Sunday 21 February 2021

Moving to the Western Cape Blood Service

On moving to George, I learned that SA National Blood Service (SANBS) doesn't cover the whole of South Africa! The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) takes care of my new home province. 

Today, I made my first donation at the WCBS donor centre in George - and an excellent experience it was! For five years, I've been used to the mobile clinic that visited a church hall in Parys. Here, the centre has plush chairs and an established vibe. The staff were superb and just as friendly as those from my Parys clinic. My donor records will be transferred as I work my way towards milestones. Today's experience was clearly exciting - I set a new bag-filling record of 4:37. With much sought after O neg blood, I'm an overachiever blood donor.

Just remember, once-off and annual 'feel-good' donations are.not.used! You get a 'regular blood donor' status by donating 3 to 6 times a year. Only then will your trusted donation be used. The blood services never spell this out clearly with their 'One donation saves three lives' message but you'll find the procedure on the FAQ page on the SANBS website. If you can, donate - regularly!

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Putting emphasis in the right place

 Marketing guru Seth Godin writes a post-a-day and he has done so for many, many years - well over a decade.

There are times when Seth's posts just hit the mark. Today's was a good one. The title is "What does it mean to do well in school?". You just learn, remember for as long as the test, get a good mark and you're considered smart. 

Seth quite rightly asks, "Where do we look up insight on your resilience, enthusiasm, cooperation, curiosity, collaboration, honesty, generosity and leadership?".

This made me think about a post I wrote in 2013 called 'Valuing female brains'. I wrote it after reading a blog post 'How to talk to little girls' and this was shortly after a girlfriend had her first baby -  a little girl.

As Seth described, emphasis is placed in school on marks and not on the very important elements that make us good contributors to society, good friends and good colleagues. There is definitely value to getting good marks and the satisfaction of achieving them through keen attention, participation and hard work; but I'd certainly prefer a colleague with the qualities that Seth has listed than one who was a straight-A student.

As for talking to little girls - that post struck a chord and has stayed with me since. I still make a point of asking girls about their interests and activities rather than remarking on what they are wearing.

I see that the link for the original blog post is no longer active. But look what I found online -  a short youTube video (1 minute - watch it).

And here is something in the same theme, written around the same time (2011) on the Huffington Post by author Lisa Bloom. And an informative post - same theme - on written in 2019. I've enjoyed the refresh and ideas presented in this latter article.

This is actually quite relevant to teens and women too, not just little girls. We're in a period where social media posts of value get less likes than ones showing cleavage and skin. I'm in luck as my most Liked posts feature Rusty. Hahaha.  Still, I can totally see the impact of social media and how you present yourself on the confidence, self-esteem, perceived value and appearance rating of teenage girls especially. Not nice. Again, value on how you look and pout and flash rather than who you are.

We're not going to change this any time soon, but our one-on-one interactions - and how you talk to girls - make a big difference too.

Sunday 7 February 2021

The blocks of our lives

 I was thinking the other day how our lives can be measured in blocks. Blocks can be marked by changes in relationships, jobs, sports or locations.

My chunks look something like this:

The years I don't remember. Too young.

Primary school

High school #1 (Potch for two years)

High school #2 (back in JHB for three years)

University (1994 until April 2000)

I was studying, working part-time (first waitressing and then internet tech support and then part-time lecturer and tutor posts in my department). For me, sport was all about running, road races and underwater hockey. Adventure racing came into my life in April 1999. This changed my life.

The Lost Year: 2000

This year was a mess. I deregistered from university, packed my car and drove. Adventure racing was the only thing in my mind. I returned to JHB maybe that November (it is all a blur) and was very depressed, directionless, purposeless and in a bad way for a few months.

The Mixed Years: 2001 to 2010-ish

These were filled with adventure racing / starting and running / TV crew work / media / travel to events abroad / some full-time work like at Supersport / some part-time work / some freelancing. Lots of orienteering. I worked at a lot of events and participated in fewer in the later 2000s.  I tried a lot of things to find something that worked for me in lifestyle and financially. I never got it right.

Event Organising Years: 2010 to late 2015

These were all about FEAT and Forest Run and orienteering coaching and Metrogaines, while also still writing and freelancing. Minor event participation.

The Parys Years (2016 to October 2020)

Moving to Parys, Celliers in my life, starting YOLO and Vagabond, getting Rusty, girls bookclub, paddling regularly (gaining skills and loving trips), running with dogs, separating from Celliers, covid and then the craziness that was 2020 and the mad rush of our move to George - these mark the Parys years.

The George Years: November 2020 to present

A new block has begun with my move to George. Vagabond, YOLO, exploring trails, paddling, dog school... these are my present. 

It is amazing how much of the past three months is a blur. Things are not set to slow down but losing track of the days and time passing so quickly leaves me feeling that life is slipping away too fast.

What do I wish from this block? 

Less stress, better fitness, success in business, stability, peace and, of course, adventures.