Cesar decided to hitchhike along in the Bakkie while many were busy doing firebreaks in what we dub “the big field”. Every year during winter time which is our dry, and so also our fire season – we burn the edges of the farm in the case of fire breakouts, so that the fires can’t travel from field to field, farm to farm – which can happen quick when it’s dry and windy. The whole process took a bit more than two hours, which we observed mostly from inside the bakkie, watching what everyone is doing, explaining what each person’s role is. Oh, and fitting on sunglasses he found in the bakkie, insisting that ‘upside down’ is really the right way one should wear sunglasses.
Within wondering whether I am doing ‘the right thing’ and ‘providing the best’ for my son, I can easily find myself wondering off in my mind comparing myself, my life with that of others. Whether it’s people in my life, strangers I meet or people on social media. I start to wonder whether ‘their life is easier’, ‘how can they be so confident in what they’re doing’, ‘I wonder if that lifestyle would be better for my son’,… This goes on for a little bit and then I find myself in a dark space where I am jealous of other people and the lives they live in the belief that ‘it might be better’ than what I am currently living and providing for my son. Within that, I find myself accessing a more and more passive zone – where instead of actively moving, creating and participating in my environment and reality, I kind of sit back more and simply observe everything that is ‘wrong’ and ‘unfair’.
The one day I found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed where I was subconsciously comparing my life to what other people were sharing their life to be. And I could sense myself sinking inside myself as if I was becoming smaller, smaller and smaller. So then I stopped and looked up from my phone going ‘Hey, what’s going on here’. Because one moment ago I was fine – and suddenly I find myself in this dragging experience where everything is just wrong and unfair. Where’s all this coming from?
I looked back at my phone to ‘replay’ what I just went through when I saw the subtle comparison and insecurity playing out in the background. How my mind just automatically wondered off imagining what it would be like to ‘live their life’. I decided to play a bit with that notion. So what if I was living say, this random person’s life? If I was living their life I’d still be looking at everyone else’s lives, including mine currently, and believe that ‘maybe the grass is greener on the other side’ still. I could place myself in different scenarios and see that the fear of possibly missing out would still be something that existed. I went through more people and noted what I saw as pros and cons in their lives, and how no matter what life you envision – you always have a selection of cons and pros at play (say if you live in the city you have easy access to things but then you miss out on a more calmer lifestyle – if you live in the countryside you have a calmer lifestyle but things are not as easily accessible). So I concluded that in the end, you’re always going to end up with some pros and cons – and that at the end of the day, you have YOUR life, the life YOU’RE living. One life, one path, one scenario of many. There could have been so many ways that my life could have turned out differently, but my life is where it is. This is the path I have created, this is the life I have chosen for myself.
I can either sit back passively in a sense of superiority and entitlement that I deserve ‘better’ and whine about everything that’s wrong and unfair – waiting for reality to change and adapt to my whims and wishes — OR – I can move myself with what I have available, and zealously move MYSELF to change and adapt to the reality that’s at hand. Instead of allowing my environment and my perceptions of my environment to dictate who I am and how I experience myself; I can reverse the roles through inspiring myself instead of waiting for my environment to inspire me. (Funny note here, to inspire also means to breathe – and breath is what gives us life. Where either I give myself life or place myself as dependent on my environment to breathe life into me)
In the end, no one parent or family finds themselves in the exact same situation as another. We all have different lives, different struggles and blessings. What defines us is not our situation, but who we are within it and ultimately, what we make of it.
Cesar enjoys being around when Gian is working on the little viewing/picnick deck that’s in the process of creation. He’ll try and put nails into the slats, or find a rock to imitate the work being done on the structure. Cesar enjoys putting things together, seeing what he can create from different elements, seeing how they can fit together. In a way, the structure being built is of a similar nature, and when you hear the men on the farm discuss these type of projects, can see that childlike expression bubble up as they discuss and explore the possibilities and take pride in the progression and creation of whatever they are working on. In those moments where Cesar is intently focused on putting something together and seeing those moments where Gian is intently focused on a project, can see that this drive to create, to explore, to expand is naturally inherent in us all. Exploring the yet unknown “possibilities”. It would be great to have this natural drive nurtured and fostered, instead of beaten out of us in the quest to survive and comply to some narrow and limited view of “how things are done”. How things have been done and are done = we have the result before us today, a bleak picture. Let’s explore the possibilities!