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

 

 

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If it means anything then DO NOT give up

Hi there Dear Readers,

How are you doing today?

Carry on reading, and, once you are done reading I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are.

Another chance

 

 

Right, let’s start by acknowledging a few (difficult) things:

  • We all make mistakes;
  • We all get stuff wrong;
  • We all start things that we never finish;
  • We all ‘fail’ at certain things; and
  • We all need extra chances to get things right.

 

Readers, we can be talking about diets, relationships, work projects and courses that we are studying …. we all make mistakes.

Sometimes we fail miserably.

How many resolutions and objectives have we not met?

The purpose of this article is NOT to make you feel bad or sad. No.

We need to accept that it is ok to make mistakes and to get things wrong.

 

We all make mistakes

 

 

Every day I get things wrong. Seriously. I don’t even want to mention how many ‘stuff ups’ I make on a daily basis, but the list could include things like:

  • Over-sleeping;
  • Not getting to work on time;
  • Being an inconsiderate driver in the morning because I am in such a rush to get to work;
  • Not eating breakfast;
  • Not eating lunch;
  • Snacking on unhealthy food;
  • Not finishing my work tasks;
  • Not managing to sort out my desk;
  • Not greeting everybody that I see;
  • Being irritable;
  • Making mistakes on things I am working on …

 

Can you see, our ‘mistakes’ are many and can take many forms. You might think that being irritable is just a small mistake. Maybe. But sometimes me being irritable leads to me rushing through a project and thus not giving that project my full attention. Perhaps also my irritability results in me not being particularly nice to the people I care about. Little mistakes can lead to bigger mistakes.

It’s probably not even worth distinguishing between small and big mistakes.

We are all less than perfect. Sure, we can all strive towards perfection. But let’s get REAL here – we are not perfect. Not even the Dalai Lama is perfect.

I am not perfect

I’m not saying don’t try to be brilliant. Brilliant is good . But make sure you understand what ‘brilliant’ means for you.

Okay, so we know about our mistakes. It’s okay. The fact that you made a mistake is actually proof that you TRIED.

 

 “There is no perfection only life”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

 

My question to you – what are you going to do about those mistakes? If you have recently failed at something (no matter what it is), what are you going to do about it?

Firstly, well done for acknowledging where you went wrong. At least we are not in denial.

And now? What’s next?

 

Try again

 

So we have done acknowledgement. Now, stop beating yourself up.

Are you the kind of person that punishes yourself by constantly reminding yourself of your failures?

Don’t. Stop doing that.

After acknowledgement comes action.

Is there anybody that you need to apologise to in terms of the mistake that you made? Did your mistake hurt anybody? Often we hurt those we love the most with our mistakes.

Find a way to say sorry that is sincere and that is meaningful to the person you are apologising to.

Right, now, are you going to try again?

Are you going to get up off the proverbial floor and work towards getting things right? Are you going to set new and fresh goals? Are you going to put your true effort into trying to accomplish whatever it is you want to do / achieve?

 

Try one more time

 

 

How important is it that you achieve whatever it is you want to achieve?  

Again, we can be talking about goals / projects / resolutions / resolutions … anything.

What does this goal actually mean to you?

Do you know why you have this goal? Is it a goal that you can realistically achieve? For example, I know that I will never, EVER, became a world-class marathon runner. That is just not going to happen. Not even close.

What can you do differently this time to help you to achieve this goal?

How badly do you want to achieve this goal? What are you willing to do to achieve this goal?

 

“While I can’t have you, I long for you.I am the kind of person who would miss a train or a plane to meet you for coffee. I’d take a taxi across town to see you for ten minutes. I’d wait outside all night if I thought you would open the door in the morning. If you call me and say ‘Will you…’ my answer is ‘Yes’, before your sentence is out. ” Jeanette Winterson

 

Go on … what are you waiting for? Get up off the floor. Look deep within yourself and find the courage to step forward again.

Don’t give up. Ever. Keep trying. Keep hoping. Keep believing. 

Hope

“I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point –  the only point –  is to find the things that matter and hold onto them and fight for them and refuse to let them go.”
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium

Okay Readers, that’s enough soul-searching ‘serious stuff’ for now. Take care of yourselves.

S.

 

Taking a look at 2014

Hi there Dear Readers,

I hope that you are doing well.

Today I am pleased to announce that today’s article has been written by one of our fabulous guest writers. He has written a beautiful article. May his gentle words touch you and encourage you.

This past weekend I found myself thinking about the upcoming New Year and what it means to me in my life.

For most people, a new year comes with new commitments and new responsibilities. New Year’s resolutions and promises to themselves.

For others it signals the need for some time spent alone, to reflect and take stock of the past year and the position they find themselves in.

For me personally the new year period is a time of both celebration and mourning. A time where I can collect my various pieces and begin the year on my terms. The exciting prospect of new possibilities and the gentle calmness which comes from knowing I am exactly where I need to be – despite the difficulties I have faced.

New Year

Why am I writing all this down? I simply wanted to remind our readers that despite all the chaos and obligation which comes with the change of year, there is a still one constant:

You made it to another year!

Change is inevitable. It is literally the one scientific constant in this world. With that in mind I will make a collection of promises to myself for this coming year:

  • I will try my best to focus on all the positive aspects of my life and practice gratitude for all I have in this world.
  • I will spend some time acknowledging the disappointments and losses of the past year only long enough to prevent them for interfering with my ability to be grateful.
  • I will write down the things I want for myself in 2014 and will work towards them in whichever way is possible for me – as long as it is in an encouraging way.

I hope while reading this you are able to get a sense of my gentle tone here. The world spends enough time telling us we are not good enough; let’s not add to the noise.

Instead, let’s try and focus on the things we have control over – ourselves.

This new year spend a little time redesigning your life and finding ways to get what you want from 2014.

From myself and everyone here at College SA, we wish you a beautiful New Year!

Take care.

I would like to thank our guest writer for his beautiful words. His contributions to this Blog are always highly appreciated.

To end off, I just want to leave you with one thought:

“The truth is that I’ve spent all my life with my binoculars trained on the Maybe Islands, a pristine place of fantasy that is really no better than the razor-rocks of misery. Maybe if I had stayed on the farm… maybe if I could have lived more peaceably… maybe if I’d met the right person years ago, maybe if I hadn’t done this, or that or, its cousin, the other. Maybe, baby, the promised land was there and I missed it. Look at it glittering in the light. But the truth is I am inventing the maybe. I can only make the choices I make, so why torture myself with what I might have done, when all I can handle is what I have done. The Maybe Islands are hostile to human life.”
― Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods

 

The New Year is Upon Us

Hi there Dear Readers,

Today’s beautiful blog post has been written by a very dear colleague. This woman emanates strength, beauty, radiance and compassion. I am really grateful that she agreed to write a post for our blog. It is an absolute honour to know and to spend time with this truly awesome woman.

Here is her article …

There are so many articles out there that tell you how to change your life and ready yourself for the New Year. Then there are the almost endless inspirational quotes. I find that when I read them, I feel inspired for about an hour or so, and then I fall back into my old routine (you’ll see that I have included two quotes in this article. These are the ones that actually stuck with me). The thing is, I don’t really commit myself to changing or making my life more fulfilled. Nothing reminds me daily of the success I could reach if I just tried a bit harder. I feel the need to do so, but I don’t have the drive to follow through. I think some people just find this easier than most.

I have had some pretty hard times in my life, and this has certainly taken its toll on my confidence. People don’t need to know me well to notice this. Over the years I have slowly but surely worked on getting this confidence that people around me just seem to have. In the process I have noticed that so many people have the same problem, even if it is just momentary.

The thing that does help is to just force yourself to take control. It might not feel very good at first, but in time you get used to it and it becomes easier. It’s almost like programming yourself to think differently. By taking small steps every day, you can become that person you dream of being.

I know it sounds like one of those quotes I was talking about that belongs on a poster, but it’s not. For me it’s a daily struggle, and like anything that you work hard at, it’s worth it. No matter what your goal is, it will feel great to accomplish it. Nothing can replace that feeling for me. It’s a strong emotional response that’s almost equal to love. In this case you love yourself and you make yourself into someone you love even more.

Love the person

I recently started studying. At first this felt strange, since I had not studied in 8 years, but after a while (and some forced motivation) it got easier. I also had great help from my tutors, who keep me going no matter how I feel.

When I wanted to study it felt natural to study through College SA, since I work there, and it has been a pleasure, with their help of course.  I also feel really good whenever I finish an assignment. That great feeling fills me and inspires me to go on and do more.

I want you to take that step. Start with something small. Even if it is to drink more water every day, or something simple like that. Or do something big.  If you have a job and you feel you could be better at it if you tried harder, do it! You can’t lose anything by at least trying.

Do it today.

My message to the woman who wrote this article:

Thank you for your beautiful words. Thank you for gentleness and kindness. Thank you for how you treat those around you. Thank you for your wonderful laughter. Thank you for being YOU.