A WALKING REFLECTION

Self-reflection is a powerful tool for personal growth. For me, self-reflection has become an important part of my life journey and mental health. The practice allows my brain the opportunity to press pause on the hustle and bustle of life, to unravel and shift through interactions and experiences, and to consider my actions and words. By doing so, I can examine and learn from them and therefore, challenge myself to be a better person. In saying this, self-reflection is not always an easy practice.

Self-reflection can bring forth uncomfortable truths. For some, it’s your ego that helps to protect you from unwanted feelings and thoughts and keeps your fragile identity intact. It makes peeling back those layers of yourself difficult, especially if you don’t like what you find. It can feel unpleaseant and vulnerable to open yourself up for self-critism, but increasing self-awareness and achieving personal development and growth is a worthwhile goal.

I started the practice of consciously considering and analysing my actions and emotions when I began this blog. In essence, this blog is my journal where I reflect on the past week’s events and express my feelings and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, self-reflection sometimes feels like I’m beating myself up over something I said or did. But once I get over the initial feelings and look deeper into the whys and hows, I get to a point where I can begin to understand and learn. And I believe self-awareness is a gift worth giving to myself.

So… I’ll give you an example of some recent self-reflection that I did. 

On the weekend, I took the children to see their uncle at the park for a picnic for the first time since this sixth lockdown started almost two months ago. I think we’ve been under lockdown for 270 days since this pandemic began back in 2020. With easing of restrictions and because my brother lives within 10 KM of us, we were legally allowed to meet up. 

My younger brother reminds me a lot of what I was like in my younger years – a bit rash, brimming with confidence, and somewhat temperamental. He’s also incredibly fit. Remember how I wrote about him being my personal trainer for a while? Anyway, lockdown has changed him. He’s not as fit as he used to be. In fact, he suggested, like it was a great idea, for us to drive the car 100 metres down the street so that we would be nearer to the cafe where we were going to get hot drinks. He wanted to save us 100 metres from the 500 metre walk. Obviously, I told him that he was being a ninny and to walk it.  

Later when I relayed the story of my brother being so lazy that he wanted to save 100 metres of walking to my husband, he gave me a look of disbelief.

He replied with, “Who does that remind you of?”

Our 8-year-old daughter chimed in with, “You always want Daddy to park close to the shops!”

Our 4-year-old son reiterated with, “Yeah Mummy!”

Upon a bit of FORCED self-reflection, I admitted to them and myself that I probably couldn’t really laugh at my brother seeing as I do the same thing. You see, sometimes it’s not easy to see your limitations and it can be even harder to admit there are parts of you that could be improved. 

So next time, when my husband parks really, REALLY, far away from where we should be, I’ll endeavour to remember the time I ridiculed my brother, and bite my tongue because a bit of walking never hurt anyone. 

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ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WORMS

I’m pretty competitive, even if I do pretend not to be. I can’t help it and so, I’m gonna blame human nature. Yes, that’s it. Human nature. We are hardwired in wanting to succeed and if you believe what that guy — Freud — says about humans, we are inherently selfish twats with an innate competitiveness that drives our psyche. Something like that – don’t quote me, I did psychology 101 about a gazillion years ago and we all know I have the memory capacity of a goldfish

Anyway, moving along. The point of this drivel is that I am competitive, ergo, I don’t like losing. Losing gives me that slight twinge in the guts. Losing feels like there’s a mean spirited gnat buzzing near my ear telling me that I failed at something, no matter how insignificant it is. But of course, it’s not true and I know this to be the case. Rationally, I understand that “failing” is an important part of life and an integral part of learning and developing skills to achieve success. Failure helps us to grow. 

However, despite this, I’m still driven by my competitiveness and dislike of losing. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be happy with a participation award. Not everyone should be a winner. 

Suffice to say, our household is pretty competitive, but in a good way. We don’t condone smack talking and tall poppy syndrome is non-existent. We give merit where merit is due.

So when it comes to being a good role model for the children, it can sometimes get tricky. Why do you ask? Because I can be a bloody sore loser.

As we are in our sixth lockdown, we’ve started a routine where as a family we play games after dinner and most weekends. It alternates between Monopoly Deal (card game) and Worms W.M.D. (Nintendo video game). To my absolute embarrassment, I suck at both. Actually, that’s a lie. I am as good as my 4-year-old boy, and that’s saying something. We keep a score board for Monopoly Deal just for kicks and guess where I sit on the leaderboard. Yeah, bottom last, beneath the 4-year-old, who plays with his cards open on the floor for all to see. What does that tell you? That my strategy skills are so poor it’s a miracle I’m not homeless. I believe I’m at 6 wins to about 25 for the husband and daughter, and 10 for the son.

As for Worms, remember that game? You play as little worms armed with a bunch of artillery and the aim of the game is to kill your opponents. Whoever has the last surviving worm wins. It was called Worms Armageddon about twenty years ago. I was a gun at it back in the day, or at least, that’s what I keep telling my family but no one believes me. And I can’t even blame them given my track record so far. But really, how am I supposed to win when my worms are ALWAYS placed in precarious positions? My worms are always sitting on a ledge or at the base of a hill where they can get batted off into the ocean and die. I keep telling them of my suspicions that the tiny computer person inside the Nintendo game is biased towards me and that’s why I keep losing. That and because everyone keeps ganging up on me.

Do I sound like a sore loser? I do, don’t I? Sigh. I hate losing.

Anyway, after several months of this losing streak, I’ve come to a realisation and acceptance. Yeah, losing can suck, but there’s good in losing too. I don’t play to win anymore. I play to spend time with my family. I play to help my children develop strategic and critical thinking skills. I play to help them develop social and cognitive skills. I play to show them the value of family time.

So in essence, while my children are winning and I am losing like it’s my job, we are actually winning as a family.  

Copyright © 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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I’M BACK!

Hello everyone! How are you all? I’ve finally cleared enough off my plate and in a good headspace to write and interact on blogland again. I’ve missed this, being able to reflect and journal my emotions, thoughts and experiences. For the last two months, I’ve been under the pump trying to survive another lockdown – our sixth – playing cheerleader to the 8-year-old daughter doing remote home learning (who is suffering from lockdown fatigue and missing friends), acting as a jester to the 4-year-old son who needs constant attention (or will break sh$t or injure himself when left to own devices), relegated to the servant and cook for all, and mustering energy at night to study. It’s been mentally and physically exhausting! I’m amazed at how people who work full time or even part time, are able to juggle studying and home life. Kudos to them! 

The upsides to lockdown are that as a family, we spend more time together playing card games (Monopoly Deal), computer games (Worms WMD), watching movies, and going for family walks. Unfortunately, there are a heap of downsides too. We haven’t seen family or friends for almost two months, considering there was only about a week between the fifth and sixth lockdowns. The kids are missing out on social interaction and educational development. Collectively, we do less exercise, do too much screen time (for school, work and leisure), and eat poorly. I’ve become a pro at avoiding other humans, and I fear that when I’m let loose in society again, I’ll probably have to work on my conversational skills and maintaining eye contact. Feels weird these days to look people in the eye.

What else have I been up to? Let’s see. There’s been comfort eating. Checking COVID rates. More eating and gaining of weight. Complaining of said weight to the only other adult in the house (who isn’t faring any better, in my opinion). That’s about it. It’s the sixth lockdown people… eating is the only pleasure I’m allowed. I’m no longer baking my own bread or plucking my eyebrows. I’ll be lucky to make it out with my sanity intact. 

Anyway, I’m hoping that by getting back to writing, maybe I stave off the madness of lockdown and the binge eating that comes with it. For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, I’ve included some of the highlights of my days. Enjoy!

Hope to be back to regular posting now that I’ve finished studies for the year.

Copyright © 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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