Things I Did Differently and Why I Wouldn’t Change a Single One of Them

I’ve lived in Gauteng for 4.5 years now. I say Gauteng and not Johannesburg because I was in Pretoria (Centurion) for more than half that period. In the first 2 years or so of living away from my home, I missed Durban. I was so isolated in Centurion due to being so far away from the few friends I had who lived in Joburg.

Durban is tiny (compared to Joburg), and my house was in such a central location that anywhere more than 15 minutes worth of driving was considered far. So having to travel for 40-50 minutes from Centurion to Joburg to see my friends was such a mission. Unfortunately I had to do it because I was the only one living that far away, but it was precisely for that reason that I felt so isolated because I hardly made the trip to Joburg at all.

Things changed when I moved here, and the independence made me grow into who I am now, to the point where I’ve realised that I’ll actually never move back to Durban. I realise now, looking back at my ‘protected’ life in Durban, that I always did things differently. I just never had the opportunity to even think I did because I lived with my parents up until I was 25, and they strongly influenced both my thoughts and behaviour. Its not that they didn’t support me, but being with them never let me have quite the same level of freedom I have now.

So what were some of the things I did differently?

  1. I preferred Lego over dolls. I never liked dolls. They were just fake babies that lay there and existed. I wanted to make things and have them move.
  2. I thought that Julie Andrews was the best human being to walk the Earth.
  3. I loved Bollywood. Only the ignorant think that they’re all just love stories with people running around trees. Educate yourselves.
  4. I preferred computers and video games over anything girly. Other than romantic comedies and chick flicks, I still do. It does not mean I’m any less of a woman.
  5. I listened to Enya as a child rather than the popular bands of that time.
  6. I wanted to do everything from going into Outer Space to becoming an archaeologist who’d study dinosaurs, as well from becoming an artist to a professional tennis or piano player.

Do I still do/prefer the above? Hell yes! I think most kids want to be different things as  they grow up, but the thing with me is that I still want to do all those things. Alright so maybe the tennis player bit is unrealistic right now, but why not the rest? As for Julie Andrews and Enya – they were from a different era that, to me, were better. I can still watch and listen to them now with the same enthusiasm. What they did is timeless, unlike what was popular with my peers that lasted only a limited period of time.

Over the years I’ve come to realise that there is actually no point in trying to like what everyone else does. Why should we? We go through school trying to be like everyone else in our class, and feel silly if we do or say something different. It is usually because they make us feel that way.

The thing is, the best human beings don’t try to belittle others because their thoughts and ideas are different. Those that do are just suffering from an inferiority complex and want to bring others down in order to make themselves feel better. They’re usually the insecure ones with the bigger mouth (we all know what they say about empty vessels), hence have control over those that don’t.

Emma Watson don't feel stupid

I’m not saying do what I did or like the same people or music, but don’t always try to fit in. Everyone is looking out for themselves and if you try to be like everyone else, you’ll end up losing yourself along the way. Still loving the things I loved growing up and not moulding into what the ‘friends’ wanted me to be is the best thing I ever did.

What today’s youth need to understand is that its not the end of the world if you don’t conform to what everyone else is doing. You are not a sheep, so don’t act like one. Real friends won’t try to change you, so its easy to get rid of those who try because it just means that they aren’t really your friends.

If we were all meant to be the same, surely we’d all look alike too?



Negativity: Throw it out

I’m going to be 30 years old this year. Its a little scary but I’ve heard that you have the most fun in your 30s, so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’ve changed a lot in the last decade, and much of it is attributed to the travelling I’ve done, my friends, and my family.

Since I got back from Switzerland in September last year, so much has changed in my life. People who I thought were always there, left. Friends left the country, and ones that disappeared came back. There were many negatives but they were overshadowed by the positives.

I have always lived my life in a certain way and part of that way is to believe in people. I am a good judge of character and if I don’t click with you instantly, there’s a very good chance I don’t like something about your character. I will never pretend to be friends with you, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, I just prefer to keep you away from my circle. If you’re mature enough, you wouldn’t be offended by that.

I’ve learned how fake people can be the hard way. I still fail to understand how people can act a certain way in front of you but have evil thoughts and intentions hidden behind it. I could never do that. As I said, I’d rather keep by distance from you – why should I pretend that you’re my friend if I don’t consider you one? Neither of us will benefit from it, so why do it? Some people are so full of hate that no matter what you do or say, they will always have a negative interpretation of it because they don’t believe those who are actually genuine. They expect everyone to be fake like they are, which is probably why they find it so difficult to trust others. They will also believe anything negative that is said about you and won’t even try to hear your side of the story.

Screw fake people

My point is, don’t waste your time trying to please people. Go with your gut feeling when it comes to judging character. Its easy to see when someone is genuine or not. Watch their mannerisms and behaviour around others, especially those less fortunate than themselves. If they’re always on their phone when they’re with you but take hours to respond to your message, don’t trust them. Also watch how they interact with people whose backs they talk behind. If you’re not very good at gauging someone’s character, these are good subtle ways in which to do it. If they’re genuine, their behaviour around the same people and things will be uniform no matter when it is.

Genuine people remain genuine, and as I look back now, those people who were nice from the start are still the same way because they have nothing to hide, neither do they have an image they have to maintain. Their eyes, faces, and smiles look the same as it did 20 years ago. Those are the people who truly know who they are.

There are genuine people left in the world, though they are few and far between. Learn to trust them when you find them, because they’re not out to get you. No, really! These are the people that want nothing from you but your company, and might just be that saving grace you needed.

Ditch the fake friends and associates who don’t have your best interests at heart. Life is short so its pointless keeping the negative with you. When something negative happens to me, I completely shut it out of my life. If its a person, I delete their phone number and any means of communication that we may have had, depending on how bad the problem was and whether or not they tried to rectify it. There is no need to continue harping on what happened. If they weren’t willing to rectify the problem, its certainly not worth your time since you obviously didn’t mean all that much to them in the first place. Remember that those people probably played no role in getting you where you are today – all it means is you actually don’t need them in your life.

“Never confuse people who are always around you with people who are always there for you.”

Is there an age limit to wanting to do everything?

I think I’m getting to that age where I don’t want to remember what my age is. There’s so many things happening at the same time in my life that sometimes its difficult keeping up. Ok I lie, I can keep up.

Most children want to do many things when they grow up. I certainly wasn’t an exception. I went through many career desires as a kid, which included becoming an astronaut, a doctor, a professional tennis player, and a computer geek. I’m glad to say I achieved the last one by becoming a software developer.

However, there’s still so many things that go on in my mind and I often find myself juggling between many things, even while working. Even though my career is to be a software developer, I feel like I don’t want to be stuck doing only that for the rest of my life. I probably will do it for the “set myself up for retirement” part of my life, but I can’t help but feel that there is more in store.

At the Lion Park in Johannesburg

I don’t know if I can call it a bucket list; its more things that I want to do that will play a significant role in my day-to-day life. Some of them include the following:

  • Travelling – this includes seeing the Northern Lights, doing a cruise around Alaska, and hiking in the Alps and Himalayas
  • Writing – something like a column in some big newspaper or news channel like the New York Times or CNN or The Travel Channel
  • Becoming famous – God knows how, but no one can deny how cool acting is (though, I’m sure it will be short lived)
  • Working in a big city like New York or London
  • Working for Google or Amazon. For the record, I already had an interview with Amazon but I turned them down because I received an offer elsewhere, before I could go through their full hiring process. I’m sure I will cross paths with them again in the not too distant future!

All these things make me wonder if I’m the only one who still wants to do all these things at my age, or are they dreams only kids can have? Personally I think all are still doable. Ok, besides the acting part. I know that’s a little far-fetched. Yes, I am aiming high, but the sky is the limit, right?

When you visualize, then you materialize. If you’ve been there in the mind, you’ll go there in the body – Dr Denis Waitley