Letting go is the hardest part.

There is a recurring theme in my life; holding on for one reason or another to things, stuff, and relationships. It’s been difficult to get to the bottom of this tendency because more often than not, emotion clouds good judgement. c1f29933689797316b69e3ccc2a502c2

I have moved home 6 times in the past 8 years, chasing my 2 daughters cross country and trying to keep up with the tumultuous changes that have marked this period of my life. Each time I have carried a large household of possessions and pieces of furniture around with me, notwithstanding the bonsai collection. At times I put my overflow of belongings into storage if the property I lived in was too small.

I tried to manufacture space or find places for things that didn’t necessarily fit. I squeezed it in, and in so doing couldn’t create a space that ultimately made me happy. There was always a feeling that I was split, and that somehow Richard couldn’t be Richard. But I didn’t seem to be able to let go of anything.

Living alone for 6 years, I still have never let go of the idea of sharing a home with a special person in my future.

I held onto the past as a basis for a future that I yearned for. Thus losing the present.

Somehow Richard became defined by the things and the circumstances.

I hung on for varied but all emotive reasons; sentimental value, the scarcity of the belonging – like an antique, the potential use of an item, or poverty consciousness – will I ever be able to replace it. The most important reason however was that I had already lost so much in my life.

It all weighs me down and costs me energy, let alone the financial cost of moving and storage. The ‘stuff’ is better described as a burden and as baggage.964052482435194502gULUvVrc

At times I guess it has been challenging to have to admit that I have become a hoarder. And because of that I have spent much time attempting to understand the emotional and intellectual reasoning for this tendency.

I have come to understand that it is simply this; I have a fear of loss.

A fear that prevents me from moving forward unencumbered. What if I need that one thing that I let go of?  What if I cannot replace it? What if I never find it again?

And so too, I have come to realise that I have that very same tendency with relationships. To the point that I damage myself by hanging on.  And the reasons are identical; a fear of loss and all that that manifests within me.

The certainty of what I have is a lesser evil than the uncertainty of something that I don’t have. And so I hold on.  Loss seems to be an unbearable option.

But if I am not happy, I have nothing anyway.

The emotion that is inextricably linked to the relationship is the greatest problem. Love of that person no matter how my love is returned or isn’t, and the inability to love myself enough to let go once I have recognized the destructive weight of the relationship, all make it extremely hard to let go. Fear controls me.

I am about to move again, hopefully my last in a long time. I intend to get rid of anything that I do not have a use for right now, as well as all those things that serve no positive purpose in my life. No matter how much I might love them.

out of clutter find simplicity from discord find harmony in the middle of difficulty find opportunityHolding on is a destructive energy, and it prevents us from moving forward. It keeps us stuck in the past, and holds us in a limbo that resists freedom.

I am moving forward alone and free. Scared, but free. I choose to make myself a priority by not holding onto the things that negatively impact my life. I choose to let go, and face my fears head on.

Keeping up with the Joneses

I find it hard enough to keep up with myself, let alone the Joneses or the Molefe’s or even the Gupta’s –  in fact especially the Gupta’s, those guys seem to be everywhere. Just the other day I read a New Age newspaper and there they were again, go figure.. All I have is this WordPress site.

I seem to run from plane to plane and back again, and when I look back, I can’t seem to remember who the Joneses even are, let alone which town they call home.

Thank god I still recognize my kids, but I could swear that they had more teeth the last time I saw them.

Who has time or energy for Mr and Mrs Jones.

Mrs Jones just got the latest Land Rover for her birthday. That’s lovely, but I spend more days in a rental car than my own, and can’t remember on which level I parked at the airport. You tell me which is more important to me.

I do think that Mr Molefe has a gorgeous new home in that estate in Joburg with the sewerage pipe running through it.

I’m just grateful to count the number of nights that my girls share my house with me in a month.

I keep planning for the future. I keep endless mails. The ones I fully intend to revisit, because I need time to digest them, and act on their contents.
I mail myself website pages too, to read later, you know…when I have the time. I make notes on the books I need to read, and have kept more recipes than I have days left on this earth.

But I already have a pile of books on my bedside table, and a pile of laundry in the wash basket. Quite frankly I reckon it should be more important to read the books than do the laundry. Tell that to my boss when I pitch up at work in front of an auditorium full of people wearing nothing but Cry The Beloved Country.

Yes I still haven’t read that one!

You see it’s all relative, this keeping up thing. I don’t have the time nor energy to care about other things, because I’m busy surviving my own chock-a-block life.

13581236346445762_2pxiLodn_cI get up each morning and marvel that I get paid to do what I do. And actually, that’s more than enough.
I know who my best friends are, and don’t give a hoot where they live nor what they drive. But I do know what it sounds like when they laugh or cry.

I’ll get to read the books one day or maybe not.
But right now I need to get home in time to prepare for the arrival of the tooth fairy tonight, and that’s more important than anything.

Keeping up with the kids.

The Birthday Test, age plays no favorites.

Many years ago I started an annual personal birthday test. The idea was that if I could get out of bed on the 29th of July in the middle of the South African winter, and run a half marathon on my own, life must be good. Despite any evidence to the contrary.

It gave me a wonderful sense of achievement and dare I say it, a smug satisfaction.

As the saying goes…’whatever floats your boat.”

I guess all things are relative.Copy of IMSA.run

Stupidly one year I stretched out my goal after suffering a splendid brainfart. Why not run the corresponding distance to my age every year…what a stupendous, (in retrospect; childishly idealistic) idea.

And so, after my 30th birthday, the inevitable occurred.The chances of me attaining my yearly goal became as strong as my chances of winning an argument with a woman.

Perhaps I should have aimed at 42km, and then subtracted a kilometer each year after that to work back down.

I’ll have to save that idea for my next lifetime. You know, the one where I return as a gazelle.

And so I failed the test for a number of years. In fact I didn’t even pitch up at the start line.

This year however was different. Being more determined than ever to regain some running fitness, I completed the 21km before work on my birthday.

To some it might not be a significant achievement, but to me it was.

That was until I remembered the ego-obliterating words of a colleague on the eve of my birthday, “I suppose it’s better than some other tests you might have to put yourself through at your age.”A+healthcare+provider+donning+a+pair+of+latex+gloves

On my 44th birthday she might be depressingly correct. So next year I will forgo the half marathon test in favor of the prostate exam… Ouch. Age is a bitch who wears latex gloves.

My terrible little secret.

I had my Mom in the car with me, and I was itching to do it. It’s my habit, my addiction, my terrible affliction. I knew I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, she’d judge me and chastise me, 

Admonish me like a naughty little boy again. 

Just the other day I looked up from the little screen and had to swerve to avoid driving into the chevrons on the side of the road. My heart pounding as I guiltily tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. A minor lapse I thought. Thank goodness there were no other cars on the road. No one to witness, nobody to see me. I’m probably just tired, it’s late, and I’ve just climbed off a plane.

Besides, I’m a great driver. I can handle a phone and a steering wheel simultaneously. The Multitasking King. I’m better than the rest. It won’t happen again.o-TEXTING-DRIVING-facebook

But that’s how all addictions flourish, that little voice in your head that whispers, “You’re still in control. You can stop any time you choose.”

I’ve even assuaged my guilty conscience by convincing myself that catching up on social media posts is OK. After all, I’m not texting, and isn’t that what all the fuss is about?

Driving robot to robot, waiting for the car to roll to a standstill and then reaching for the phone. Watching the road, constantly waiting for a straight stretch of road, less traffic, perfect conditions to get my fix. 

But it is never OK. 

No matter how good a driver you are, no matter how fleeting the glances at the screen. It is just a matter of time. One text and one update closer to the inevitable. 

Of course my mom would be right; I just don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to admit it either. Don’t want you to know…finally-thumbs-down-things-you-dislike-facebook.1280x600

But it is time. I am lucky that thus far my terrible habit hasn’t cost me. Yes lucky. Not skilled, not clever, not smart. Not better than anybody else who has caused an accident, taken a life, lost a life.

Just plain lucky! 

So now you all know. I admit that I have a terrible habit. My secret is out. 

And so it ends, because from today, I promise that I am done. I’m going cold turkey. 

And I’m asking for help. 

If you’re close enough to me to know when I am driving, and you suspect that I am breaking my promise, I’m asking you to challenge me, be hard with me. 

 And I am challenging you to do the same. Give it up. Come clean. Be grateful that you’ve been lucky too. feeling-lucky

Please don’t wait for your luck to run out…

You do it because ‘driving is such dead time…’

There’s something there, don’t you think?



Being positive is a choice. Truck versus bicycle – 10 lessons.

Lesson number one; a truck is a formidable opponent.

Human flesh and bone is no match for a truck moving at speed – probably no match regardless of the speed.  For that matter, tar is also a force to be reckoned with. I am an Ironman on paper only, that much is now abundantly clear to me.

My very best ‘tuck and roll’ turned into a ‘tuck and smear’…

Lesson number two; stealth is not to be underestimated.

I didn’t hear it coming. A truck the size of a small building snuck up behind me with the stealth of a hunting leopard, but with 16 times the speed and none of the finesse.

20131208_100049_1Lesson number three; cycling apparel should come with a warning label that reads; “resists wind, but not hard surfaces.”

This lesson is self-explanatory, and my bib-shorts are evidence to the lesson.

Lesson number four; disaster strikes unexpectedly.

21 Years of cycling… Accident free and invincible.

I was happily lost in Sunday cycling dreamland. Putting the hammer down on my imaginary cycling partners. Crashes are for all the other cyclists…

Lesson number five; shock and pain are ugly twin sisters.

I still haven’t figured out which was worse; the shock of the unexpected, lying scribbled on the tarmac squinting into the sun, wondering how I’d gotten there. Or the stabbing pain that seemed to come from everywhere all at once.

Lesson number six; pain doesn’t trump outrage and indignation.

The driver didn’t stop, didn’t even slow down, not even a smidgen. Neither did any motorist mind you… Who cares about the pain… How dare he!?! Here I am laying in an ugly mess on the tar, the result of his negligence, and he disappears into the Joburg smog.

I swore a lot.

I shouted words I didn’t know that I knew.

Lesson number seven; road rules only apply to those who are pedantic enough to follow them.

I was right, he was wrong. The yellow line belongs to the cyclist. A cyclist takes up an entire lane. Vehicles are not permitted to drive on the left of the yellow line. Well, that’s what the rulebook says anyway…

Truck driver rule number 1: the road belongs to the biggest.

Lesson number eight; the fable that “chicks dig scars” is false.

I have seen no measurable increase in female attention since the incident. In fact if the ugly truth be known, I have seen no attention whatsoever. Which of course makes Keryn very happy…

Personally I’m gutted, good scars have been wasted.

Lesson number 9: there is no lesson number 9, it purely appeals to my OCD nature to have ten lessons.

suck-it-up-buttercup.american-apparel-unisex-tank.black.w760h760b3Lesson number ten; setbacks need not actually set you back.

Setbacks and hardships, accidents and incidents, negative life happenings, can either affect your future, or can mean absolutely nothing going forward besides being a good story. You can decide, it’s actually a choice.

Granted, some incidents are far harder to get through than others, but there really are only two distinct groups of people.

There are those who assume the victim role at any opportunity. They will tell everyone whom they meet about all the negative things that have ever happened to them. They live in the past, and gradually do less and less for fear of all the bad things that might happen, due to all of the bad things that have already happened. Always looking for the next excuse to throw a pity party, they are avid followers of bad news. In fact, bad news seems to follow them.

And then there are those who pick themselves up, brush themselves off and move forward in life. Pragmatic and stoic to the core. Life hands out lemons and nobody ever guaranteed you a free ride nor a pain-free ride in life. They wear the scars as a reminder of what they have been through to reach their present disposition.

They choose to learn from the tough times and avoid the victims. That’s a pretty good motto I reckon. You will always find the bad if you look for it, but guess what, you’ll always find the good if you choose to look for it too.

Hardship produces great character if only you’ll allow it to.

So I choose to accept that the risk of cycling is ‘Tarmac-time’. I am grateful for every moment that I get to spend on the freedom that is a bike. I will take all necessary precautions, and ride defensively, but recognize that sometimes no matter what…life happens. And when it does, I need to climb back on as soon as possible.

And besides, the odds remain in my favour.

21 years, only one measly accident.

Opportunity is a confusing concept.

169How do you really know what is in the best interests of your kids?  They aren’t you, and each one is so different.

Every parent wants the best for their kids, regardless of who the parents are and regardless of their circumstances.

We want to provide opportunities we might not have had ourselves.  And if we cannot provide our kids with opportunities whilst they’re growing up, we sure as hell want to be able to set them up for their future.

But opportunity is a very relative term.

Many parents in South Africa would like nothing more than to provide for the basic needs of their children. A roof over their kids’ heads, regular meals, or maybe just a flushing toilet and a basic education of sorts. Let alone their own bedroom and the latest Transformer or Barbie doll.

Poles apart, you’ll find wealthy parents who believe that opportunity means expensive private schooling, international tertiary education, and pretty much anything else that their money can buy.

Somewhere in the middle the average parents encourage their kids to play sport, pursue cultural interests, and get good grades. Opportunity for these parents relates to social status, religious life-ever-afters, and perhaps even any passport other than a South African one.

My viewpoint as a dad is that all of the things I’ve mentioned above – whilst I’m not knocking any of them –  mean very little  unless your children feel loved, important, and secure in who they are. And to a very large extent that’s your job as a parent.

What I know for sure is that opportunity is not necessarily a thing, an object to be provided, a certificate, or a piece of paper.

I’ve seen far too many young adults fail because they were spoilt and over protected. They never learned to face their fears and overcome failure because mommy or daddy always jumped in to shield them from the ugly side of life. Standing on your own two feet is pretty hard when you’ve never had to do it before.

I’ve seen far too much wasted potential resulting from a total lack of parenting stability. One or both parents MIA. One or both parents emotionally unstable. Parents who just don’t spend enough time with their children, or who force adult issues on their kids.

And I’ve seen far too many graduates battling to pay the bills because they are academically brilliant but suck at life skills and interpersonal relationships.

From where I stand, the greatest gift is the gift of self-belief, of self-confidence and of independence.

Gifts that come from parents who encourage their children to dream, to believe in something greater for themselves, and to believe that there is absolutely nothing that they cannot achieve if they are prepared to believe and work hard. Parents who encourage as much social interaction as possible, and encourage their kids to be independent from a young age.

Parents who provide stability, predictability, dependability, security, and solid roots. Who promote emotional independence, positive habits, and routine.

Parents who impart mechanisms for the handling of failure and of defeat. Because defeat and failure are inevitable.

And preferably, two equally involved parents, no matter if they live apart.

girlsSkill-sets can be learned, passports can be gained, money can be earned, but self-confidence is hard to develop later in life. Ask me, I know all too well. I have struggled most of my life to develop self-confidence.

Consider for a moment the tycoon, Donald Trump. All the money and power in the world, but still such an insecure, small man inside. Hence the trophy wife, the comb over and the need to splash his power and influence across the globe. His need to defend himself by bullying his haters on Twitter.  All hinting at compensation for a lack of self-confidence and needs that were not met as a child. My opinion only I admit…

Would I wish that for my children? Absolutely not!

Intrinsically we are subjective beings, and it’s almost impossible not to project our own fears and shortcomings onto our children, but our job as parents is to do our damnedest not to.

I intend to keep trying my best. Only time will tell.




Self belief has to ooze from your pores, your very being.

IMG_20140125_114256When I was little my teacher once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I didn’t become a fireman, nor an astronaut, and I am not Batman – well nobody has ever seen Batman and me in the same room…
Instead I am something I never imagined I would be. And I kinda got here by default. Stuff just sort of happened. I don’t regret it, I love what I do! But at some point I stopped believing that anything is possible, and I’ve held myself back from all sorts of things as a result.

For most of us, the last time that we truly believed we could do anything we set our minds to was at the age of 6.

We were moulded by life, by choices our parents made, by choices we made, where we grew up, and by the generally subjective opinions of the influential people around us.
No Richard, you can’t do maths, you’re not smart enough. Really? No Richard, you wear glasses, you can’t become a swimmer. Really? No Richard, she’s too good for you, set your sights lower. Well maybe….

And so it continued.

Some of the constraints were real, some were obstacles that others had experienced in their lives, and the intent was to protect me from experiencing the same disappointments myself. That is a natural, understandable, and although good intent, it is not necessarily in my best interests. The reason is simple, I am not you.

1743689_704539719566636_1543313980_nUltimately though, my biggest constraint has been the person looking back at me in the mirror. My own lack of self-belief and lack of self-confidence has been the greatest inhibitor on the journey my life has taken.

As much as I would like to blame those around me for robbing me of the ability to believe in myself, especially in those hugely influential formative years, the power to change that has been in my hands ever since. It is hard to realize how great that power is when you’re trapped in a mire of self-denigration.

So essentially it is the biggest word in the English dictionary that has tripped me up – fear.

Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of disappointing others and fear of not being good enough are just some of my fears. I have always put huge pressure on myself to do everything ‘right’. Now there’s a play on words… But right in whose eyes, and what is right anyway!

As a deep thinker, and an intense over analyser of life and stuff in general, it is easy to get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what caused my lack of self-belief, and how best to turn it around. I have a doctorate from the University of Over Analytical Thinking.

But the fact of the matter is that no amount of philosophizing will affect one iota of change. In the words of Richard Branson – a man who was handed a raw deal in life and who believed in himself enough to change it  – “Screw it, let’s do it”

Besides, what have you got to lose?

Failure? Rejection? Disappointment?

Ironic that we fear the very things that already prevent us from succeeding.

Waiting for others to believe in you before you dare to believe in yourself is a recipe for failure. But that’s what we do. We wait until we’ve already proven ourselves, not realising that that is failure in itself, and I know all too well the disappointment that accompanies the look in the eyes of the man looking back at me in the mirror.
Most of us live our lives based on what we already know to be true. And so our life becomes a repeat of exactly that – our past – a comfort zone if you will. We keep making beef lasagne because we know we’re already good at it.
Our comfort zone is not the place where magic happens. Magic happens when you step outside of that zone.


When you come into contact with someone who oozes self-belief from every pore (not arrogance and not attitude, but a genuine self-acceptance and self-confidence) it’s hard not to believe in them. In fact, dare I say it, it’s nigh impossible. Self-belief is contagious. I believe in you, because you believe in yourself!

It is not too late to become all you ever wanted. Because ultimately what you wanted was to feel that anything is possible. To feel capable. To feel the confidence associated with a deep seated belief in whom you are.

The secret is simple. Stop wasting time whining and trying to figure it out!
Screw it, just do it! Make a conscious decision. Today!

You truly do have nothing to lose.