Jumping in

On Saturday morning a crew from my gym caravanned down to the Simons Town naval base where there is an open water obstacle course that is used by the navy divers for training. It involved obviously ocean swimming, a rope climb (for those who dared), climbing up the netting, swinging and walking across a rope suspended several maybe 20 feet from the water below.
The water around Cape Town, if you are not familiar, is COLD. As we got there a number of people were whining and complaining about the cold. I guess I joined in a little bit, but really – we were all there out of choice, so just shut up and do it.
Sounds easy enough but there is really no way to prepare for such a thing. You don’t know until you get in just how cold the water is going to be, whether you can climb that rope, whether you can swing across it (turns out that was the part I couldn’t do as the water was so cold that my muscles tensed up and I had no grip strength). The first leg of the swim out to the obstacle was very cold but after that I just got into it and started to enjoy the experience. I mean – the swim was beautiful. I was on a navy base.
More importantly – I can look at something like this and not have any doubt in my mind about my ability to do it. I’ll admit after the experience with failed grip due to cold I was very careful because I didn’t want to hurt or kill myself. My mother would never forgive me, and probably neither would Doug (aka my local mother), at least not until there is sufficient life insurance in place in the event of my accidental death in a CrossFit activity!
Sometimes if you think too much about something you won’t do it. Just jump in and get it done. You don’t even feel the cold after a while. You get comfortable being uncomfortable. Sound familiar?
Well, the fun was not without casualty. I sliced open the bottom of one of my feet, and I am pretty sure I got a mild form of hypothermia. Whatever, no permanent damage done.
I think a lot of the others who participated were in the same proverbial boat. There was some whining and gnashing of teeth but I am not sure anyone was actually complaining. If they were, they were being pretty silly if you ask me, because we’d brought this on ourselves. Yeah it’s cold. Suck it up. We’re CrossFitters. Fran also sucks.
I am as guilty of the next person of whining just to make conversation. I generally don’t whine and mean it. I was absolutely and utterly unprepared for the degree to which my new job was going to take over my life. My friends are all unsurprised but I guess I just didn’t get it. I imagine it’s a bit like how parents tell you that your life completely changes when you have a child, and you can understand that intellectually but you don’t really understand. Well, this is how I feel.
So if I whine about lack of sleep, or impact on training, or friendships or whatnot … I’m not whining, I’m just making conversation. I brought this on myself. And I’m actually not complaining because it’s awesome. Even the parts I don’t really want to do I’m enjoying doing, for now. I’ve been getting good feedback from all around: my management, staff, customers, partners. That’s encouraging enough too, as far as it goes. But compliments are a nice way to remind yourself that you’re on the right path. I’m certainly not lacking in intrinsic motivation any more than I’m lacking intrinsic motivation at the gym. Just being able to lift more than I could six months ago is motivation enough, and that’s only the beginning.
Friday was a crazy day in and out of the office. For a variety of reasons my schedule was completely jumbled around at the last minute and the day was typical in its mix of varied but important activities: everything from a check-in with Doug to digging into our margins to viewing potential new offices to a meeting with a key business partner to attending part of a conference. And then I went to the gym to do a workout called Jackie where I could most definitely feel the lack of sleep affecting me.
This was a holiday weekend (Monday was Heritage Day aka National Braai Day), which I celebrated in particular by having dinner with my lovely friend Amy, who got me laughing out loud at her impression of a cow, and I got her laughing out loud at my description of the menu at the Roundhouse (well just the deer on the menu).
This also happened to be the weekend of the Loeries, which is the South African version of the CLIO Awards (thanks to Kerry for Googling that for me and while I’m doing shout outs a shout out to Kim for his wins over the weekend). This series of festivities is an awards ceremony and set of associated parties for the advertising and creative industry. It was interesting for me to go and watch all this, find out what firms seem to specialise in what, and I did meet a couple of very interesting people so it was definitely worth the time invested.
I loved the South Africanisms on display; everything from the Sanlam/Nandos TV ads (Nandos did a parody of a Sanlam ad, then Sanlam did a parody of a Nandos ad, then Nandos did yet another response) to the renaming of the town of Darling into Carling for last year’s Rocking the Daisies festival (Carling is the brand name of a popular kind of beer). Some of it was way over my head, some of it was quite silly, and some of it bored me almost to tears, I’m not going to lie. I had not missed my smart phone so much in a long time.
My favourite campaign that won an award was this one. It’s kind of genius for putting everything in perspective. But also …. DAMN. Makes me want to cry and beat someone up at the same time, and I’m an American which means it takes something very good to get me to sit up and pay attention. We are bombarded with sophisticated advertising from a very young age in America. It’s not like it is here. So, hats off to Ogilvy Cape Town.
So this coming week is going to be absolutely and utterly crazy. I am tired just thinking about it. But I’m not complaining. My decision to take a rest/rehab period just now was very well timed if I do say so myself. I’m not at all sure when I would find time for training this week anyway, but this way I’m not in any way resentful because it’s a planned rest week. Viva alignment of interests.
The last two weeks feel like two months. I vaguely recall a few weeks back when I was super excited to go to the U.S. I still am; I’m excited to see family and a couple of friends in particular. There is so much awesomeness coming. All I need to be able to enjoy it?
A little sleep.
  • “SO average!” – Richie
  • “Anyone want to take bets on who is going to be the first to drown?” – Richie
  • “That was fun? F*ck you!” – Chris
  • “You’re going to be sick as a dog after the Loeries.” – Mandy
  • “No, dude, that’s MC Hammer!” – Ellie
  • “This country is not rational.” – Tobie
  • “Farnsworth?? That’s even better than Allister!” – Amy 


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