Navigating the Crossroads

It's not always a straight road

It’s not always a straight road

Just like it’s easier reading books, blogs and appreciating art that some one else has created; it’s easier leaving life up to fate, destiny, a higher power or even friends and family to direct and just living a life others think is best for us.

The difficult bit is writing the story, crafting the blog post and making life yours to live. The life people say we only live once – it doesn’t take long for us to figure out that saying is true.

I’m not saying that we should curtail YouTube, delete all the blogs we are following, never read another book or ignore our friends and families and stubbornly stick to what we think is right; because if you’re reading and comprehending this (i.e. not a bot), then you most likely are human and sticking to what you think is right all the time doesn’t make it right.

It’s not even about creating the big things; though I’m not dissuading you from designing and building a new skyscraper if you are so inclined. It’s simply navigating the crossroads, which as vague as it sounds, happens more often than you think. Too often I see people asking others for advice and in the end making a decision that is the “popular” one. Others just leave the decision and their goals to the future and live in the comfort of the moment. Have you heard the saying “Not making a decision is a decision in itself”?

Decision making skills are naively construed as a straightforward skill we gain throughout our life. I think it is much more than that. As a child, decisions are made for us, everyday, and we try to break those decisions and rules every chance we get by throwing a tantrum or asking “but why?”. Our parents take us places, teach us things, tell us what we can and cannot have, who they think is a bad influence, what they think we should study or potential careers they think would be interesting, citing experience and wisdom to support their advice or directives.

When we move into our teens, as much as we try to assert our independence and rebel, most of the time we just want to live in the moment and enjoy hanging out with friends, living in the comfort of the routine modern society provides. We search for what’s important – the latest trends, being popular, having friends, school results and throughout this time, our interactions and responses start forming a basis for our values.

In our 20s is when things get exciting. Hindsight and aging forces us to face the international truth that somehow wisdom does convert to slightly better decisions and even if our elders are not always right, it is helpful to get their point of view. The smaller decisions we make in our 20s about which friends we want to keep, how many parties we want to attend, whether we will take the first graduate job we get helps us become more self aware. We start to examine the labels we use on ourselves and reinvent or reinforce what we know of ourselves. What does all this have to do with making decisions? More than you think.

To navigate the crossroads we need to be confident in ourselves. Confident, not arrogant; realistic not idealistic and self aware not selfless. We can’t make decisions based on what is best for others, we can’t choose based on what most people think we would or should do, we can’t wait for fate and destiny to do what they will because then at the end of the day, we lose ourselves and the idea of our own ‘free will’. If we stayed as we were as teenagers, choosing something because it’s the opposite of what our parents say or because it’s what your friends would do then we would never know what life would be like if we took charge of it.

The higher powers not within our control will do what they will, people will think what they want of you (some may be truer than others), some will project their lost dreams and hopes onto your situation – kind advice may not be so kind because it prevents you from looking within and around yourself and picking the road you want to tread.

So examine the facts, speak to people you trust to gain insights and recommendations, to bounce ideas off, to ensure you’ve considered the situation well and not to judge; understand who you are and what you want, listen to your intuition or your gut. You are where all these things intersect. You are at the crossroads. Get the best perspective you can, make the best decision you can make and then make the most of that decision and live life brilliantly.

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January 2015

Happy New Year

I hope you had a great start to the year and are looking forward to an atrociously adventurous, particularly productive year and to 365 days of creating fantastically fond memories with those you love. May this year bring great things your way!

I’ve taken quite a long hiatus from blogging. I always knew time flies but the evidence really smacks me in the face when I can’t remember my WordPress password and when I finally log in, seeing a whole new WordPress interface and that the date under my last post says “2 years ago”. Oh dear.

After getting used to the new interface (it’s very blue), I see the list of bloggers I follow and I get pretty excited! My heart skips a beat and I can feel a slight adrenaline pumping through my veins with thoughts like “I wonder what they’ve been up to” and “There’s going to be so much new content I can read and have fun with!” It’s definitely time for me to get back into this blogging sphere.

The internet is a huge space and I guess we all find our little pockets where we are able to express ourselves and share stories with those we know only through their writing or drawings, who live miles / kilometers away from us, and whom we may never ever meet. But it’s amazing that these people and their stories are one of the main reasons I’m excited about getting back into the gossip (aka ‘gos’ in teen language). Never too old to get with it.

Reading old posts really brings you back in time. You should try it sometime, if you haven’t already. Sure, you may question “Why the heck would I write something like that?”, “I don’t get it, why would anyone read this boring drivel!” or even, “This couldn’t have been something I wrote!” but the truth is, WordPress doesn’t lie and no one would hack into your account to post random twaddle to get you all tripped up in the rare instance that you finally get off your bum and try to log into wordpress (after multiple attempts) for the first time in eons.

So long story short; or TLDR as current internet acronyms go, I’m back and I can’t wait to catch up on all the amazing stuff I’ve missed. See you around fellow bloggers!

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A Christmas Bug

There once was a Christmas bug
Who flew around all summer
Not a care in the world, gay as could be
Then came one hot sunny day it hit a wall
“Oh dear could this be, it has happened to so many before me!”
He got flipped around and odd as can be
Was left vulnerably exposing his belly so bright and green

Tried as he might but woe was he
He could not get back on his little feet
The world rooted for him “Don’t give up mister bug”
As the sun broke the clouds
And heated the hot ground
He yielded his last breath
Exhaustion finally took him

What could he be thinking
Does he know what went wrong
Where does his life force go?
Does anyone know?

Tis was the story of a Christmas bug
Big and round and green and brown
The valiant fight few people see.

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Family puts the “F” in Festivity

I miss my family.

They’re all in the US right now, having a bit of a trip over the Christmas and New Year break. I should have joined them, I realise now.

I thought I would be fine, going just as I am, spending Christmas with my partner’s family, catching up with friends I hadn’t met in a while and just taking a break from work in general.

Such conflicting feelings of not being ‘preoccupied’ (work) and wanting to enjoy quality time with family on the other side of the world at the moment.

Somehow I feel all alone in the world and seeing my partner’s family makes me miss them all the more. That holidays mean so much less.

Miss you all lots.


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Magpies – The Poultry Avengers

I might be over thinking this but, here I go anyway:

It was time for the weekly groceries refill and I was on my way home on foot, having missed the hourly bus and worried about drinking sour milk if I stayed to wait 30 minutes in the hot sun. I was prepared for this, or so I thought…

Within 15 minutes of feeling like a donkey laden with bags of groceries from the shops on each shoulder trodding away, I was counting down to the the sweet relief of sitting on my bum. It wasn’t easy, nor was it a short road home. I bumped into a friend mid-way and reluctantly paused to say hi while my eyes screamed for help. He didn’t take the hint, a wise choice.

Determined no-one could help me but myself, I focused on the road that led home. I sang to the tunes playing from my iPod, trying to lift my own spirits and took a usual turn to duck between the trees when suddenly something smacked me in the side of the head.


What the F?!

I turned in the direction it should have landed and saw a big black bird swooping back up into the trees. I should have known… a Magpie.

Oddly, all this time, my feet kept carrying me forward, away from the crazy bird, towards home and safety; while my head spun a little. The area where I got hit was still throbbing as if a turkey leg had struck me in the back of my head. If I was bleeding, my body took no note of it; my legs were too tired and my shoulders hurt from the bag handles.

I tried to maneuver my sore arm to my head. I was pretty sure the beak didn’t hit me and my hand came away clean.


Then it struck me – that’s a rude bird! To hit someone when they’re down and weak!

I’m sure it thought I was a threat walking  ‘too close’ to its nest or something but seriously, my hands weren’t even mobile enough to move; needless to say climb up a stupid tree just to attack its nest.
I actually have better things to do, really, I do.

If I were hit by a person, I could at least confront them and find out why they decided to pick on me. It wasn’t fair to just smack and fly! You can’t just hit someone for no reason and get away with it! But it seems the Magpie could. Even if my arms had more feeling in them, that big bird with its sharp beak and a thirst for attacking random passer-bys, sent my courage running and I decided, rightly, fleeing would be the best decision there.

My arms would be no protection in this situation.


Sweaty, exhausted and with a throb in the side of my head, I finally arrived at my doorstep and unpacked the chicken thighs I had purchased.

Perhaps for all the chicken we’ve eaten, the Magpie was just exacting poultry’s vengeance on the human race – or on me in this case.


That still doesn’t make the pain go away…

nor the feeling of being bested by a bird.

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I don’t usually post photos but since Spring is here, at least in the Southern Hemisphere, I think it makes sense to add a refreshing touch to my usually wordy blog.

Thankfully, I recently took a quick stroll through the gardens with my camera and have some nice pictures of Spring like images. (What are the odds?!)

I really do like taking pictures but I’ve never been good, especially not when it comes to pictures of flowers and plants, and perhaps living things in general…

But hey, it’s always worth a try to see how “far” my photography skills have come. Thanks to Renee for inspiring me to try this out!

(From top to bottom) Orchid, Yellow flowers (no idea what they’re called but they’re everywhere!), Tulip in funky light.




Next time I’ll try injecting a little more character (read, perspective) into my flora shots.

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Darn you Facebook!

I used to have a communal blog, with a group of friends close to my heart.
We shared our thoughts and organised our own little parties and stayed in touch beyond phone calls, emails and text messages.

Now they just post status updates and “events” on Facebook.


I used to share the most intimate conversations with friends from around the world, via a long “old-fashioned” email correspondence.
It made me feel so close to them. I really took the time to write them up and got so excited to read the long heartfelt responses. It felt like we still connected, despite the distance and I had someone I could pour out my sorrows and joys to.

Now when they post “I’m annoyed” on Facebook and receive 10 comments, I’m not so sure how to feel about that without much of a background story and random comments of “feel better soon”.


I used to have frequent catch-ups with friends to keep updated with all the new things in their lives. There was always so much excitement and buzz whenever they told a story for the first time.

Now we read everything first hand, from Facebook and in person, it just feels like I’ve heard it all before. 


Darn you Facebook for taking my place among my friends. They can now talk to you instead of me and I  get the trickles of information. It’s as if my social life has been taken to the virtual world and jumbled up with all the lives of everyone who has added me as a “friend” and thrown back at me as random “news feeds”.

I do enough reading at work thank you very much…


p/s: I’m not sure why but the word “communal” never feels very clean…

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The Longest 3 Months

I still can’t believe it was only 3 months. I swear it was longer than that. It’s like being in a new relationship and not realizing that you’ve passed the 6 month mark when it feels like you’ve just gotten to know each other. No wait, that’s a good thing. This, isn’t.

Well, kinda isn’t. 

I found a place where I got the opportunity to stretch my abilities and learn, so that’s good; I realized where my interests and strengths seemed to lie and a way to put them to some use, so that’s good. 

On the flipside, the team is not what I thought it was, I’m spending some weekends doing work I couldn’t get done during the week, I feel like I haven’t had a weekend in months. In 3 months to be exact. Things are chaotic, messy, exciting because it’s a time of change, but the team doesn’t have ownership of that change and most of them just feel they are there for the ride and leaves the driving seat empty. Things are  unnecessarily complicated with overdrawn discussions that lead nowhere and my initial enthusiasm is quickly draining like the rapidly depleting natural resources.

So…. as you can tell, I’ve been busy. Unfortunately not busy blogging. Not that I don’t think about you, dear readers and the flailing life of my blog itself, but these darn ideas just come at the weirdest times – when I’m in the shower; on the porcelain throne; when I’m lying in bed at 1am at night, and up till now I have not found the discipline to stop whatever I was doing to write a note.

And honestly, I’m just dead tired. Hats off to all of you who do such great posts so consistently. I aspire to do so. It might be the only way to keep my sanity, although I do hate a post about “work”.

Don’t ruin this perfect world of mine.

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Glass half full

I was reading a book the other day, “Brain Rules”, you might have heard of it. It’s a great read by John Medina and while I highly recommend it, it’s not what I want to write about today.

There was a short introduction on the concept of “learned helplessness”, where the subject is conditioned to stay in an inescapable situation and have no hope or control over the situation. The subject then resigns itself to its “fate” in a sense, and even though an escape is made available, does not go in search of it. Reading it made me quite upset and made me think of various things – depression, religion, hope, faith, fate, destiny and life in general.

I realized this could relate to many situations in our lives when we feel a lack of control, an inability to change things and a depressing realization that things will never change. I know of people close to me who stay in their jobs even though they hated it because they feel they have no other alternative; of people who consistently found it hard to do well at school and believe that they are less well-endowed intellectually while the issue may just be the methods they have been employing to study or the teaching methods used in the current system.

In those situations, I’m less confident in the effectiveness of an external encouragement compared to the power of internal motivation and awareness. In those situations, the person has to come to their own realization to snap out of that learned helplessness yet it is somewhat a chicken and egg relationship. Yet, like most addictions, I believe it can be overcome.

  1. Awareness is the first step we can take to bring ourselves out of that low
  2. Making a choice – do we want to stay in it or get out of it? Sometimes not making a decision is a decision in itself, which doesn’t make things better. If we want to stay in it, make the most of it and ensure we’re not being miserable staying in it.
  3. Knowing which are the areas we have control over – the world, no; my room, yes; other people’s opinions, no; my own thoughts and behavior, yes
  4. Taking small steps to make changes in those areas we have control over
  5. Optimism and a glass half full psyche – this is where I think faith and hope crosses paths just because while some people garner hope from things around them, others look towards religion and faith and somehow perhaps realizing that someone out there, whoever it is, is looking over us, adds a little booster to the hope meter.
  6. Recognizing the changes and its impact, however small – this is where external encouragement starts to make a difference.

So, hopefully if I ever find myself in a state of “learned helplessness”, I am able to recognize it and take action. Otherwise, maybe a little nudge from the Universe to perhaps allow me to stumble upon my own post or a similar post would point me in the right direction.

Thanks Universe, in advance.

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Slowest Blogger Award

If I were to give myself an award, it would be titled “The Slowest Blogger Award” and it would look something like this:

Slowest Blogger Award

Or maybe something less cheery colored…

Instead, one of the loveliest bloggers, Rlcarson, has shared the “Sunshine Award” and the “Lovely Blogger Award” with me. Part of me is going “awww…” while the other part is going “No way!?” I really don’t think I deserve it but I’m unabashedly putting this up on my blog. How shameless!

To check the boxes, here are my answers to the questions from the Sunshine Award and 7 things about myself for the Lovely Blogger Award. I’m not being lazy! I just believe that you can learn alot of things from how someone answers a set number of questions as you can tell:

  • Favorite number: 26, just because.
  • Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Soy Milk, why not?! It’s healthy too!
  • Facebook or Twitter: Dropbox, it’s pretty cool.
  • My passion: Reading, learning, photography, life in general. (Is that lame? haha)
  • Favorite pattern: Those squiggly ones at the corner of fancy invitations on manuscript papers.
  • Favorite day of the week: Thursday, because Friday and the weekend is round the corner and hopefully it’s been a productive week.
  • Favorite flower: Baby’s breath to touch, brightly colored Daffodils in pictures. Still unsure what flowers I would like to have and I’m still really bad at taking pictures of flowers.

I’m sure all of my favorite blogs have already been nominated for these awards but just to spread the word about these blogs more, here I go! – Tim is awesome and definitely jumped at this opportunity – Hilarious! Totally realistic toddler talk – Such a pretty girly blog, great posts, nice reads – Love it! Great writing and always good for a laugh – So creative and I love the colors and the pictures – Love the unique photographic framing and perspectives – Such a meaningful blog and such great writing – Very interesting read on life’s moments

Pictures of the awards are here with their guidelines below.

1. Acknowledge the person who nominated you
2. Describe 7 things about yourself
3. Nominate some (approx 15) bloggers you would like to share this award with and tell them about it.

1. Acknowledge the person who nominated you
2. Answer the questions above (see post)
3. Nominate some (approx 10) bloggers you would like to share this award with and tell them about it.

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