I was making my way to the Cape Flats, passing faces, work bound. Staring into the vivid abyss, wondering if anyone had a phone charger. The crowd was silent.
I needed to charge my phone. Badly. I'd missed the opportunity earlier, that was a blunder. My mood was dropping as I gazed at the sky. I considered using airplane mode to pass the time.
What I would do for some electricity! You never miss the spark until its gone, they say.
Everything just felt off, could I manage without my music? Maybe sing along from my memory?
Then this happened, just when I needed you.
The transit system being a marvel on its own, I was blown away by the added level off connectivity that the Golden Arrow buses were getting. Being able to stay connected to my work and family with free electricity meant the world to me.
From then, my day went as smoothly as electricity from an eel. I gazed upon slightly imposing wonders of nature. Sat with leaders of the future and discussed their way forward. Pondered the strategies applied by economists of yesteryear, guffawed. Discussed solutions to the education system with parents, their miniatures in tow. Rummaged through book donations to find an anthropology textbook beckoning from the chaos.
Travelled great distances through flat communities.
Cape Town's development signals its ability to handle the pressure of African politics. A little too well, in fact. The Cape Flats residents my tout a lack of consideration from the city but with this view, adjustments to that argument must be made.
Sure, the reminders of the city's rulers hover over the daily (and nightly) activities but hey, at least the buses are connected. That's something, right #Zille?
The industrial revolution brought on changes to the way we do business that threatened and eventually destroyed notions about the way we think about work.
Transitioning through the Information Age, the challenge for me is finding joy in the tedious tasks that I imagine will be automated in the future. Tasks that involve the gathering of raw data and processing it.
Raw data could be anything from email addresses and phone numbers to opinions about the way services should be delivered. Processing this means compiling this data and extracting relevant information from it, either to make recommendations to the change management teams (if they even exist yet, a lot of places are still waiting for “The Government” to implement programs) or for personal use in program development.
The problem with this…and also the best part about this is the ACTUAL interaction with people.
I do have a slight anxiety problem that makes me tend to avoid human interaction. As life goes, for collective evolution to happen, humans need to be consulted and actively included. Even if they’re against the changes, for whatever reason. Each person matters. Each opinion counts for something, even if it’s a negative balance.
In certain systems, we can go in with prior knowledge as to why people might be against change. The term being used to describe necessary changes in business is disruption.
Being an entrepreneur, I have to understand as much as I can about the ecosystem that I’m working in. The politics, the emotions, the motives, the values and principles that can only be extracted from the individuals (preferably with their knowledge) who perpetuate the system that I choose to work in. I have to keep overturning those loose stones.
Here in South Africa, a country still in its own version of an ICU after the brutality of apartheid, the business environment is still dominated by teams that seem highly resistant to change.
Stamina: The ability to sustain prolonged physical and/or mental effort
Observing myself connect on a deeper level with reality as we all experience it, I’ve become more conscious of the emotions that solidify this reality (I feel, therefore, I exist here). Sometimes, I want to return to my old habits and completely disassociate myself from my own emotions. To watch them from a distance and have something akin to pity for them. Like shadows on an eternally tiled walkway.
The emotions that work in the same way an earthing rod does. The emotions that keep me kind. The emotions that keep me striving for a better future. The emotions that help me build and maintain relationships with people.
Wanting to let them go when they’re slowly burning my stored joy into ash wouldn’t be the best idea though. As tempted as I am to hold on to the more pleasurable spectrum of the emotional taxonomy, I’ve learned that they tend to stagnate. Bliss stales into boredom and laughter runs dry, forced.
The reason I want to let go of them is because I don’t have much choice but to feel them. Whatever they are, whenever they arise.
The fun ones are mostly triggered by the natural world. Watching squirrels chasing each other in the gardens and butterflies battling against every slight breeze (struggle is real there), just to get that nectar.
Sometimes, people trigger happiness
The children, listening to every word you say and taking it to heart, no questions asked. I remember working at one of the community gardens, school kids would come on field trips and I would learn just as much as they did about this planet I love so much. I remember trying to teach a group how to meditate in a decrepit classroom, one of my proudest moments was when a few asked if they could meditate again.
The grandparents, they’ve seen the other side of the mask, they know how to give solace. They sit there quietly, with those little smiles on their faces. They know the patterns, they’ve lived through them a million times. Just being in their presence, the feeling of safety abounds. (which reminds me, we need to work on programs that care for the elderly)
Then there’s everyone else in between.
This is where the stamina comes in. Understanding that this closed system is just an environment to practice in doesn’t lessen then intensity of the emotions that well up.
I struggled to get my work done today. I did meet two people who shared some ideas with me, that helped. I didn’t really want to talk to the businesses owners at all, to be honest. I guess I’m just tired of the sighs and the depressed reactions that I get from people I don’t even know when I talk about community safety.
I have enough of my own “can’t do” attitude to have to take on other peoples. To the point where my own progress is kept in the shadows because of a reality that I don’t even understand. I keep looking up though, knowing the stars are still shining behind the blank blue curtain helps a lot.
I laugh at “silly” things. I do this so that I don’t bawl about the serious things.
We can’t have emotions in a professional environment. So I hide them. I do my best to capture what’s expected of me, ignoring the truths that slam into my chest with a smile that shields me for a while. Unfortunately, with so much energy going into that shield, there’s not much left for the “real” work. Productivity falls. Shame, guilt, frustration and then anger. Each second of those emotions is like a brick of apathy. Each word exchanged, or worse, left unsaid, become the mortar that binds the bricks.
Fortunately, I have a support system. From the other side of this wall of apathy, people who care. Who diligently chip away at the wall, daily. Popping their heads over and throwing romantic notes and flowers over to me. I’ve learned to do the same for them.
That’s what being an adult is about.
That’s what stamina means to me.
Being able to recognise these people. To keep throwing the little notes back and forth. To start planning doorways.