Thursday, November 24, 2011

now now

Today I overheard a conversation at work during lunch time. One of our foreign (English 2nd language) interns asked the question: 'Can you please explain to me, what is the difference between 'now now', 'just now' and 'now'...(I think the expression 'now, now' is specific to South Africa.)?

This reminded me of my previous blog entry about time. So while I could hear the different attempts by my colleagues trying to explain the nuanced differences between those terms, I thought to myself, how amazing it is that there are three expressions to describe a very short difference in time. Interestingly, I would translate the expression 'now now' as the intention to do something almost immediately but quickly do something else before that. Instead of using 'just now' but repeating the word now, it is almost like a double affirmation that it will happen soonest. It also carries a little bit of naughtiness to stretch the period before the action takes place.
The above describes something similar to the word 'just' in the previous entry. I think it is hilarious how we use language to describe our perception and intention about time but hardly ever to describe real time..

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time or no time...


Time has become such a precious commodity and I often wonder if I apply it in a wrong way. I came to think about it when I was trying to fit more reading time into my schedule. My job requires me to be on top of the national and, best case scenario, also on top of international news, read newspapers and online news. At the same time I should keep myself on top of relevant content matters by reading academic literature on various topics. Besides that I do like reading fiction and novels. In total I maybe get 5% of the above mentioned done and I am wondering why. 

I started wondering about time. I am not a busy working mom with three kids and a household. I am not even married yet, no dependents or other duties, besides my job. I have a relationship. I try and live a balanced lifestyle, exercise and eat healthy, hence cooking at home. I enjoy socialising (moderately and not all the time) and at the same time also have some me-time. I spend time with my family (at least over Skype), I intend being outside in nature when I can and I like writing (hence the blog). And I obviously have the normal daily life things to do like doctors, admin, bank etc...that is pretty much it and I would argue that is still less than a working mom has to pack into a week. Why do other people seem to get it all into their schedule?

I debated this topic with a friend of mine and she added another interesting spin to the debate. She mentioned that we tend to say things like ‘I am going to just quickly...’ or ‘tomorrow I am just going to...’. The term ‘just’ does not really work. Everything takes time, and mostly more time then ‘just’ justifies. ‘Just’ doing the grocery shopping, takes at least a minimum of an hour even if you the most focused shopper in the world considering that you have to include driving there, filling the cart, queuing, paying, loading your car, get home and unpack...’ So, many things that we think we can do ‘just quickly’ can actually take up half days.

I also don’t want to end up scheduling my whole life – 15 minutes for this, 1hour there and plan my whole week like an office diary. I like living, being, enjoying. Is it the signs of the times that make us think we have to do all these things? Or are these our own internal pressures? Will it be true that in twenty years, not gold or money will be the most valuable things, but time and nature?

I do not know how many of you know the book Momo by Michael Ende. It is a children’s story also talking about time. In the book grey men come to take over the world. They smoke cigars and those cigars are made out of time/hours of people. So, if you stop caring, socialising and only dedicate your time to work, work, work, you save time and they live it. It is a scary thought, but I often feel there are grey men in my life 'smoking up' my time.
How do you deal with your time?

When friendships take their turns

Have you ever found yourself doubting a long-term friendship realising things are just not the same anymore?
It is a tough one. Once we find a friend that we call our 'best' friend, we are glued for life. Nothing can separate us. You know everything of the other person and she knows everything about you. Her number is the first you dial if you brake up, you pregnant or get engaged. When women make close friends they become soul-mates. It might not only be the one and only best friend in life but there are just a few with which we have a relationship of such close nature.
When any of those relationships go high-wire, it is very challenging to decide what to do. I think we normally choose to pretend all is still the same and we continue as if nothing has changed. Gradually you start seeing each other less, share less and the relationship becomes artificial.
Another way to address the issues is to 'pile up' anger and create a mega drama and fight resulting in the braking-up of the relationship - painful but fast. After which you will probably never see each other again.
The middle way right in between is difficult. The two of you know each other inside out. You know how to hurt the other, but you also know where the other hurts most. You know the strong and weak sides. And most importantly - you still like each other a lot. Something has changed. It could be circumstances, one self, the other person - whatever it is - getting on seems more difficult. As much as women have these awesome relationships, most of them have one weakness, we not good in criticising and talking honestly to each other about our relationships. I think most women will agree, men will be a bit perplexed....'if they can spend talking for hours and hours how can they not be able to talk about themselves?' Trust me, in many instances it is like that.
So taking all the courage and having that specific talk about ‘things have changed’ is tough; to come up with productive and creative ideas on how to salvage the relationship, might proof even tougher. Possible solutions? Maybe the chat alone will already set some energy free. Otherwise, solutions are not much different to those when your love relationship is in crisis.
  • A little bit of distance at first. 
  • Then, doing things together to have common experiences outside of the daily life or the friendship routine.
  • Allowing space for open and honest talk.
  • Being careful and respectful.
I can just encourage 'the talk' which will hopefully yield good results. The biggest plus? You might be able to maintain a friend.
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