Thoughts on my run: how I survived #Januworry

#Januworry is over and it’s a new month. Phew.

I knew when I left Standard Bank last year in November that we were entering into a really difficult phase for most businesses. Starting my own small business was risky. Diving into the rush of December, followed by the deathly quiet and stretched out January, my chances of finding work and clients were said to be slim.

I didn’t have any expectations, but it didn’t stop me from hustling as hard as I could. With my business card in hand, I visited the retailers in my ‘hood. I networked via social media and sipped over 100 cups of chai latte, meeting prospective clients and others like me who have also made the jump into entrepreneurship.

Emma watching me at work in my office.

It’s comforting to talk about my journey and reinforce my vision with as many people as I can. I have found other entrepreneurs incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Compared to the corporate culture I left behind, other small business owners go out of their way to help me be successful.

If I could sprinkle just a handful of this dust into the team I left behind, what an amazing difference that would make.

But I’ve moved on and survived.

Every day has been wonderful. Every day has felt new. Every day has come with its own challenges. But it’s been difficult. Difficult like you have no idea! It’s been exhausting. I’ve been thrown miles out of my comfort zone. The fear has been crippling. But strange enough, there was hidden confidence inside me I didn’t think existed.

I survived. And hey, look, it’s February.

I have two clients on my book who have trusted me to manage their social media accounts. I have consulted on a huge project and I have sat in as an advisory on interviews for a social media role in the mining industry – ironically where I started out 20 years ago. I have an inbox full of proposals awaiting replies. What a ride it’s been. My head wants to explode because my heart already has.

My 5 weeks counting down to Christmas

It’s been long…

It’s nearing x5 weeks since KK left for a business trip to Perth. Five weeks is the longest we’ve been apart.

It’s happened only once before when he worked on a project up in Tanzania. When he returned, I scored a pair of tanzanite earrings and decided we needed a dog, which explains how Annie came into our lives.

But this round has been tough.

The pool pump gave in on Sunday night. After weeks of nursing the clear blue water, fishing out leaves with the net, brushing the walls, keeping the water levels up, emptying the little basket (which at first I couldn’t find), the pump suddenly broke.

Water streamed into the neighbours yard and down my cheeks. It was the Christmas cherry on the top.

I’ve been bravely tackling issues on my own.

  • Opening up a business bank account and reading all the small print. KK is good at this.
  • Ensuring the washing is done each week and taking out the rubbish bin on Mondays. These are KK’s chores which I kept forgetting to do. Washing piles up quicker than I thought.
  • Taking Emma to the Vet and finding out that she has a heart murmur.
  • Putting up all the Christmas decorations around the house. It sounded like a good idea when I started.
  • Seeing new clients for my new business and not having him to sense check my sales pitch beforehand.

While the above list may sound petty, I realised just how much KK does around the house. How much I rely on him.

I take him for granted.

Lying on the couch. I’ve done a lot of this. Crochet, movies, books. It was fun the first few weeks.

Then there are other little things that I’ve noticed:

  • I didn’t know where KK keeps all our important documents, such as my green ID book which I needed to open up the bank account.
  • I don’t have a side gate key so couldn’t take the dustbin out on dustbin day.
  • I thought the store was going to swallow me up. There is so much crap in there! What the hell are we keeping?
  • I’ve never done a backwash of the swimming pool. Ever! In fact, one thing I’ve learnt is that I know very little about pool maintenance.
  • When we had load shedding, I discovered (in the dark) that the little camping light next to my bed doesn’t work.
  • If I go for an afternoon run, there isn’t anyone checking to make sure I get back safely. (I do message my mom but I think it freaks her out waiting for my return).

He couldn’t come home soon enough, especially since I haven’t had a good nights sleep in weeks.

The whole “cooking for one” is a constant reminder that I’m alone. I’ve developed nasty cabin fever. And it’s actually not fun suntanning next to the pool by myself.

burnt pizza

I’ve been eating way too many pizzas. Damn Woolies has these on special. I added the bacon in case you’re wondering. And yes, I burnt it.

I have a greater sense of gratitude for all he does and how he looks after me at home. I also have new found respect for people who live on their own. I talk to myself now. Do you?

Christmas decorations on a dog

I did have some help putting up the decorations. Thanks Emma!

I miss the company. I miss the routine. I miss KK. I want things back to normal.

But it’s been a good five weeks to teach me that things will go wrong, but I can handle it. It’s taught me to pick up the phone (actually WhatsApp) and ask for help. And most of all, I’ve learnt to be a little independent and trust myself for a change.

The biggest Christmas present will be fetching him from the airport on the weekend! I cannot wait!

Running through my Winter…

1. After being brave for so long, we made the decision to put Annie down before she suffered. It radically changed our relationship with Emma. Not a day goes by without us thinking of Little Annie Panks. | 2. I joined a bunch of friends walking dogs at a dog shelter. It was hard work but so rewarding. | 3. We went away with friends to Parys. A weekend of park run, long lunches, popcorn, 30 Seconds and wine. | 4. All CW-X stock is on sale & we managed to sell most of the average sizes. | 5. I started to crochet! It’s fantastic to zone out & detox from devices. | 6. KK and I attended an Enneagram course. Turns out we’re both perfectionist but I avoid conflict. I just want harmony. Funny that. | 7. Another weekend away to the ‘Berg. Good for the soul but boy did it get cold! | 8. Getting artsy fartsy and visiting the Standard Bank gallery. | 9. KK and I ran Old Eds. The running bug has bitten! We’re back!

With so many wonderful memories, I must admit that the signs of Spring could not have come at a better time. That welcoming feeling of warmth, renewal and fresh beginnings. Exactly what I needed most!

Keeping my hands busy

I recently took up crochet. Besides recognizing the joy it was bringing to my circle of friends, I was keen to learn a new skill. My coloring books were gathering dust and I was picking up in conversations that crochet was becoming quite trendy.

What? Was this old-fashioned hobby making a comeback?

As a newbie, I was advised to start at the wool shop at Northlands Deco Park where “everyone goes.” They were right, the place was a hive of activity! People were scanning through books of both knitting and crochet patterns laid out on a table. Squeals were heard when a new delightful wool was discovered. Others hovered at the shelves as if they were in a library choosing a new book to read.

I strolled through the many layers of coloured balls of wool shelves along the wall. Stroking. Squeezing. Brushing my fingers lightly over the knitting needles like a feather. Acting like I knew exactly what I was looking for. Crochet hooks of different styles and sizes hung on the wall. OMG, where do I even start?

After mustering up enough courage to ask for assistance and revealing that I was a total newbie to this world, I walked out the shop with a crochet hook and x9 balls of wool, smiling.

I couldn’t contain my excitement!

Crochet is one of the easiest hobbies to grasp. With a basic understanding of the simplest of stitch I started crocheting a large square to finally stitch together a lap blanket.

The wool looks pretty but is a pain to work with!

If only my Granny could see me now!

Here’s what my new hobby has taught me:

  • My hands are too busy to hold my phone. This is the biggest plus! For a change, crochet allows me to take a break from social media. Everybody needs to do this.
  • You listen to TV shows, rather than watching. I find it almost impossible to look away when I’m crocheting meaning I can’t watch TV at the same time. Some shows can be listened to, like Will & Grace, others not. Good Girls needed my full attention.
  • I bought wool that was on sale. I realize now just why it was on sale. It’s fluffy, hard to work with. Grrr! Hobbies take time and practice to hone the skill. You don’t get it right the first time. Lessons learnt.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that, just like running, you have to make time to do it. If it’s 10 minutes while supper cooks or being the passenger in the car on a trip. I’ve also set aside time on weekends to just sit and crochet. No disturbances.

With so much else going on, and with so much I want to do – reading, running, walking Emma – prioritizing my time and what I spend it on has been an eye opener for me.

Crochet makes me look down and zone out. It’s actually quite similar to running in fact. But less sweaty. 🙂

My very first square done!

Okay, hands up! Who wants a crochet blanket for Christmas?