Can we be less insensitive?

I shared something on my social media page that made me realise that it is very easy to forget to be sensitive, especially during these times we are presently living in. COVID-19 has some people working from home and others are just at home practising social distancing, but they are not working. It is very tempting to think that everyone, all of a sudden, found themselves with time on their hands and as such, they must come out of this with something meaningful, a new skill, a business, etc. The post below is what I shared without thinking about the many people who may not be having the same reality right now:

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I have seen a lot of posts like this one in the past weeks and while the message is meant to be encouraging, it may also be really insensitive to others. I thank God for friends who call me out every time I say something that is completely off or insensitive. It did not take too long for my best friend to send me a message saying that the post is too harsh. He reminded me to think about the many people who are going through so much right now that the last thing on their mind is starting a side hustle or beginning a new course. At the time, I got defensive and responded that I am not the person who wrote the post, but I later realised that by sharing it, I may have shown that I subscribe to the message. Subconsciously, I had agreed with the sentiment without giving it much thought.

Another good friend saw the post and wrote to me that there are many people, particularly in Wuhan, where he is based and where the virus began, who are struggling with mental health issues at the moment. Some are thousands of miles from their families and cannot go home. Those in high-risk areas such as Wuhan, Milan or New York cannot even think about being productive at this time because they are dealing with deaths every single day. My friend warned against the dangers of a single story, the assumption that we have all been blessed with plenty of time and energy to do those things we were always putting off prior to this. While this may be true for some, it is definitely not the case for everyone. Knowledge is power!!

They say 'Knowledge Is Power.' But, more powerful than knowledge ...

May we be more sensitive when we post during this period. What we think may be good advice to get through the lockdown in our respective countries and/or lives may not apply to everyone. Consider also that some people have lost their only source of income and they may not even see a tomorrow at the moment.  I am ashamed to admit that I was insensitive, but I have learnt my lesson and will do better from this point on.

What about you? What do you think about the messages that people should start a side-hustle, new course or learn a new skill? What other lessons are you learning in this season? Let’s share below, I always enjoy hearing from you.

Stay safe and be mindful.

GG

Doing life during Covid19 times

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Okay, the world is panicking. Things are not as they used to be. I have read so many posts about the coronavirus and all news outlets are discussing the pandemic such that it cannot be ignored. I have been practising self-isolation since my university closed last week Monday. I am working from home on some days and minimising outdoor activity. All the people in my household are taking precautionary measures and trying to do the right thing. I was not happy to have narrowly escaped the outbreak in Hong Kong, only for it to show up in South Africa as well. Such is the rate of its spread in the last few months, so rapid and mostly because some people just would not stop travelling internationally.

These are such strange times that have made me wonder about the future. I have never experienced this level of anxiety before. I am usually one to make plans for my future. Does it even make sense right now? I don’t even know what next week will be like, talk of next month. Nothing is certain and this is definitely a scary time. What are we doing? Are we living life one day at a time? Does it make any sense to plan ahead?

I have spent a lot of time sleeping, even more than usual. I am trying to catch up on the books I am supposed to read this year. According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020,  I am not doing so great with that. I have only completed one book so far and I really should take this self-isolation time to finish all the books I am reading. I am currently reading a couple of books at the same time which is a problem. I am trying to complete one before starting another.

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Spiritually, I have joined other Christians who are praying Psalms 91.  It is basically a prayer for protection that gives believers hope that we will be safe from the pestilence and the plague. However, this should not be done without taking practical steps to stay safe from infection, such as practising good hygiene and social distancing. We, however, have to remain vigilant in prayer and trust in God, our refuge and fortress. It is very disheartening to see some people who believe that all the deaths from this virus are glorifying God. I don’t agree!! God does not take pleasure in watching humanity suffer. He would want to see us all saved and healthy and free. It is funny how some people only want to remember God’s sovereignty when things go wrong and blame Him for “killing thousands of people”. Now he is acknowledged as being in control yet most other times, unbelievers say He does not exist. Please pick a side!

I sincerely hope we see an end to this which is not too tragic, and soon. I cannot say the same for Italy right now as the death toll continues to rise every day. I hope African countries manage to contain the virus, although there is not much hope considering our health care systems that are not up to par.

What part of the world are you in? How are you dealing with Covid19 in your country? Are you making plans? How has your life changed since the outbreak?

You take nothing with you when you die.

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I attended my aunt’s funeral last week and as I reflected on her death, I realised that there are key lessons that could be learned from her passing. I do hope that as I share the lessons that I took from losing a loved one, someone reading this may also relate. Here are the key things I have learned:

You take nothing with you when you die

We are often so consumed with amassing wealth and material possessions. Death is the perfect reminder that none of those things matter the way we think they do. When you die, you will go with the one outfit and nothing else. It made me wonder what the point is to our existence. I was sad to realise that our time on this side of heaven is nothing but a short stay in which we must make sure we live purposefully, otherwise what else is there? Does this mean we stop buying clothes and other material things because when we die we leave with nothing? In my reflection and after reading for the umpteenth time, the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, I concluded that we must be content with less. Our aim should not be in gathering material possessions but should be on building relationships and leaving a legacy worth remembering. There are more important things than having the latest clothes, bags, cars, etc.

Make your life make sense while you still have the chance

Death makes life seem meaningless. I had so many questions and I honestly wondered about my whole existence. What is the point? Are we born to suffer for a couple of decades (if we’re lucky) and then die? The moments of joy are so fleeting while the pain and suffering seem endless. As I reflected, I thought life does make sense if you live with purpose. You have to find your purpose and the joy will follow. Often, we live one day at a time, merely existing and going with the flow. When you think about dying and leaving it all, you will realise that every second of your life counts and you must make it count. What does this mean? It means that every single day must be lived as if it were the last day. It means not spending too much time wallowing in misery and negative feelings because you only have that one life to live. It means forgiving quickly because tomorrow is not promised. It means taking those chances and using up all the resources inside of us while we still can. The time is now.

All roads lead back to God

My aunt’s death also made me realise that all roads lead back to God. At least for me. The confusion, the search for meaning and purpose…it is only God who can help us make sense of it. Without faith, there would be a void and I am even worried to contemplate what my life will be like without it. The Lord is my source of comfort and my refuge when the world makes no sense.

What about you? What event made you sit back and reflect on the meaning of life?

Your health is your wealth

Being healthy is always something we take for granted until someone we know or we ourselves fall sick. With the coronavirus scare and the chaos that ensued in China after the outbreak, I felt grateful that I got out of Hong Kong in time. I arrived in South Africa with no trace of illness and besides the usual fatigue, weather and food adjustment related discomfort, I felt fine.

This week marks four weeks since I arrived and it has has been rough on my body.  I am writing this so that I can reflect on the importance of living a healthy life and not consciously doing things that will make me ill. I realised that a stressful environment is a breeding ground for illness.  Mental strain can manifest as physical pain. It is not uncommon to develop a headache from stress or even abdominal pains. I found myself seeking health services after two days of excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. I self-diagnosed initially relying on doctor google, but when the pain didn’t go away I made the wise decision to consult a doctor. The doctor confirmed that I had developed physical symptoms as a result of stress and there was nothing wrong with my abdomen itself. 

This is what I learnt from this short episode:

Stress is not good for the human body.

There are some habits that we take for granted that expose our bodies to the risk of illness. It can be something as simple as not sleeping well, overworking or overthinking. I am guilty of all three and when I started to feel weird pains in my body, I had to take stock. I have been stressed out with all the administrative tasks required to process my critical skills visa. The strain began affecting my health to the point that I had to consult a doctor.

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I am not useful to anyone when I am sick

I love to work and I use up as many hours of the day as I can writing or doing something that is mentally stimulating. However, I have to admit that I don’t take care of my physical health very well. I don’t work out, take walks or do much physical activity. You could actually describe me as a very lazy person.

I realise now that me not taking care of my physical health is not useful to me or to the people I work for. A healthy me means that I will be more alert and efficient. Needing two days off work because of my health has not benefited anyone.

A healthy physical body = a healthy mental state

When I was in pain, my mind was preoccupied with the pain and the more pain I felt, the more stressed out I became. Being physical ill did nothing for my mental health, it actually made it worse because I was more anxious than most days.

I have made a vow to myself this week to love myself enough to take care of my body. I will watch what I feed myself and what I drink. I will go to sleep when I am tired because being sick is really not worth it. My health is my wealth because I am not worth anything to anyone if I am a hospital bed or worse. 

Stay happy and healthy 😊

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Failure to adult…it is one of those days.

Today I woke up feeling all of my 34 years of age. I just could not do this adulting thing because I was feeling the full weight of it. I was feeling all kinds of different emotions, maybe it is adulting or PMS or both. All I know is that I was not feeling fine, had zero motivation for work and I just did not want to engage.

But, I managed to remind myself that a bad day does not mean a bad life.

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Now that the day is almost over, here I am still wishing:

…it was Friday already.

…I could have a full day or weekend off.

…I could have days to relax and not have to worry about all the things I have to do.

I prayed more than usual today because I know that worry is not from God. I went to God and cast all my cares onto Him. My faith was being tested for a few hours, but I remembered that God never promised us perfect days in which everything flows without stress, but He did promise that He will never leave or forsake me. I held on for dear life to that promise.

What kind of day are you having? How do you deal with a bad day?

He doesn’t ask for much, just obedience

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God is good and He wants to give us good things. I experience Him as that Father who finds it hard to say no to his little girl, no matter how big the ask is. As I grow older and continue my walk with Christ, I question my motives in asking God to grant me some of my desires. Am I asking for something that will please me and not glorify Him? Am I living in obedience to Him and His will or I am simply asking because I want those things. He is so faithful that He will listen to us whenever we go to him, but like David, we should be able to stop and say

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Psalms 139:23a

The lesson for me today is to stop and question my motives. By going to God and asking for Him to help me deal with my issues, I ask myself if I am living right? Have I been obeying Him and following His word? I know that God does not give according to our actions, otherwise, I would not deserve anything due to my constant sin. God gives according to His grace and mercy towards us. But, are we the kind of people who are satisfied to simply ask and never give anything in return?

1 John 2: 3-5 says:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

What this does for me is that it takes the focus away from the need I had to Him who made me and loves me with the greatest love. He already knows all my needs, so if I shift the focus to loving on Him, my joy is restored and I trust that He is handling all things on my behalf ❤️

The big and life-changing moves I’ve had…

If you have been following this blog you will know that for the past ten or so years, my life has been a series of big moves. I feel like I have been living in my suitcase and living a semi-nomadic life which has affected my social life. Just to give a brief history (because context is key) 2005 saw me moving from my home country, Zimbabwe to pursue my undergraduate studies in neighbouring South Africa. My early adulthood years were more stable than the later years because I managed to live in South Africa for 9 years after that, which made it my second home. South Africa became the place I experienced most of my early adult traumas and achievements. But, in 2014, the wanderlust and ambition kicked in and I moved to the Republic of Ireland. If you are interested in reading more about that particular move, you can read this post right HERE.

I did not stay for too long in Ireland because my Masters’ program was a year long. I decided to move back to Zimbabwe in October 2015 for a brief period. I knew that going to Zimbabwe would only be a temporary move because life in my country has not been the same since I left. Anyway, I quickly sought opportunities to leave again and by God’s grace, I was out of Zimbabwe in July 2016 on my way to Hong Kong. Now, this was a drastic move because not only had I never been to Asia, I was also going to begin my PhD studies (in a foreign land, where I did not know a single soul or speak the language). Yes, that is the story of my adventurous life.  I stayed in Hong Kong for three years as some of you may know, and at the beginning of 2020, I made another bold move back to my second home, South Africa.

Someone would wonder why I have moved around so much and not settled in one place. Well, the answer to that is that I am a seeker. I love finding opportunities and seeking out new experiences. I don’t believe in staying in a comfort zone just because it is familiar.

I move also because I am not a tree, but even trees extend their roots underneath the soil and connect to new sources of nutrition.

I go where I find opportunities, I don’t just move. My current move comes with a career opportunity which I am very grateful for. After completing the PhD, I fell into a bit of a slump because I had no idea what the future held. But thank God that He always knows my future and He was already paving a way for me to be where I am now.

So, as I write this, I am in Johannesburg, South Africa where I plan to stay for a while. Before I left South Africa in 2014, I lived in Cape Town, so Johannesburg is a new experience for me.  My previous moves were all for academic reasons. Now that I am done studying 👩🏽‍🎓, maybe this is the place I will finally call home?  Well, we will just have to wait and see. I do hope that I will not be making another big move anytime soon because I recently developed an unhealthy fear of aeroplanes since the Ethiopian airlines crash last year. If I can help it, I would want to be on solid ground for a while.

Johannesburg is great so far, I am experiencing it as a place filled with new possibilities and new challenges. I don’t have any friends here so I am looking forward to making new ones. I have already started using up my social networks to meet new people and it is going great so far. I also have family living in Johannesburg, so settling in is going smoothly. I will take my time to get settled and find my place in this fast-paced city.  I am excited to include a new category on my blog about living in Johannesburg, so I hope that will be fun.  I know a lot of people have heard stories about Joburg being rife with crime and xenophobia, but I hope that I will be able to integrate into this society. I don’t speak Zulu or Sipedi, but I can understand enough to have a conversation (with me answering in English of course)☺️.

I leave you with a recent picture of me in Johannesburg because your girl has already started exploring the city.