Goodbye twenty seventeen. Keep the change!

The narrative on WhatsApp groups and social media platforms is all focused on saying goodbye to 2017. The emphasis is on the negativity, the difficulties, how bad it’s been. Ironically it’s the same conversations we have at the end of every year. 2017 is no different.

The longing for the year to end coincides with another familiar tradition – the Instagram #2017bestnine – where your x9 most favorite, most Liked Insta images are displayed in a collage to remind you of what your highlights were during the year.


It got me thinking…

It’s easy to remember the bad times, and yes, for most people, including myself, this year was pretty damn shitty. There were too many times of illness, too many people dying and most of my days were overwhelmed by stress.

But just looking at my #2017bestnine sparked reminders of a few great moments that I’d like to cherish and hold dear for a little longer before they fade into memory.

I started writing them down:

  • We became entrepreneurs. We took the plunge and bought a small business. Both KK and I are in our 40’s with long careers in corporate, but it’s as if we’re reborn. Here’s to an abundant and successful CW-X SA in 2018!
  • We travelled to Germany on a fantastic holiday & I learnt how much family tradition means to KK. A highlight was spending time with our friends, Lisa & Shaun (and their dogs Merlot and Schnapps) in Munich. It reminded me that these are the special moments holiday memories are made of.

    Walking the dogs on a lazy afternoon in Munich. We fell in love with the place! Shaun & Lisa, we will come back! We promise!

  • My sister lost weight & started exercising. It’s so inspiring but more than that, she has control over her health. She’s a different person! She’s the one that now sends me recipes and reminds me to drink water and avoid Pringles!

    My sister’s very first Parkrun. Since then, she’s become a fan!

  • I fell in love with trail running. Reaching the top of the Drakensburg mountains on the Run-the-Berg trail run is truly a highlight of my running career. It was worth an entire blog post of its own!
  • I ran my best 10km road run in Pretoria. And when I say best, it wasn’t the time that mattered, not a PB, but rather how I felt that stuck with me. I felt strong, determined, capable. I “owned” that race!

    It was freezing & I spent the first few meters hating on everything and everybody! But I warmed up… as you do.

  • Annie made it through another year! Almost blind and managing her health day by day with the help of my mom, she still manages to provide us with many joyful moments & laughs.

    She loves to sit on my lap and listen to me talk away. She’s a great listener.

  • Another successful Two Oceans & KK’s 4th Comrades race experience is etched in memory. There’s just something addictive about those two races.

    The nerves before Comrades are something else!

  • We surrounded ourselves with healthy family and happy friends. It’s during all the difficult times that this becomes important in your life. This year, more than ever, did I appreciate knowing my family were there when I needed them. Thank you! XXX

There are so many exciting challenges on the horizon going into 2018. There will be more of the bad times, just like there were this year and years before that. But the key is balance.

I’ve promised myself that there would be more balance in my life going forward. For every hard time, more joy. For all the stress, activities of calm and relaxation. And when there’s hurt and disappointment, to be kinder to myself and others.

Parkrun taught me *this* about going into 2017

I knew how much I hated running cross country so the thought of waking up on a Saturday morning to run parkrun did not appeal to me at all. When all my running friends were clocking up parkrun milestones, I kept a low profile.

But it was the incessant nagging from another Running Junkie, Francis, which I simply could not ignore any longer and decided I’d run my first parkrun, but also to celebrate her 50th one.

And did I enjoy myself? Will I be back? In thinking of answers to these questions some things stood out for me from my parkrun experience.

Some positives and negatives which I’m calling “parkrun lessons to take into 2017“…

1. Don’t knock it ’till you try it: It wasn’t fair of me to have made up my mind about parkrun without ever having run one. Often what stops us from doing something is a preconceived idea which prevents us from giving things a chance. I’m going to take more chances in 2017 and be braver.

2. There’s always admin: If I must be honest, the whole barcode story of parkrun irritates me. With everything online nowadays, I wish parkrun had an app that would sync automatically with the likes of Strava, Garmin, Nike+ etc. to record your runs. But I guess in life, not everything is that easy. There are and will always be bloody admin; the stuff we all hate to do. Just do it!

3. Allow people to carry you when the going gets tough: A man ran to the finish line carrying his dog on his shoulders. Classic move! In chatting to him afterwards, he said the little guy got to 1km and was tired and couldn’t go on anymore. I don’t ask for help as often as I should. I carry around my stress and anxiety and don’t allow myself to acknowledge that some days, I need help. I know that I am surrounded by the most amazing family & friends who will gladly, and without hesitation, lift me up on their shoulders and carry me. Figuratively, of course! Don’t panic loved ones!

4. Push through the uphill struggles because the downhills come. Eventually: Delta Park parkrun starts with a crazy uphill but as you reach 3kms, it’s all downhill to the end. I kept hearing Coach Dave tell me this as we ran. I didn’t believe him, but when that downhill arrived, man it was glorious and I picked up my pace. When the going gets tough, be patient, the downhills will come Bron.

5. Make time to celebrate: To celebrate her 50th parkrun, Francis arrived with bottles of bubbly and cake. Dressed in her well-deserved red 50th parkrun t-shirt, it reminded me that we don’t take time to celebrate our successes anymore in life. We don’t stop to acknowledge what we’ve accomplished and we don’t reward ourselves for the hard work we put in. We need to do more of that! And we need to celebrate with our family & friends more often!

Here’s to an amazing 2017 year ahead, and yes, more parkruns!

Swapping the turkey for Chinese takeaways

A couple of years ago, I shared three Christmas survival tips. Tip number 2 was about making Christmas your own and allowing family members to celebrate in their own way. I remembered this tip when my Dad announced that this year, we would drop all tradition and get Chinese takeaways for Christmas Eve lunch. My head was saying, “WTF?!” but instead I agreed and said, “Great idea!”

In his mind, Christmas is always an exhausting day spent in the hot kitchen cooking loads of food, which is gobbled up in 10 minutes, with the remaining afternoon spent behind the kitchen sink washing dishes. He was having none of that this year! The decision had been made. Place your order, we’re buying lunch from Tong Lok!

Tong Lok menuTong Lok Chinese restaurant menu

KK was horrified and kept wondering if this was a joke. With strong German genes, Christmas Eve is very important to him. Gammon with mustard, roast potatoes followed up with rich fruit cake smothered in marzipan. Having to choose his lunch off a Tong Lok menu was not what he imagined!Front entrance to Tong Lok Chinese restaurantsoya sauce bottles

We arrived at my Dad’s place around 11 am and exchanged gifts, then headed out to the famed Derrick Avenue in Bruma. Tong Lok is not in the main drag, but rather tucked away outside the beautiful archway to Chinatown. The food didn’t take more than 25 minutes and we were already headed back home, with my Mini filled with the smells of sticky chicken and sweet and sour sauce. My mouth couldn’t stop watering!sticky chicken vegetable spring roll

The portions from Tong Lok are ginormous and as we chuckled reading our fortune cookie predictions out loud to one another, it was great to sit around the table relaxing. When we looked, it was after 3 pm and KK and I headed home.

It was everything Christmas is supposed to be about. Family, good food, laughter and spending quality time with people you love. Dad, you were right! What a great idea (and hopefully new family tradition?).

KK did get to make his gammon later that night. It was just the two of us. gammon christmas decorations

What a perfect Christmas Eve!  XXX

Celebrating Christmas traditions

Nothing exposes the differences between you & your partner quite like Christmas. How you both were raised and the family traditions you celebrated as a child is often glaringly opposite to one another. This might be a generalization, but that’s what I discovered. Here’s just a few examples:

  • KK’s family celebrate together on Christmas Eve. My family get together on Christmas Day.
  • Presents with his family get opened on Christmas Eve too. We wait until the next morning when we wake up. (I’ve always asked KK when he thought Father Christmas arrived? During supper, he tells me.)
  • KK’s family make a huge kickass gammon. I had never really eaten much gammon until I met them. As a child, all I remember was my granny’s beef and gravy.
  • In my mom’s house on Christmas Day, there’s gammon, beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, you name it. She even tried the turduken one year but we agreed never to talk about it again.
  • Growing up, we never had a Christmas tree and I never noticed it until I met KK.
  • Buying Christmas presents is also very different. KK’s family buy according to gift lists and wrap presents adorned with ribbons and name tags. My family either never bought gifts, or gave one another functional presents like PJ’s or car polish. And often, these gifts were exchanged anytime during December. KK’s is horrified if gifts get opened before the 24th.

Front entrance hall christmas table decorationsWhat’s common to both families is going to church and celebrating the real reason of why Christmas matters.

Christmas decorationsChristmas decorationsAnnie and ChristmasEmma and Father Christmas

Over the years, I’ve learnt that these family traditions are important. It’s not about changing one another or questioning why we do (or don’t do) the things we do, but rather recognizing how it brings families together and the wonderful memories everyone has.

One of our own traditions is putting up of the star on our decorated Christmas tree. Thanks KK!

One of our own traditions is putting up of the star on our decorated Christmas tree. Thanks KK!

So after reading this, is your family more like KK’s or mine. 🙂

Merry Christmas!