Once in a blue moon

(Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Of course I would forget my phone on the night we had the school family disco and a blue moon. It was stunning. The moon, I mean. Everyone was talking about it the next day. Though the disco was pretty awesome too. Really well organised, lots of fun, I even busted a move or two in the semi-darkness of strobe lights and smoke machines. (Yeah, imagine that.)

I wasn’t too keen right up till the eleventh hour, but I’m glad the kid convinced me to drag our tired asses there. We both ended up having a great time, and it was a good chance to hang a little bit with some of the other parents. Plus we wouldn’t have seen the blue moon otherwise.

Aspiring to minimalist living, or my version of it

While hardly a true minimalist, I do love having as few possessions as possible. Either it appeals to the OCD side of me, knowing that everything is “in order” and “sorted”, or I really don’t care all that much about material stuff. Maybe it’s a bit of both. In any case, this article inspired me so much that I went through my entire house one weekend in an effort to declutter. I came away with half a recycle bin full of paper, mostly my 5yo’s artwork from the past year, a bag of trash and three bags of stuff to donate to the Salvo’s.

As I unceremoniously dumped a bag of the kid’s kinder artwork into the recycle bin, I remembered this quote from the article about memories not being in things. So true – mine are mostly in my head and hard drive, and besides, I honestly don’t think I’ll miss that stuff.

I read an interview with Will Smith in Esquire about how his son Jaden only has one pair of shoes, three pairs of pants and five shirts. A part of me wonders if it’s really true, but I admire the aspiration behind it all the same. Disclaimer: I love Will Smith, I think he’s all round one of the coolest people on the planet.

I know I will never be able to survive on just 100 items or whatever it is that minimalists do, but this is my version of living a minimalist life and I’m trying my best dammit. Also, I suspect most minimalists are not raising a 5yo in their super compact and trendy abodes.

The most important thing I’ve learned about priorities

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option,” said the very wise Maya Angelou.

This has probably been one of the most important lessons I’ve had to learn over the past couple of years. I imagine most people already know this, instinctively if not in so many words. But I’m loyal by nature – perhaps too much so – and it’s taken me far longer than it should have to realise this.

My loyalty means I will continue to make someone a priority because of what we experienced together once upon a time. It means I will remember the good times, and, on the basis of what was once good, defend someone who is no longer worth defending. It means I will keep on trying, even when it is apparent that the other person is not.

It meant… My loyalty meant… Because I can only hope that I’ve learned my lesson.

What I got for Mother’s Day this year

My Mother’s Day gift from the kid. It’s a definite step up from the tangled mess of a bead necklace she made in kinder, which I actually wore on several occasions. Her joy when I did was worth it. Besides, fashion was never my forte anyway.

I’m proud to say that my 5yo has shown far more aptitude for fashion than I ever did in the first 20 years of my life combined. Apparently, fashion sense and an interest in dressing-up aren’t inherited (I could blame it all on the likes of advertising and peer pressure but I don’t think they are wholly responsible). Neither, it seems, is girliness and an affinity for Barbie dolls, princesses and sparkly things, because, well, look at me.

She picked this bracelet because it’s blue, and blue has become her favourite colour ever since Frozen invaded our lives. It’s a wonderful change from pink, I must say. And yes, I wear it all the time.

An interview with Misty Copeland, the ballerina who’s changing not just the stage but the world

Totally meant to start on my work but I’ve been spending the past hour watching this Teen Vogue interview with Misty Copeland. The first time I heard about Misty was through this New York Times article. Since then, she’s been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and is the first dancer in a generation to be on the cover of the magazine. Success stories like these fascinate me – people who break the mould, who overcome stereotypes and adversity to show others what could be possible if they would only look beyond their carefully (and stubbornly) constructed boxes.

Misty is a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre at 32, which is a lot older than most soloists are. She started ballet at 13, which is also way, way older than when most ballerinas start. Most people, myself included, would have gone, I’m too old to ever be a ballerina, it’s too hard, let’s start looking for another dream. Not that I’ve ever aspired to be a ballerina – little known fact: my mum sent me to ballet classes when I was about 6. I lasted a month. I don’t envy Misty because I know how incredibly, unbelievably hard she works and the sacrifices she has to make. But I do admire her, and what she’s doing is just amazing.

Monday not-quite-blues

Last Monday was one of those mornings. The kid got up on the wrong side of the bed, she wasn’t unwell but she wasn’t feeling 100% either, and nothing seemed to suit her royal highness. Within 10 minutes of her waking up she had dissolved into an epic temper tantrum. I hate it when people ruin my mornings. I’m not exactly a morning person: I function well but it takes me a while to ease into my day. I like quiet, easy mornings. This was not one of them. I could feel myself unravelling as she went on and on.

We were late for school – really late. It was the latest we’d ever been. But we made it. She calmed down, I dropped her off on a good note with a big cuddle and kiss, and off she went – happily, I might add. As if she hadn’t just spent the 40 minutes prior doing my head in with her whinging and crying.

Then, in the car after drop-off, as I drove to my first errand of the day, I realised: that was a crap morning. But what should have been an absolutely horrible start to the day and week actually became a good morning and a good start because I didn’t lose my temper. I resisted the niggling urge to fly off the handle, I managed the situation well (only by divine grace, surely), and even though it wasn’t particularly enjoyable, it was victorious. I did not let the kid rattle me into screaming, and that made it a much better Monday morning than I had initially thought. More than just a case of: me – 1, the kid – 0; it taught me: I can actually pull this off.

So I did what every mum should do once in a while: I celebrated. I treated myself to a latte and toastie breakfast while I sorted out my thoughts and my to-do list for the day(s) ahead. And an obviously bored, very young guy tried to pick me up because either I look 10 years younger than I really am or he’s in the market for a cougar.

Seeing the sun through the trees, taking a moment to just be

With everything that has happened, from the Bali 9 executions and the Baltimore riots to the Nepal earthquake, it’s been a big-picture kind of week. More and more I am learning to experience and appreciate each present moment of being, instead of always thinking ahead to the next thing on my list. What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell? How do I feel right now? These are the questions I ask myself whenever I need to get out of my head and (re)enter the present. Side note: Here’s an interesting article about an artist with amnesia and how she is constantly stuck in the present in two-minute blocks.

If 2014 for me was about really making the most of each day, 2015, as I’m starting to discover, is about being in the moment. “Busyness is overrated.” I happened across this phrase one day, and it’s stuck to me like a piece of chewing gum to the sole of a shoe – not always visible, but every once in a while it makes its presence felt and you’re reminded that it is there.

I like to stay busy. I like to-do lists and I especially like working my way through them. I’ve said before that when the kid was born, I read somewhere that, as a new mum, if you tick just one thing off your to-do list in a day it’s an achievement, and that utterly horrified me. Just one thing a day? One?

Staying busy makes me feel like I’m accomplishing things in my life, even if it’s just grocery shopping. It makes me feel productive, like I’m maximising the crap out of each day, which I pledged to do in January 2014. Save for a few weeks here and there, it’s been one of those rare resolutions that I’ve actually kept – so well, in fact, that it’s carried me into 2015 and become a way of life.

So when I read that phrase, it made me think. Perhaps I didn’t need to pack each day to the brim. Maybe if I gave myself a little bit more breathing room…? Instead of going from task to task – and don’t get me wrong, far from being overwhelmed, I love feeling like I’m being incredibly efficient, no matter how small or insignificant the tasks – I really should make it a point to stop, feel the moment and just be.

One year ago: One more star in heaven

One year on, you are remembered and cherished. You are missed. Every time I watch a show you enjoyed, every time I read about an actor you liked, every time something happens that, normally, before one year ago, I would have simply picked up my phone and texted you.

I often think of your big, big heart, your never-ending exuberance for life, and the way you brought a ragtag bunch of people together who otherwise wouldn’t be in each others’ lives the way we are. I guess what I’m trying to say is: you’re still an inspiration.

Much love, always.

1 of 76