Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

By Nicola Hansford

Every person experienced high school differently, so no one can prepare you for your high school reunion. However, there are things that are inevitable and things we can make sure of.

I don’t think anyone particularly enjoyed high school. The nerds wanted to be the cool kids and the cool kids had to worry about hiding their insecurities every day. The normal kids would have sold their family to be abnormal… It was a vicious cycle and tough on everyone. Now we have been invited back for the reunion and, as human beings, there is nothing we hate more than the unknown. But will it really be any different than it was in high school? You would be surprised. 

We were all trying to find ourselves, stealing other people’s identities and making them our own (I could say the same for boyfriends), all trying to fit in to this pond they called high school. No matter whom you were, you wanted everyone to like you, who you were kissing, and what you were wearing, in reversed order. Going back to the pond is a daunting thought, but if we had to break it down we can see it might not be that scary at all. This is how it pans out in my mind…

The Cool Cats. This will be the group you notice first as you walk in to your school hall. They will probably be slightly tipsy already, and be more friendly than you can recall. This group would include the prettiest girls and the hottest guys in your year. It would be safe to say that the majority of the men will now be balding and sporting a sexy beer boep, while the girls will be wearing their teenage miniskirts and tops that will reveal how many times they have been in the sun over the past ten years, as well as how many children they have fed.

Next up, The Blackberries. These you will not recognise from a bar of soap. They will all be dressed in black, Blackberry’s firmly attached to their ears, with a look of sternness upon their masked faces. These people did come to your school; they had their heads in their books most of the time – that’s why you only recognise their hairstyles. When walking past them, try avoid eye contact, as they are probably having a very important phone call to Richard Branson or Barrack Obama. Don’t try putting in a good word for yourself after two glasses of wine.

The Norms. These are my personal favourite. They would have gone through a ‘rough’ patch at school – maybe even tried the gothic route – so try imagining them with lots of heavy eyeliner and black home-dyed hair, and you are bound to recognise them. That gothic stage was just to make sure everyone knew they could be messed up too, even though they lived with parents that attended every PTA meeting and were always part of every committee, had lots of money and adored their children. The gothic stage was all a show for us, and no one else. Scrub the black away and they will now be wearing floral summer dresses, not a hair out of place and with a face of flawless make-up. Their topic of conversation will no doubt be how many babies they have and how to entertain guests at dinner parties.

The Love-to-Hate Them. These men and women were once cheerful-eyed and bushy-tailed. They did everything there was to do at school, and, well… just to add salt to the wound… They could dance, sing, act, throw a ball, catch a ball, swim, run, jump, when I say everything I mean everything, including getting straight A’s, except for a one B+. Shame. They will still be gorgeous, still painfully likeable and genuinely interested in your boring life. They will be the perfect combination of The Blackberries and The Norms. They are simply the people you love to hate, but at the same time, can’t hate, because they are too nice.

Welcome back! Nice to know that nothing and no one has changed, except for a few wrinkles and beer bellies. High school is definitely not all Zac Efron with flawless good looks, and Vanessa Hudgens – who looks twenty-five – but is meant to be sixteen. It is a mixture of little odd-looking fish trying desperately to get through it without being noticed too much, and coming back after all these years, it is exactly the same, with a few minor adjustments.

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By Nicola Hansford

Hair done-check; flawless make up-check; outfit that makes all the good bits perky-check; control over nerves when we see him- vomit.

Every girl has the same sleepless night. It starts when the invitation arrives for your 10th high school reunion, and the reminiscing of the good old days begin, but nothing can prepare your stomach for when your mind involuntarily throws out a picture of HIM, in all his wonderful youth and glory. The cold sweats begin, and there goes your beauty sleep for the next few weeks. Nothing can prepare any girl for when they see their first love for the first time in ten years, but is it really love we feel, when we were in school dresses three sizes too big, with a breakout of pimples due to our confused hormones and braces? Really? Should we really try to rekindle the old flame?

High School sweethearts?

According to web site only 2% of high school sweethearts end up getting married and staying together. That’s not too promising, is it? Unfortunately, being women, we all believe we are different to statistics, therefore our emotions will get the better of us, so we must do what we do best – PREPARE!

After concentrating on your career for the past ten years, we forget what nutritious, healthy food is – as in, if it’s not in a microwavable dish or says ‘Ready To Eat’ on it, we don’t buy it. This has inevitably lead our body to a state that only our pets love. So, we have a month to get that sorted out, start eating at Kauai instead of KFC, and get the spiderwebs off your running shoes you’ve had since Matric. Let’s see if the shoe still fits – that will surely be a sign.

The next state to get under control is your HAIR, and I don’t mean the matted mass of odd colours on our head, I mean everywhere. Underarms should not look like a harvesting nest for small animals, and legs should not look like our brothers did in Matric. We trying to attract the opposite sex, not mimic them! Waxing is the best option for this amount of hair removal. A friendly tip: Take a mild painkiller before the appointment, and use Vaya cream (R24.95) for ingrown hairs. It is available at most grocery shops and chemists. As for the hair on your head, try washing it. That ought to do it.

Now, for the fun part: dressing up! This does not mean jeans instead of sweat pants, pumps instead of slippers or mascara instead of a blemished, tired-looking face. I’m talking about a stunning dress that pinches in at the waist, a plunging neckline, killer heels to show off our new smooth and silky, slightly toned-looking legs that we have worked so hard for. Make-up should be shimmery and natural – a light foundation, nude shimmers on the eye, with a charcoal eye-liner and black mascara, and as for the lips, just a gloss will do the trick. Gisele Bundchen, move over!

Now that we are the missing link to the supermodel world, we can face HIM with confidence and poise. Going back to an old relationship can be confusing and a war between your head and your heart, but it is up to you to be rational and think about the situation. A heart will always want what it can’t have, that is part of being a human. This needs to be thought through with a very level head, because while the heart wants what it can’t have, that does not mean it is the right thing. Your heart remains an infant its entire life and your mind the stern, but caring parent. You need to teach it what is right for you, and that even though it hurts, wanting something doesn’t mean you need it or that it’s good for you.

Your first love might be nice to think about every now and again, just like any other relationship, but, remember that it ended for a reason. It was broken, and it would take a very strong heart and mind to fix another broken heart. Having said that, we still want to feel wanted, so we have to look our best, and maybe a dinner date with him won’t do any damage. That could allow the mind to make a decision. I think the best thing to do if your heart throws a tantrum, and your mind grows a rubber arm, is to take it all slowly. That way, you will fall in love all over again, or remember why you broke up all those years ago.

We have been told throughout our lives not to repeat our mistakes and to rather learn from them, but, being women, our hearts are bigger and tend to forget with ease, so we bump our heads more often than need be. However, without those bumps there would be a swallowing grave of regret that we would have to live with. So why not give it another go? If the butterflies still make you feel like you might take off at any given moment, why not?! Another bump won’t kill you, nor will a happily ever after.

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By Claricia Coeries

Handling our demanding jobs, taking care of families, paying the bills… These can all prove to be an exhausting amount of responsibilities to stay on track with. We are always running from the one commitment to the other and often lose track of the things we actually enjoy doing. 

Life’s business gets in the way of spending time with friends, doing jigsaw puzzles, walking through a park, swimming, or reading – the things that help us relax and bring us a sense of comfort and enjoyment. Taking time to slow down and enjoy the small pleasures of life brings meaning and purpose to a busy life. Before you say: “But I just don’t have the time!”, consider the following suggestions. 

1.         Be Present. How often do you zone out in a meeting or while picking up a quick bite at a café? People pass us by, each on their own mission, each with their own problems and preoccupations. How often are you actually aware of your surroundings? Do you notice the blue sky, the wind in the trees, the overworked waitress who still serves you with a smile, the smell of a good cup of coffee, or your dog’s wagging tail when you get home? Most times we’re in such a hurry to get to the office, pick up the laundry, or get the car serviced, and small beauties go unnoticed. Be present to wherever you are. You’d be delighted to find what you’ve missed out on all this time.

2.         Re-connect with your family. Remember the times when your family would pack up a car on a Saturday morning and spend the entire day at the beach, splashing in the waves and soaking up the sun? Or the times you would round up friends, play a few board games and have a good South African braai? Can you even remember the last time you spoke to the cousin you used to visit every other weekend? Life gets busy and families drift apart. It takes hard work to keep our relationships close and personal. Getting in touch with family could bring back many pleasant memories and keep you grounded with the people you love. They’ll appreciate it.

3.         Appreciate Nature. The salty scent of the ocean, the cheerful chatter of birds welcoming spring, the warmth of the sun on your back, the beauty of the moon’s glow, the lazy sweep of tall trees as they blow in the wind… Breathing in fresh air in the early morning and feeling it spread through your lungs… This is one of the best ways to start out a busy day. Nature holds so much beauty, if we only take a moment to observe and experience it. Take a walk to a nearby park and just sit and listen to the sounds around you and feel how nature can soothe the senses.

4.         Eat slower.  A busy lifestyle almost never leaves enough time to enjoy a good, nutritious meal at leisure. Breakfast and lunch come and go in a few minutes – just enough time to gulp down two slices of toast or a pastry-pie. Food is meant to feed the body, yes, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. Why else do we have tastebuds?!  Savour the juices of a sweet red apple, feel the crunchy bits of your favourite nuts between your teeth, enjoy the aroma of a healthy, cooked meal and take time to taste every bit of what you put into your mouth. Eating slower means less indigestion, and the simple pleasure of enjoying what you eat.

5.         Listen to yourself. When was the last time you took a half hour out of your day to regroup, think, dream and consider? We can get so caught up in going from the one task to the next, keeping ourselves busy, that we lose sight of our goals. Taking time to ask yourself tough questions such as “Am I happy? Do I enjoy what I do? How can I improve my relationship with my partner? What can I improve about my character?” can help you refocus on what is important in life and where you are headed. Listen to your thoughts and musings; take time to get in touch with your inner self. 

6.         Try something new. If you always wear the same colour-scheme, always take the same route to work, always eat at the same restaurant, and always order the same drink, I dare say it’s time to try something new! The saying ‘A change is as good as a holiday’ might be overused and so clichéd, but re-ordering our routine can do wonders. Finding different ways of doing the same things over and over could bring an element of excitement as you embark on the unknown. The same can be said for trying out a new sport or hobby such as squash or photography. Trying new things keeps us mentally active and prevents us from getting ‘stuck in a rut’. Be creative and dare to do things differently! 

7.         Laugh more! There are few things that laughter cannot cure. Laughing releases endorphins throughout the entire body which immediately sets one in an amiable mood. Some people even find that seeing the funny side in every situation helps them cope better with difficult situations and brings relief from anxiety. Lourens Shlebush, author of Mind Shift:  Management and your Health writes: “Laughter and humour… lets people relax and become less inflexible and more receptive to new ideas.” Rent a good comedy film and enjoy a good laugh. Or, better yet, find what’s funny in everyday life and laugh more! It’s like a mini holiday, and will leave you feeling much better.

Childhood Memories

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Lifestyle
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By Yandiswa Vokwana

My primary school was not far from my home, so every day I remember how I used to bunk school during break time and my class teacher would always send someone to come and get me. I guess that one day I will have to go back to her and thank her for being so patient with me, because I really hated school and she was also not one of my favourite people. I remember my first day at school. I never graduated from pre-school; I just went to primary school because all of my friends were there.  Our pre-school uniform was the same as the primary school uniform, and the buildings were only separated by a small fence. Unfortunately for me, I was sent back to pre-school. I bet they didn’t know just how persistent I was. 

For the whole week, they kept on chasing me away and in the second week, they finally told me to come with my mother and I was accepted. On the first real day though, I wished I could go back to pre-school. They made Nomahamle (a monster from a tale my grandmother used to tell me) my class teacher. She was very big – big nose, big feet, big hands – and she was forever sweaty, even when it was cold. Surprisingly enough, by the end of the year I was labelled as a teacher’s pet. I guess it was because I learnt how to write my name sooner than the others, so she had nothing to complain about.

I have noticed that whenever I ask someone about their childhood memories, they immediately think of something that makes them laugh. According to clinical physchologist Dr Sinebhongo Funeka, nothing is more powerful than the memories created by a child’s experiences. The child’s memories fashion the adult’s life. Every day of adult life is touched by the memories of childhood experiences. Our greatest adult fears were created by childhood memories. Our greatest adult anxieties were produced by childhood memories. Our most negative adult views of ourselves are the product of childhood memories. Our most important adult goals have their roots in childhood memories. Our most powerful adult drives have their roots in childhood memories. Our adult attitudes, adult perspectives, adult expectations, and adult view of life are all powerfully influenced by our childhood experiences and memories.

I always tell people that there are two things in life that I would never do and that is getting married and drinking. I was raised by my grandparents, because my mother had to finish school since she had me when she was only 17 years old. Every day, I had to watch my grandfather coming home drunk and beating my grandmother. I was never able to witness marriage as a beautiful thing, and so I would not like to go through what my granny had to go through every day. 

As much as some childhood memories can be depressing, some can also help you to relax. I remember the first day that I learned that money could be used for buying sweets. At home, no one ever talked about money in front of us. Money was for grown people, until one day when my aunt from Cape Town came to visit with my two cousins. She gave each of us 50c to spend, but because I didn’t know how to use it, I gave mine to my grandmother. Later that day when we went to the shops and my cousins bought tattoos with Pokemon characters, I was so frustrated. I also wanted a Pokemon tattoo, and from that day on, I would wake up every day and ask my grandmother for 20c. Life can become very hectic when you have grown up. You lose touch of the things you used to love because you never seem to have the time.

At least when one is in varsity, one gets vacations four times a year, but when one starts working, it becomes very difficult to have breaks and just enjoy the things you used to enjoy as a child. Sakhumzi Majila*, who works for an insurance company in Port Elizabeth, admits that even though he is 24 years old and has an 8-4 job, he always makes time to watch his favourite childhood cartoon, Dragon Ball Z. “I know some people might consider it very childish for a man my age to be watching Dragon Ball Z, but every time I watch Dragon Ball Z, I feel like I have unleashed the boy in me and it sorts of relaxes me”, says Sakhumzi.  Television programmes were very interesting back then.  There was Kideo which was presented by Natasha Sutherland and Mr Chinwag (the horse), and they both taught children how to behave in the right manner. The show also featured Timothy Traddle, Molly Metronome and Pedro the music man. I used to love Timothy Traddle the Tortoise and Pedro the music man. I remember how I used to stop whatever it was that I was doing, just to come along and sing with them. There was also Galooby the Dragon, Teletubbies, and Timon and Pumbaa.

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. 
~ From the television show The Wonder Years ~

  We all need time to just go back to look for that child in us.