There’s a lot of awesomeness in my life right now. Quite a couple of things that have been developing for a while are now almost here. Not counting my chickens before they’re hatched; not quite; but it’s a good feeling and an exciting time.
On the flip side, while this is the case I can’t help but feel a bit tentative; a bit unsettled, and super emotional. It may also be all the disruption recently; the travel across huge distances, the all-too-brief reconnections, and everyone back in Cape Town just treating me like I’d never left. I feel different but I look the same. A lot of people would ask if I was glad to be back, and for the first few days my answers were disingenuous. By NOW, I’m re-settled and happy but it took me a bit.
There were a couple of times on Wednesday when I just felt really small and petty. The first was in hearing the story of two young entrepreneurs who had already sacrificed so much, and their vision to provide a small but tangible beacon for disadvantaged young people and an example of an integrated, reconciled South Africa. I’m torn between empathy, a little jealousy, and guiltily wondering if they are naïve or if I’m jaded.
The second was at dinner with Susan when she was describing the incredibly tough choices that doctors at Tygerberg need to make on a daily basis … like literally denying care to patients because there is not enough available equipment and manpower to go around. So you think in theory, if a patient comes into the ER with mortal wounds, it makes sense not to put him on a ventilator if you know there are trauma patients coming in the next ten minutes who are likely to survive and are going to need those ventilators. Easy thing to say over a lamb shank & glass of wine in Vredehoek, but on a human level to deny care and look the screaming, crying, distraught families in the face and tell them why you cannot treat their loved one …. Well I guess I just have a whole new level of respect for the work she’s been doing, and that the doctors in this country continue to do.
But one person can’t solve all the world’s problems, nor is it our responsibility to do so, although that’s where the tragedy of the commons fits in. If it’s no one’s specific duty to address a specific problem, then it has a way of not getting done. So I’ve been very happy with my focus and progress last week. My decks were cleared by my vacation so I can now focus on what’s important. It’s almost a sprint in a way, to see how much I can get done how quickly (if you got the Agile pun, good for you).
It used to be that I preferred to work alone … give me my data, leave me alone to write the document, define the specs, and then I’d get annoyed with the engineers’ questions that were answered in the requirements or the functional spec. Apparently I’ve changed. I now HATE working alone. I would much prefer to sit with a group of smart people and solve a problem together. Guess what, apparently Babson was right and I’m a natural leader after all. Hopefully not the sort to lead lemmings off a cliff!
I’m quite excited for the next couple of weeks’ work with Greenpop to develop their business case into a business plan, and in a way even more so to work with Jeremy to put it together into a packaged form that’s not a traditional long Word document. Makes sense; they are not a conventional brand, so once we figure out the audience a non-conventional delivery mechanism may work well, and Jeremy’s brain works differently enough from mine that it’s going to be interesting for us to work together closely like this. Who knows, I might even learn a thing or two!
Last week was exhausting, actually. I can maybe blame the qigong, because while it didn’t seem very taxing physically it’s hard to concentrate on proper form and movement for three hours at a go, four days in a row. It took me a while to connect the two but I was also ravenous after class. Cause … effect? The health qigong we are learning is meant to stimulate the internal organs, so it might kind of make sense that it might not feel exhausting but would tire me out nonetheless.
Friday was fun: Lunch in a church (!), rooibos with Henk at his place in Woodstock, my first workout at Cape CrossFit since my return, and then dinner at Tao Yuan. I think they must put something in the food there because I had all of one glass of wine but I swear I was intoxicated when I left. Hmm, maybe it wasn’t the food. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the food. Unless maybe it was the fish eye I ate … wonder if those can have hallucinogenic properties?
But back to the kung fu cult; this cult leader not only drinks but actually requires it. Apparently you don’t say no to Shirfu. Yeah well, he may be able to kill me with merely a thought [no he’s not Darth Vader!!] but I can be very stubborn.
Saturday I woke up and went to CCF where I just played around, really. I’m still trying to be careful of my back. Did overhead squats which felt more awkward than they should (it has been a few months). I matched my PR but then had issues getting a heavier weight overhead so I switched to doing some cleans, and videotaping them so I could check what I was doing wrong. I found a couple of things, some of which were expected, some of which were not. Frame-by-frame replay is kind of awesome!! Then Jobst came by and made me get my new PR on overhead squat. Annoyingly, I didn’t video that. Well, it was a small jump. I’ll just have to smash it and next time capture it on video!
Met Susan at the market afterwards, where we ate almost everything in sight. I then headed over to the martial arts studio, which really needs a shorter name. Even the acronym IKLWC is too many syllables. They were having kind of an open house so I kinda played around a bit. I guess yong chun reduces to one basic punch and three basic blocks (this makes a good party trick, actually, which is why I should stick to my internal martial arts for now). Had to excuse myself in a bit of a hurry to get to Camps Bay where Chris was having a braai/viewing of Jean lifting in the Olympics. It wasn’t broadcast on TV so we had to watch on the laptop which was kind of lame but whatever …. It’s still the Olympics!!
An amazing t-bone and ‘rabbit food’ later, I went over to Henk’s going away braai, which had the LEAST paleo-friendly spread imaginable. Thank goodness for Chris’ braai or I would have eaten God knows what …. Fun party though. It was kind of crazy, I saw some people that I hadn’t seen in ages, and some people I had met in the last week. But more to the point, I got to spend a few more precious hours with someone I have always liked and respected. Henk’s kind of a genius nerd, and a charismatic one at that. He’s a real game-changer actually, and he’s only getting started. I remember when I first met him I was so impressed to know the guy who had founded Skyrove. But …. Yeah. Fun party, and some damn good pinot noir compliments of Sir Chris Rawlinson.
Sunday …. Slept in, woke up and joined my friend Jo on a mission to Canal Walk (that place IS a mission). But I needed to buy some weights, so it was great to get that done. Then we went to Green Point Park to take a stroll and some pictures. I had no idea such a stunning park existed in Cape Town! You learn something new every day I guess. Or, you do if you keep your eyes open at least some of the time. Then dinner with Susan in Sea Point. I cannot believe this woman is also leaving in a few days …. My world is kind of getting rocked from all fronts.
Back to the emotions thing: I was unexpectedly emotional about watching Jean lift. I am not sure why it affected me quite as strongly as it did; I just really REALLY like the guy. We had a kind of crazy intense Facebook chat that night too. I’m looking forward to spending more time with him these next few months.
Then a few short hours later I was stupidly emotional to say goodbye to Henk. Like, I actually wanted to cry, which is not an urge I often get. I had no idea it would make me that sad to say goodbye to him as he leaves on his Australian adventure. Just one of those people I wish I’d taken time to get to know better before he left my physical presence (if not my life).
I’ve also had some hectic stuff happen to some people I care about. A mugging. An attempted mugging. A car crash. Everyone is ok but …. It seems to be an unsettled time. Guess the lesson here is don’t relax. Don’t take shit for granted. Don’t take people for granted.
But there are a lot of reasons for these strong emotions. Mutual lovefests are flattering and humbling at the same time. Across all areas of my life, I just want to be better.
As Kim’s rhetorical question goes: “Are your excuses more important than your dreams?”
  • “That’s my kung fu stance.” – Kim  
  • “You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.” – Michael
  • “Oh, you are. That’s cute.” – Jeremy
  • “It’s time to up the ante.” – Jeremy
  • “Push your own boundaries, Ellie.” – Jeremy
  • “And this is why we seem to like you.” – Doug
  • “You never have to explain tequila to me.” – Susan
  • “You can be very persuasive.”  – Ellie
  • “Poaching happens.” – Ellie
  • “You’re gonna rock it!” – Henk
  • “I appreciate that it’s your baby.” – Ellie
  • “Just the truth.” – Jean
  • “It feels like winter.” “It is winter!” – Ellie & Jo
  • “That would be the VERY definition of awkward!”  –  Ellie


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