Thursday, July 12, 2018

Holding your Breath

South Africa has a deeply rooted meat-eating culture. A 'Boy's Braai' consists of meat, beer, and breadrolls - chicken is considered the salad. The vegetables are often an afterthought with 'what are we eating tonight?' answered with Chicken, Fish, or Steak. So the veg is not the spicey delights served up in the East. 'Eating your veg first' is an analogy for delayed gratification. Do the hard thing first, then you can have the nice bit. Not just a Saffa belief. Pink Floyd's version is 'If you don't eat yer Meat, you can't have any pudding'.

Do the hard thing first. Man up. Tough love. There are stories of Wolraad and Racheltjie to inspire people to stop whining and get on with it. 'n Boer maak 'n plan (a Farmer makes a plan) suggesting that complaining gets nothing done. Australia is also big on this kind of hard life mentality (Check out Chopper Reid). Taking responsibility even for things that aren't your fault.

Even the Bible throws its two cents in with 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Ask Bobby Skinstad, Sport is well-supplied with back-pocket clich├ęs like 'commeth the hour, commeth the man', 'putting your hand up', 'stand up and be counted', and 'put your body on the line'. Match after match through school, various coaches and captains will have practiced their very best Braveheart renditions.


Somewhere between self-obsession and self-negation, lies self-care. Somewhere between the victim, and the hero. It doesn't come naturally, and hasn't had years of good movies, funny banter, and motivational speeches to back it up. It feels indulgent and soft. Even knowing looking after yourself is important, doesn't make it feel right. It feels like chickening out.

What it leads to is a mass of people holding their breath. We look at everything that needs doing, and never pause. Faster. Better. Higher. Stronger. More. Now.

We should make time to occasionally pick up childish things... otherwise the pudding will be finished should we ever get there.

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