7 lessons on living a good life as told by me, the Librarian

I studied Library Science and working in a public library was my first job which set me up for my working life (Read my other blog post about this – it’s my highest read post!) I often look back on those days and remember with fondness all the activities which kept me busy.

As a team of librarians, we didn’t just stamp books and ask people to be quiet. There were lessons in every thing we did back then which make complete sense to me now.

1. Seek silence

I can still remember the music streaming throughout the library floor during the day as people strolled around. Sometimes it was classical but my personal favorite was the soundtrack to “On Golden Pond”. People walked in rushed, but their pace and body language changed after a few minutes as they made their way through the maze of shelves. In a world which has gone mad, you need to find your own peace and quiet, a place to zone out. With so much noise and anger, especially on social media, make time to go offline and find silence in the real world.

2. Be organized and neat

Believe it or not, these were still around when I worked in the Library!

Before we opened the doors at 9am each day, the team of librarians made sure the library was clean and organized. We would sit in front of the books in a straight line and make sure that each and every book was in its place, exactly where it should be. You’d always find the odd lost fiction book, where someone had randomly shoved it between other books. Non-fiction was particularly important in making sure the Dewey Decimal system was adhered to. This habit has stuck with me & to this day, has helped me find the order and structure I need at work to be efficient.

3. Make time for tea, always

Working for the Council meant that we followed typical old school working hours. Stopping for tea was the norm back then. We’d even have a tea room where we would sit, relax and sometimes even read for 15 minutes. I miss those days. Switching off and taking a break felt like a mini reward. But now, we’re stuck in this “busyness hype” where we eat at our desk over our laptops and if you do stop to catch your breath, it’s frowned upon. There’s nothing wrong with pausing & catching your breath. In fact, it’s a habit we really should practice more often.

4. Forgive and forget

Returning the library books before the due date was tough for some people. And I get that. Life happens. The same faces would return their books late and have to pay a fine. But once they did, all was forgiven and they’d choose a whole new set of books to leave with. You knew you’d hear the same excuses when they were late again, but it didn’t matter. Forgive and forget. It’s a good attitude to have. Rather allow people to enjoy the books than focus on the punishment. Which one mattered more?

Who remembers this? WOW!

5. Be known for the things you love

The kids from the nearby schools would run into the library to do their homework every afternoon. Helping them find info on topics such as Egypt’s pyramids or the human body was always fun. But so too when you’d assist someone who had started a new hobby to find every book they could to read up on. I knew exactly where to find the info they were looking for, often without having to check on the system. If you’re passionate about what you do, you become the expert and can help people find what they need. No matter what job you’re in, there’s no greater satisfaction than this!

6. Get excited by the small things, because they matter

One of the best days working in the library was month end when the new books would arrive! We had the advantage of unpacking them and booking the ones we wanted to read first. The smell of those boxes, of the fresh, new books and being the first person to turn those pages… pure delight! You need to invest in your own happiness and know what brings you joy. It’s so important to seek out and anticipate these special moments! Find them!

7. Trust

The whole library system is built on trust. People register to join the library and then each week, get the opportunity to leave the building with a handful of books, promising to return them. And they do! (well, majority of people). How crazy that in a world riddled with crime and corruption, the library works on a system based entirely on trust. It’s a system still respected by society.

Do libraries still exist in communities and suburbs? I haven’t been to one in years! When last did you visit your nearest library or bookshop? Next time you do, remember a few of these lessons.

Credit: Images sourced from Google

That time of year again

The change in season is never more evident than when we return home from our Easter holiday. The yearly trek down to Cape Town to run the Two Oceans is the first time I’m packing in warmer jackets and closed shoes, knowing that evenings are a lot cooler. And by the time we fly home, everything is suddenly duller. There’s a fresh chill in the air, the sun sets earlier and unless you head out for your afternoon run before 17:30, you can forget about finishing in the light.

Brenaissance

Wine and pizza pairing at the Brenaissance Wine Farm on the day we landed. I was already feeling chilly & whipped out my puffer.

We did manage to soak up a few rays down in Cape Town. Truth be told, we must be getting older because we preferred to lie around at the pool at the hotel instead of heading down to Clifton 4th beach.

12apostlespool

Calm & relaxing. Only realized that my toenails are painted blue by pure coincidence – Thank you Monika & Lemonade.

KK gets terrible cabin fever and so we decided one morning to hike up the mountain. It wasn’t as easy as we thought. The fires had destroyed a lot of the vegetation and so the path wasn’t visible. It turned into quite a serious hike, right up KK’s alley! But the views from the top were amazing!

I was left with mixed feelings about Cape Town’s drought situation. There’s definitely awareness of it up in Jo’burg and we packed in wet wipes, expecting the worst. But I didn’t get a sense of the seriousness whilst down in Cape Town. The hotel only had a few signs around, but no clear instructions on what I was expected to do with the water in the bucket after I had showered.

The concierge claimed it wasn’t an issue and would only hit Cape Town in 2019. The toilets at the V&A Waterfront had a small sticker above the loo saying, “This toilet uses grey water.” So does that mean I flush after my wee or not?

The great thing about holidays in Cape Town are definitely the late sunsets! It was 19:00 and the sun was just setting over the ocean. It was refreshing to stop and take it in. We also scored with no wind this year! The wind and I are not big friends and that nasty South Easter can upset my entire day.

cape town sunsets

I must confess that I did have two chocolate croissants, one after the other, at breakfast on our last morning in Cape Town. It was glorious! I had been very good the entire weekend – no wine, lots of protein, zero Easter eggs (liar) and a salad here & there for lunch. But coming back to Jo’burg, I have a new mindset & have reset my goals:

  1. Running: I will be relooking my running goals. I’m already eyeing RAC 10km in May. But for now, I am hoping for more runs, less mileage. Going for regular 4km runs after work (before that Winter sun sets) instead of thinking that I need to run 10s and 21s all the time. That will come, but not for now.
  2. Weight: Call it “the 40s midlife crisis” or blame it on my running injury excuses, but something has gone seriously wrong in my head & I have lost control over food. Sounds quite dramatic, I know! I’ve been to see another dietician. I’ll save it for another blog post, but while eating Pronutro and rice cakes works amazingly for some, it didn’t for me. So I found someone who is Banting / LCHF / Keto / Plant based pro. My gut feel is that this way of eating suits me. It’s worked before. It’s my head I need to fix first.

There’s another long weekend coming up at the end of April and then we have that long stretch into Winter. Chilly, dark morning runs. Battling the traffic to get home from work early enough to run. The streets lined with an array of beautiful hues of brown and orange leaves that crunch under your feet. I’m ready for you Winter.

 

Runners FOMO

Both KK and I pulled out of the Two Oceans road race this year. KK’s fractured femur is still healing & I had not trained enough to be sure that my ankle would make 3 hours out on the road after my December injury.

In the two days running up to the race, our social media feeds were flooded with angry and frustrated runners who had been sorely let down at race registration. Delays in number collection, queues of over 2 hours at the race expo. Definitely not what runners need a day before a long race!

As we woke up at 5:25am on Saturday morning to catch the start of the half marathon broadcast on TV, snuggled under the duvet and hearing the wind howling outside, I did think for a minute “thank goodness I’m not running this year!”

The runners started to make their way over the finish line. One by one, the tracking app showed their results, their Facebook updates showed photos of medals and joyful celebrations. The FOMO began to creep in.

Later that morning, we drove through to Cavendish to do some shopping and weaved our way through some of the back markers on the race route with just an hour to go before final cut-off. It stung! That’s usually me!

Seeing the runners making their way up University Drive, remembering first hand how their tired bodies would be screaming with exhaustion to stop, but knowing that the finish line was so very close! From that last uphill stretch, you can hear the crowds, you hear the loud speakers, you can smell victory!

My heart had climbed out of my chest and was racing with them on that hot tar! I wished it was me! I wished that I was 1km away from my Two Oceans medal. Damn!

Another year will pass and I’m still trying to find my feet and map out where my running journey will take me this year. Shorter distances? More half marathons?

Whatever I decide, that Two Oceans ballot will open in November and I won’t hesitate. My love hate relationship with Two Oceans is bipolar. Some years I hate the race, other times I fall in love. This year I missed it and feel I need to come back and experience it all again.

Runners FOMO is the worst!

Supporting in the right way

My ankle has taken longer than I had expected to heal. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to be ready to run Two Oceans half marathon this coming weekend but that doesn’t look realistic now.

It’s been okay when I run shorter distances but standing in the starting pen, waiting for the race to start, and then hitting the road for 3 hours, carefully dodging 16 000 other runners doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. For the first time in almost 10 years, we’ll be giving Two Oceans a miss. *FOMO alert*

I’ve been doing my rehab exercises and taking extra care of my foot in general. I’m fully aware that an injury and pulmonary embolism doesn’t just heal overnight – the daily blood thinners remind me of the nasty ordeal.

One small way I’m giving back to my ankle is by wearing comfy, supportive shoes. I can’t believe the pairs of shoes in my cupboard that offer almost zero support! It’s ridiculous that women still buy such dreadful shoes!

But then, I happened to spot gorgeous sandals on Instagram and had to have them! They’re imported from Greece and kinda remind me of Birkenstocks (another one of my favorite brands).

I tracked down Maxie Moda & bought these two pairs. I couldn’t resist!

I bought both the black & tan pair. The black look fab with jeans. Photo credit: @khoslene_photography

These are my feet in the tan pair. Super comfy!

To be completely honest, I wasn’t just thinking about my ankle and a new pair of shoes. But since we’ve been running with our small business, CW-X, it’s become very important for me to support other entrepreneurs.

Just knowing how incredibly tough it is out there, to get your name established, to attract customers and make a sale. It’s hard work! So I’d rather buy from another small business and support their vision than buy yet another uncomfy sandal from Woolies with no support for my ankle.

I’m keen to look for other nuggets hidden across Jo’burg!

This is an unsponsored post and my own opinion. But I urge you to support your family & friends who are trying to grow their businesses.