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Archive for the ‘Blogging with Friends’ Category

#23 in the long-neglected Blogging with Friends series.

It was back in the 90s, and I was leaving the government department where I had worked for six years, which was a long time back then! I decided to invite everyone in my team over for dinner to say good-bye. It was going to be easy. A big pot of rice, a big curry, and a wok full of colourful, stir-fried vegetables. No problems! Except that our house is on split levels. And I didn’t want to neglect my guests, so I thought the wok with the vegetables would be okay to leave for a minute to pop downstairs and check all was okay with my guests. But with me, a minute often turns into five minutes, and by the time I got back upstairs, the bottom layer of vegetables touching the wok were fast becoming part of the wok! Fortunately the wok was so full that the vegetables above were just steaming, and were fine to serve. The charcoal flavour fortunately did not permeate the food. (I don’t think!)

I stuck the wok out in the laundry so no-one could see it. Efforts at cleaning it were fruitless – it had to be thrown away.

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#22 of Blogging with Friends

One of my happy places is the south of Thailand. I’ve long had this picture of myself (and The Husband) in an airy house on the side of a hill, high enough to get beautiful views of the Andaman Sea or perhaps Phang Nga Bay, with lots of little islands off in the distance, and facing west for sunsets. Being on a hill, we’ll get to see raging electrical storms too, which would thrill The Husband, and weather of all sorts, which I love to observe. But we’ll be close enough to clamber down some steps to the beach when we want some sea swimming or to feel sand between our toes. The house will be open and airy with lots of windows and covered decks for outdoor life, but well air-conditioned, because hey, this is in the tropics and the humidity can be crazy. There’s a swimming pool, obviously, and lush gardens full of bougainvillea and frangipane flowers, and the scent of jasmine (mali), of course too, wafted on gentle breezes.

There’s room for guests – maybe a separate guesthouse? – for friends and family. The perfect place for bloggers to come and write. It’s Thailand, so I’ll have someone to help cook, and they will make the most amazing Thai food, which I could live on forever. (Though given its location near a major tourist area, I know there’ll be plenty of international restaurants if I feel like a change, occasionally).

There’s an international airport nearby, to whisk me away (post-pandemic) to other exotic locales too, as the thought of staying anywhere forever without moving brings on severe claustrophobia. Maybe I could just keep it as a holiday home? Because I need to travel other places too, and there are many places in New Zealand where I could happily live. I have become accustomed to having a view, as since 1986 I’ve only lived for a few months in houses or apartments/hotels with no real view, so would find that hard to give up. There are so many choices. This question may come up in real life, thinking ahead to our retirement, and there are so many choices that I can’t face it right now. So I’ll just go back to my imaginary happy place, high on a hill with tropical sea breezes and gorgeous sunsets and a cocktail or two. Join me there?

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#21 of Blogging with Friends

I’ve received lots of good advice over the years, from friends, colleagues, family. We don’t always recognise good advice when we’re given it, but it usually sinks in. Eventually. The first piece of advice I was given in my first full-time job was from a colleague, who never really took his own advice. But I heard it, and at critical times, I was able to take it. “No-one is indispensable.”

I think that the context at the time was about being sick and taking time off work, or going home at a reasonable time. He pointed out that I should look around at all the people who worked with me, and that if something was important, it could always get done. I took that advice later on in my career – it helped me to learn to delegate, for example. Of course, it wasn’t always true. But when it was, it helped.

That was similar to very important advice I was given about 15 years later, when I was told* that it is okay to ask for help. It’s very similar to the idea of being indispensable, but a lot broader too. And it allows for an admission of weakness or vulnerability, something that was perhaps easier to do in my personal life than in my first full-time job as a young woman surrounded by high achievers. Or maybe it’s easier to admit weakness or vulnerability or frailty as we grow as human beings, because we have a more confident sense of who we are? Asking for help doesn’t mean we are inadequate or can’t cope. It means we recognise what we can and can’t do, it means we love and trust others enough to show our vulnerability, and admit we need help. Being too proud to ask for help is often held up as a virtue. I think that it is born out of fear – fear to show vulnerability, to put our faith in others, to admit we need others, and to risk rejection. So remember, ask for help. The idea of it is hard to do. But it’s really not that difficult. Try it. You might be surprised by the rewards.

* I can’t remember who told me this. It was a friend online – possibly Izzie or Sarahg or Mary or any of dozens of others. To whoever it was, thank you.

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