I don’t feel the suns comin’ out today
its staying in, its gonna find another way.
As I sit here in this misery, I don’t
think I’ll ever see the sun from here.
And oh as I fade away,
they’ll all look at me and say, and they’ll say,
Hey look at him! I’ll never live that way.
But that’s okay
they’re just afraid to change.
When you feel your life ain’t worth living
you’ve got to stand up and
take a look around you then a look way up to the sky.
And when your deepest thoughts are broken,
keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die.
And as we all play parts of tomorrow,
some ways will work and other ways we’ll play.
But I know we all can’t stay here forever,
so I want to write my words on the face of today.
and then they’ll paint it
And oh as I fade away,
they’ll all look at me and they’ll say,
Hey look at him and where he is these days.
When life is hard, you have to change.
Blind Melon. Musicians are either writing about love, or angst/ennui it seems.
I remember one time around 2001 in Emeryville, California, at just a random post-work office social thinking to myself: “This set of people will never be together again like this.”
And it’s true. I’m in South Africa. Some are in New York. Many are still in the Bay Area (inertia is a powerful thing), but we will never be together again. And even if we were, it wouldn’t be like we were.
I had that same thought again at Babson and there it is even more true, as I can see from Facebook that we are distributed over the world.
A week or so ago I was contacted out of the blue by an old co-worker of mine, with whom I used to travel to Toronto a lot. He was back in our old stomping grounds, and wanted to tell me how much was still the same as it was. What a nice opportunity to reminisce on those times, the trials and tribulations; things left accomplished, things left undone. What I learned (product marketing and enterprise sales), what I did for the first time (take a product from concept to launch), and the friendships forged in drive-thrus, call centres, late nights at the office, over sushi lunches, margaritas in Kentucky, and gin & tonics in Andover. Which Katie never drank. Haha!
It’s fascinating to walk down memory lane. I can’t quite imagine “looking back” on a time I lived in South Africa but I think I would remember the light. The dust, the yellow bricks of Johannesburg, the white Cape Dutch of Cape Town, the strange pinkish light of the Highveld, the grey skies of the Western Cape winter, the polished concrete & retro chic, the different colours of skin tone and accents.
Memory is a strange thing – we live all day long and yet the vignettes we choose to remember are such a small sampling. Even the word choose is inaccurate; sometimes we can decide to encode something into our memory but more often than not, we don’t quite control what we remember.
Same same but different is what I was thinking as I was hearing about Toronto again. Which about sums up life. Rarely does everything change at once, but change is gradual and subtle. Some change we start, some change happens to us.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about change, obviously.
A change in the evolution of my thinking over the last year; a very important one that I’m glad happened.
A change in my daily routine over the last few months; a time-consuming one sure, but one that I would no longer recognise my life without.
Some pretty dramatic changes that might be brewing but it’s too early to say exactly how. Not that I’m a fan of predicting the future, but my intuition must be getting quite strong as my gut has predicted pretty much everything that has happened (or not happened) so far this year. Then again, this two months has felt quite like the calm before the storm.
Of course, we can still fool ourselves easily enough. I refused to see the signs that my cat was very ill. There are various warning signs that it’s easy to see looking backwards, right? Up to and including the warning signs you ignored.
Change can be so gradual you don’t notice, or it can be relatively rapid to the point where you look at your life and realise it’s not the same life it was a year ago, or six months ago. Similar, I guess, to the cells in the body constantly all being replaced. In a very real way, we do reinvent ourselves all the time emotionally, mentally, physically. The more so if we embrace it.
I’ve been very surprised that some things I haven’t been training (like strict pullups) have suddenly become significantly better. Other things, like snatch and clean, I am breaking down to rebuild stronger.
Another year, another change in the weather, and another year of the CrossFit Open. I remember when I was new to CrossFit and was so excited by the Open; I would wake up in the middle of the night to check the workout and then I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of the excitement.
This year, it’s definitely different. The excitement is still there, but more from osmosis than my own feelings because this year I am not trying to qualify for anything.
And in a throwback to 2011, when I sprained my ankle right before the Open, this time I tore my rotator cuff snatching at the beginning of the Open. Nothing I hadn’t done 100 times before in the prior few weeks; but hey, what happened happened. Of course it happened about five days after my first [tentative] kipping muscle ups in nearly a year, which I thought at the time was quite an “achievement” of healing. Turns out just an ironic tease. Not that this injury is something I want to focus on; because everyone’s got their own issues and injuries, some of which are worse than this one (which is just a grade 1, and will heal quickly).
But the point is this – I train for lots of reasons. Competing is one of them, but the Open isn’t a competition I’m especially focused on. It used to be a qualifier, and now? I don’t even know what it is to me, other than a chance to really have a shared experience with a community that I love.
This is also the first year I’m not doing the Open at Cape CrossFit, and so I will just take this moment to state just exactly how much I love the community (family) at Kyalami and my other family at Ballistix. It really is true that Kyalami is my happy place. The light, the people, and the fact that we train hard but have fun and its atmosphere is incredibly supportive.
Some change is gradual, some change is abrupt. The latter can be easier to deal with than the former; in the case of the former you first must realise it is happening.
What a difference a year makes.
Change in place of living, in company, in CrossFit gym, now in the midst of change in WAPA secretariat … and more to come. Much more to come. The thing about not being ready for something but facing it anyway is an inevitable consequence of living a life that is not dull.
I guess anything that’s going to change you, you probably won’t be ready for.
Still, it’s comforting in a strange sort of way to re-evaluate everything and embrace the uncertainty that comes along with that.
And yet, the more things change the more they stay the same.
I suppose there are two main categories of change – things you either don’t want or aren’t necessarily looking for that happen and then you deal with, and things you actually want and try to make happen. In the case of the latter, as they say, hope is not a strategy. Nor is inertia.
It was a sad week in Cape Town in the first week of March. The mountain caught on fire (probably a careless human), and raged for days. The native vegetation, fynbos, does need to burn on a regular basis to regenerate. However, humans being as we are, have planted alien species that burn hotter than the fynbos and therefore cause more damage than what nature intended.
I wished, in a way, that I could have been there to see it and to join in the volunteer fire fighting efforts just out of solidarity with the place I used to live. To see places I know so well on fire is scary. There were places I know and that I have been that burned, and to think of all the animals caught in the blaze is immensely sad. Sad enough to have their environments encroached on for so long, but to be caught in a fire: what a sad way to go.
The 45 degree record-breaking heat didn’t help (glad I wasn’t around for that, it’s a tad hot for me!). Even the Great Westerford building where Teraco is located had a roof fire!
Yeah there are some messy situations that need to be cleaned up, and some things I need to change these next few weeks. As always, I’ll do my best to have the grace and fortitude to do what I have to do quickly and well.
I had dinner recently with a lovely woman I hadn’t seen in a few years named Tiffany, who has now moved to Johannesburg from Geneva. Among other things, she was asking me about CrossFit and after I finished she was commenting that in everything I did, I seemed to be very objective, and did I try to be that way.
I guess the only answer I have for that is yes.
We also discussed this tendency that I have to accept and deal with pretty much everything that comes my way very rapidly. Apparently, there is at least one person far further down the scale than I am in this regard, but take my cat dying for example. I was beside myself for a few days, but now I’m over it. The ones that bug me are the ones that I keep being reminded of. If I’ve hurt my shoulder and go to the gym and can’t do certain moves, that keeps bugging me.
As February turned to March, a couple of things evolved. In Johannesburg, an ironic shift in positions that I would not have expected but that somehow feels just as it should. In Cape Town, upping of the ante in Durbanville and, again, the extreme irony of people that we looked around the table at with extreme suspicion months ago are now friends that we tease and gossip with.
Frustration from one of my favourite telecoms boys. Truth from another. Meeting a kind of kindred soul, in Somerset Mall of all places. And so it goes.
I was also telling Tiffany how when I was younger I used to think I was not a risk taker. Every risk I took seemed pretty calculated to me. I guess you can be wrong about yourself. But I’m not unhappy with my choices – the things I’m unhappy with are the choices or conversations I chose to defer, to stick with the status quo which was safe.
But as I was also recently reminded, if people are paying attention, there is really very little that you can actually hide. Not, of course, that that’s a bad thing.
One thing I suppose I really wouldn’t mind is some stability. Just a little bit. And not just in my shoulder.
On a final note, this is one of the better essays on asking for things and facing fears. I would say, I am much better at this than I was a few years back, and probably better than most other people. But I have a long way to go.
Kinda like in CrossFit – almost infinitely better than I was when I started, better than many others, but still a long way to go.
Hey, you can make a metaphor out of anything. Life pushes you just as much as you let it do, now doesn’t it?
- “I know how you feel. Slightly differently. But I know how you feel.” – Ellie
- “I asked Neelay if he was OK with the latency. He sent me a 16 second video.” – Ellie
- “Well, you do have one competitor. It’s called Google.” – Nathier
- “You started it!” “’You started it?’ Did you really just say that to me?” – Nathier & Ellie
- “Neelay, is there anything you want me to do in that meeting?” “Ask him to drop his pricing.” – Ellie & Neelay
- “Do you do Zumba?” “I do CrossFit.” – Gianni & Ellie
- “For what you want to do, there’s no way to grow organically.” – Riaan
- “I f*cking love this country. But I hate it at the same time.” – a repatriated cynic
- “What does it say about me that my choice of recreation is stressful?” – Ellie
- “I think your talents are being wasted, if I’m honest.” – Ant
- “Why do you have this?” “Why would I not have it? … The real question is why do I have two?” – Ellie & Craig
- “I’m interested. I mean … purely for research purposes.” – Robbie
- “You have a bill from yourself, to yourself?” “Yes.” – Ellie & Deon (#mytelecomslife)
- “No, you’re right. It is stupid. But I’m not sure I’d say it’s the stupidest thing ever.” – Enrico
- “I said Stellenbosch because no one goes to Somerset West.” – Gary
- “But you know, it’s part and parcel of being a politician. You can’t … actually … say … the truth.” – Ellie
- “It’s not like you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know.” – Coach Andrew
- “Geez, this sounds like a movie.” – Richard (explaining telecoms to someone not in telecoms)
- “All right, Wade, you’re gonna go in 30 seconds.” “No I’m not.” – Jason & Wade (guess who was right?)
- “Ps. This was a retweet. I do not follow Newlands Brewery.” – Dominic
- “This is not a can of worms. This is a Klingon bowl of worms!” – Ellie