Despite the many stresses in my life: recent divorce; training slowdown; alienation from most of my Christian friends; the prospect of my kids moving to another city; and 20 years of back pain; I am insanely optimistic about life! This is partly because I was blessed with Sanguine genetics, and partly because I revel in the glory of life. There is beauty and greatness and wonder everywhere; and from time to time I even meet some decent people. Here are some of the things that make life great for me; they’re simple things and personal to me, but I hope they make someone relook at their life with a sense of balance and renewed interest. So, in no particular order:
1. McMuffin McMeal breakfasts
“But they make you fat” – what…ever!! Heaven on a English muffin, and McD’s make a great cappuccino.
2. Camping with my kids
There’s nothing better in this world for me. Collecting wood with the boys for evening campfires; hiking through the bush; lunches at waterfalls; braai’d marshmallows; catching frogs and worms for fishing; whittling walking sticks; and fire-baked bread.
3. Tabletop war games
I’ve been playing complex tabletop war games for about 8 years now, mostly Warhammer, a hobby that involves assembling and painting miniature soldiers, and then warring against an opponent on miniature lifelike terrain using tape measures, handfuls of dice and hundreds of pages of intricate rules. It appeals to my whole personality and is an outlet for so many of my interests and passions: creativity; warfare; history; statistics; strategy; mathematics; fantasy; competition; and not least of all, beers and laughter with friends.
I couldn’t live without music. I’m always singing a song in my head and tapping out rhythms on every surface I pass. Whenever I walk into a shop or a mall I’m always instantly aware of what’s playing behind the noise of the crowd. I might be walking with a friend and tell them, “I haven’t heard this song for years” and their response is, “what song?” because they haven’t even noticed the music yet in the noise of the crowd. I had a band in Durban some years back and if I had the space now I’d start another. I often get lost in a song while driving and end up travelling 10km past my destination. I’m currently listening to Muse, Killers, Evanescence, Live and Pink Floyd. Music heals me and gives me a place to express all the emotion that is so ‘unacceptable’ in polite society.
5. Cigars, whisky and leather couches
If I’m thinking of a night out, I look for a Karaoke bar (see previous point) or a cigar lounge. I can spend many hours with a long cigar and a good scotch on a luxurious leather couch with a close friend and a philosophical point to ponder. Unfortunately I don’t seem to have too many friends who share this notion or even know what it looks like, but that just gives me another bucket list goal – to start a cigar club; I’ll call it Plato’s pit.
Not many people can put their jobs on a list of favourite things to do, but I get to earn a living doing the thing I love most – teaching; motivating; inspiring; encouraging; and challenging people. Through all the changes and career shifts of my life, this one thing has been constant. As a missionary, I trained. As a pastor, I trained. As an IT manager, I trained. As a school teacher, I trained. I finally worked what I was and started calling myself a trainer.
One of the most negative effects of religion in society is that it demonizes sex. Possibly the most glorious expression of beauty and love and pleasure known to man has been reduced to some sort of secret activity that shouldn’t be discussed or thought about outside of the narrow requirements of a particular religion, sect or societal norm. People who think about sex “too much” are labeled “perverts” and have a “problem” – gimme a break! The vast majority of men are thinking about sex all the time, because it’s great! Anyway, enough ranting from me; I’ll write another article on the subject, but needless to say, sex is one of those things that make my life great!
If it’s got buttons, microchips, software, lights or makes noise – I love it! I live in a great era where technology doubles in the world every couple of years – wow – and because of my intuitive relationship with all things IT, I get to have tons of fun and learn new things every day.
9. Cooking (and eating)
I’m always surprised by people (especially moms) who throw baked beans on toast for supper because they feel “uninspired” about cooking a meal. For these folk cooking has become a necessary chore and food is nothing more than fuel to keep the family running. I have never felt that way about cooking – even when I’m doing it every day. Cooking is an opportunity to stretch the right brain daily and at the end of it you get to eat cool stuff too, what could be better? It’s like finger painting with ingredients! I get hungry just thinking about it: coconut curries; tomato pastas; vegetable bakes; stuffed Hungarian cabbage rolls; sticky sweet chicken breasts; creamy Greek salads… sigh.
There you go. Let me know what gives your lives meaning.