to believe that you can be successful;
  • Be proud of yourself; 
  • Realise that life is about new beginnings / challenges / opportunities / ventures; and
  • Do everything in your power to achieve your goals.

 

Take care of yourself Dear Readers,

Until next time,

S

 

PS: Here’s a final thought about cliches for you:

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it?  …  This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?” 
― Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body