30 Aug Gratitude.
Lately, there has been a lot of good in my life and while we continue to face so many challenges that I outlined in my last post, I also acknowledge that we have so much to be thankful for. This past weekend, I had spent some time moping about, wishing for something I have never had, and before I could get too far down the rabbit hole, I thought, “NOPE, you’re going to get over it – that was never your path, but YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.” So, here I am, sharing some of the amazing things that have happened recently.
Last month, we paid the final instalment on our House and Home account, blood tests from D’s health scare earlier in the year, an old phone account and much to my excitement, a R25,000 loan we took when D was retrenched. As I waited in the queue to make that final payment, I was messaging my best friend, and was saying how clearly I remember the day we took that loan – we had no food at home, our accounts were all 3 months in the arrears, and we were, to put it bluntly, screwed, as we had no one to turn to for help. But by some miracle, we were accepted for the loan and thinking back, nothing could quite sum up the relief that I felt when hearing we’d gotten the loan. There have been both good and really bad months since then, but each month, we’ve managed to pay an excessively high amount of money towards the loan and last month, as I handed that final payment over, I felt the same sigh of relief – we did it!
Darren and I continue to focus on paying off the debt that we had accumulated when we first moved in together (and were earning like R700/week) and then, of course, the debt from earned during his retrenchment, where he was unemployed for a full year. We’re far from paying anything else off for a while, but last month I realized that despite everything, we’re actually doing okay and seem to be overcoming these odds.
During last month, D and I started focusing more on growing our own business. We have always freelanced when work would pop up, but we’re making more of an effort to find work of our own. Since doing so, we’ve picked up so much work and have received such incredible feedback from our clients. We’ve also launched our own website and Facebook page with hopes of continuing this momentum. Our whole approach is to offer affordable digital marketing services; everyone needs a website but it shouldn’t cost you everything to set it up. Together, with my incredibly talented husband, we offer websites, SEO services, content writing, social media management and blog consulting, among other things.
Besides the steady stream of work, I am just SO grateful for the people who have trusted us with their businesses. I know that often, we don’t place enough value on the importance of having a website, so it’s usually the last thing that we pay for and sometimes, we end up using the last of our money to do so. It must make new business owners feel so vulnerable, especially trusting a small company that you’ve never heard of – but here we are, being trusted to build websites of companies who deserve every bit of success that is coming their way.
My blog has also been doing incredibly well. After having Eli, I decided to give up the strict content plan that I had set for myself; I stopped overthinking blogging and what I was doing, but instead just wrote about what I felt like at the time. This resulted in me writing content that I was excited to share every single day of the week, for a full month! It took some time as I had a few loose ends to tie up, but for the last month, I can say that I have blogged with all of my heart. I stopped actively seeking out campaign work and just focused on writing about the things that bring my family and I joy and honestly, it has been the most freeing experience and has resulted in me reclaiming my space but also affording me some incredible opportunities.
As much as it is not about the numbers, I do realize that my passion reflects in my writing which means more people engage with my content. It’s crazy – the traffic that I would usually receive in a good month, is now my weekly traffic – like how!? It sort of gives me anxiety knowing that so many of you are reading my words but it makes my heart so unbelievably happy when I read your comments and can see that you actually enjoyed my blog post.
I have also been spending a great deal of time working on my blog photography. It’s one of the things that I lack and always fail at but I have enjoyed taking the time to try to get better at it. Before we had kids, I bought myself a camera with my first bonus and would drive to the beach, while D was at work, to take photos of the sunset or cars passing by. I am by no means a professional photographer – lol, quite the opposite – but with an OCD personality, photography is one of the few creative outlets (other than writing) that brings me great peace. Sadly, I ended up having to sell my camera when things were rough, so have been using my phone for photos ever since which just isn’t the same. Amazingly, my best friend is kindly gifting me her Nikon for me to work at my photography and honestly, I just can’t wait!
And that brings me to my next point; friends. I have a few online friends but there are 2 special ladies who check in, every single day. No matter how rough their days are, they take the time to chat and support one another. I think that in the 2 years of chatting to Lydia, the best-learnt lesson is just how special and incredible it is, for someone to take their time and invest it in you – it sounds silly but think about it… nobody has time anymore. I know for certain that Lydia and Leigh have hundreds of other things going on, but here they are, rooting for one another, kicking ass, hustling side hustles upon side hustles, never letting life take them down. I love that – I love being surrounded by women who don’t sugar coat life, but are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. I know that when life gets down on me, I can send a voicenote and within minutes, I have my girls there backing me up. That’s amazing.
One of the things that was getting to me over the weekend was family – I often feel like I am missing out on something when it comes to extended family. Maybe it has something to do with the history of my biological dad and having a whole other family who I don’t know but only ever see photos of, who knows? I guess it’s that I see how they have these traditions – how they get together, support one another and flip, how much of myself I see in my cousin. And then I realize that on this side of the world, my family (my mom, dad and sister) are all in different parts of the country. Yes, we have D’s family who I am always grateful for, but there’s something special about being able to go back to your family; a comfort if you will. I miss the support system of people who get me – people who understand my quirks, people who have watched me grow up and know that my neck has been hurting for the last month because I have been kind of, sort of depressed – and that’s ok. I miss having my dad’s poitjie on a Sunday, or my mom’s breakfast muffins that I have tried so hard to recreate and while my husband claims that it’s the best thing he has ever had, I also know he has never had my mom’s. I miss home but realize that we’ve never really had a home, just people who make it feel like one – I miss my people and long for that familiarity.
In the same breath, I look at my husband and am just so grateful for having him. I don’t know how he handles everything with so much patience and compassion while remaining to be the funniest man on this earth (don’t tell him I said that!). I love that I can be at my lowest – crying with snot and all – and he’ll know just what to say, to make me laugh. I love that he reminds me never to take myself too seriously and that no matter whether it is work, blogging or some petty thing that is bothering me; he has my back.
And then, there are my boys. I just really need time to slow down. While I write this, I have Eli curled up next to me, while Axl runs from the lounge with his “black-doo” (Sheever, our dog) chasing and biting his bum. I feel like Eli is so ready to grow up – he holds my hands and tries pulling himself up, he loves standing on my lap and has a smile that lights up the whole world. And then there’s Axl, whose imagination has just developed, seemingly overnight. We can go from being Power Rangers, to being an astronaut, to a dog and then Spiderman. He has been such a delight, as we watch him explore the world (while challenging me whenever he can!)
We’re in the midst of making a decision on whether to move, or to travel. Darren hasn’t really had the chance to travel much, whereas I got to see a lot of South Africa. My dad always said to me, how can you want to travel the world when you haven’t even seen your home? So, every few months, we’d set out to explore a new part of South Africa. D and I have considered taking the kids abroad, but we want them to both be able to remember our international travels, so for now, we are thinking of staying local and going to nearby towns and cities. We’re based in PE – so where should I first stop be? We’ve done Grahamstown, Port Alfred, Wilderness and Cape Town.
And that brings me to the end of my post. Right now, I feel abundantly blessed. I love that I can look back and realize just how far we’ve come. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere, but I am learning that even when it doesn’t seem like it – every day, is a step forward and a step closer to achieving our goals.
Update: The irony of this post is that I wrote it on Sunday, and on Monday, everything changed; D has been ill for the last year – yes, a full year – but for the last 2 months, his stomach has been bothering him until on Monday, it got to the point that he could no longer handle the pain and went to casualty. They have sent him for an emergency sonar, which took place this morning and we are currently awaiting the results to find out if it is stomach/colon cancer. I wasn’t going to bother posting this because I feel like life has robbed me of that peace and happiness that I felt on Monday, and yet again we are seeing too many doctors and getting no answers – yet again, we face these challenges that seem to have no end. I am so tired of hearing how strong I am because right now, I don’t feel very strong – I am a blubbering mess, filled with anxiety and worries over the future. I am doing work and going on with my day because that is all I know, but I keep finding myself in tears thinking of the what if’s.