A Beautiful Memory Of My Father

As I pen these words, I can almost hear him humming as he made the coffee. The smell of the cologne would perfume the entire house mixed with the aroma from the coffee. This seemed to have been his special reflective moment on most work days.

This memory came up in my Facebook feeds and I almost shed a few tears. In moments like this, I am glad that I write! I can’t imagine how many memories I would lose if I did not record them!

April 8th, 2018

Tonight, I had a cup of coffee just before dinner (which I don’t normally have in the evenings). As I sipped the coffee, I found myself thinking of my father and feeling quite amused about those little memories that pop into my mind when I least expect it. My dad always had a cup of coffee before his dinner. Every evening, he would bathe, shave, dress up nicely, put on some cologne and have a cup of coffee in the balcony alone, while my mom prepared his dinner.

As I pen these words, I can almost hear him humming as he made the coffee. The smell of the cologne would perfume the entire house mixed with the aroma from the coffee. This seemed to have been his special reflective moment on most work days. It is interesting how we (the kids) did not disturb him either! It was sort of understood by all of us, that this was his time. Looking back, I think that my dad had some aristocratic blood in him. He was quite a fine gentleman, with his own philosophy about life and played by his own rules to a large extent. He was very humble, generous… and when he dressed… he was quite a good looking gentleman too! He was sleek!

You know when you are growing up, you think that the older folks are just weird…. and it seems now that I am getting a bit weird too… funny how life works!

I am grateful for such memories. It keeps me grounded to my roots and to the memories of my parents.

Any memories to share?

How Are You Coping Working From Home?

“What happened to you Magdalene? You look so fresh today!” These were the words of one of my colleagues as we held a zoom meeting on the 2nd week of working from home. It was nice that she noticed because I started my 2nd week of working from home with the mindset that I will practice self-care, apply my make-up and dress up as though I was going to the office. This happened because the week before that, I was so busy trying to figure out how to work through new technologies that I barely had the time to comb my hair properly. By the of the first week, I was exhausted and determined not to repeat the same error!

“What happened to you Magdalene? You look so fresh today!” These were the words of one of my colleagues as we held a zoom meeting on the 2nd week of working from home. It was nice that she noticed because I started my 2nd week of working from home with the mindset that I will practice self-care, apply my make-up and dress up as though I was going to the office. This happened because the week before that, I was so busy trying to figure out how to work through new technologies that I barely had the time to comb my hair properly. By the end of the first week, I was exhausted and determined not to repeat the same error during the 2nd week.

However, even though the 2nd week started with a bang and that I did maintain a better routine, I was exhausted again at the end of the week. It was not only me – when I looked at all the faces on our zoom huddle, I thought that everyone looked like me ‘ a bit exhausted!’ Although I have worked from home sporadically over the last couple of years, I would have never imagined that working from home fulltime could leave me feeling so estranged. I can tell you that I have worked harder online than when I am at the office and we have achieved quite a lot within a short period of time. Now I am thinking that pushing ourselves with a new learning curve could be contributing to the exhaustion which we are feeling. Not only that but we are trying to focus while also listening to the devastating news of COVID-19 and also managing our families while working at home!

Under normal circumstances, I am often a bit disorganized and double book myself quite a lot. Nowadays, I am guilty of leaving one online conversation for another and sometimes leaving a conversation unfinished or getting notifications from Zoom that ‘I cannot enter another meeting because I am currently in a meeting.” Working from home seem to look easy on the outside but it needs to be managed. We can buy into the fantasy that we could do more since we are at home but it is important to weigh the pros and cons. Now I have so much more appreciation for my rushed ride to the office in the morning. As rushed as it often is, I miss the familiarity of it and I even miss the traffic! I miss that ‘thinking time’ on the drive to work as much as I miss the idle chats and little stories which are shared from the time I open the door of the office until I leave in the late evening. I miss hearing footsteps and knocks on my office door and the unexpected things which would come about in the day. I miss having the options of choosing where to go, what to eat (apart from my own cooking) or what to do after work!

I know for sure that the social connections with other human beings is important to me and I also get energized by the physical interaction with people.

As I work from home, I realize that being online constantly can be exhausting. My goals this week are to pace myself better, give myself more breaks and manage my online interactions so that I don’t feel guilty for leaving others in the middle of a Facebook or LinkedIn conversation because there is another zoom meeting. I want to practice better self-care and get into a routine which is supporting this new lifestyle. This means learning when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’ to the many opportunities which has sprung online. I must remember that there are still 24 hours in a day and I am in charge of how I chose to spend these 24 hours.

Today, I also found myself gently inviting my spirit to bring forth memories that will make me feel better as I think about the future. My garden came to mind and I cannot wait to start digging the earth and become immersed in all the abundance of energy that it will give to me. Thank goodness that Spring is here and that the sunshine will be warmer and the evening light will stay on longer. I know that by keeping my mind in a positive future state is one way that I can get through COVID-19 by following the rules of physical distancing and staying home.

What has been your experience of working from home? Please share so that we can all learn now to cope with this new normal!

Love,

Magdalene

Who Inspires You To Be More Of Who You Want To Be?

She calls me Pretty. I call her Pretty too. We don’t know each other’s names but have silently admired each other for over eight years since we first saw each other periodically at the gym. I admire her gorgeous, lean, sculpted muscular body – she is the envy of every woman who works out at the gym. 8 years ago she looked aggressive and I felt intimidated by that strength and aggression she exuded. Unknown to me, she wanted to like me – calm (as she says).

I  started working out again at the gym and so we meet each other…same gym after 8 years! Now, we talk to each other. She is calm. She smiles at me and my intimidation of her melts away. She looks happy. I want to look like her – sculpted and tough! I am curious about her and asked her about life. She shares with me that she is a single mom and raised 4 boys who are all young adults now. She told me that working out regularly kept her sane in the midst her own problems. She told me that 12 years ago, she was over 200 lbs and people teased her about her weight. She left an abusive relationship 10 years ago and she decided to get in shape.  She has kept her routine for 10 years – running and doing weights 5 times a week. She models for a magazine, is a certified hairdresser and a security guard. She loves the combination of things she does and does not feel that she has to choose only one career path.

“I am pretty…” she teases herself as she looks into the mirror. “I am 49. I have to take care of myself – as I get older, I realize more and more, my health is all I have… I am pretty…” I am amused by her teasing herself. She slips on very simple but sexy clothes. When she is dressed she looks 20 years younger. She is not the typical image of “Pretty” but somehow, the way she says it, she OWNS it! She OWNS who she is.

“You are pretty too,” she teases me too. “When you work out, you get even prettier!” She has this gorgeous smile!

It is a nice exchange. As we shared our own life journeys and our impression of each other 8 years ago, we both laughed at our own judgements of each other. She looked aggressive back then because she was fighting trying to save herself and her kids. She was unaware that she left that aggressive impression on others.

It is always interesting to mw how our body language communicated our thoughts without our awareness.

I look forward to seeing her at the gym. When she runs next to me on the treadmill, I push myself harder. I realize that I have “wishy-washy” goals about weight loss and working out but I am not consistent. Pretty makes me think of being consistent and keeping at something, even when I don’t feel like it. We laugh at each other when we both arrive at the gym and express how we did not feel like coming. She says “I come because I know I will feel prettier when I am finished.”

Everyday she reminds me that I look prettier after my workout. She looks prettier too. Exercise has that calming effect on our bodies….I feel prettier!

Maybe one day we will get to know each other’s names. For now, just thinking of myself and her as Pretty, pretty much does it for me.

Who inspires you to reach for more of what you want to be in your life? Sometimes, our heroes are the ordinary people in our midst.

TuneIn to see the support system  that you attract  to yourself. StepUp to be a support for someone who needs you.

Love,
Magdalene