Let’s go on an adventure!

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All of us, at one stage or another, have watched a movie or read a book or even heard a story of someone experiencing an epic, life-changing story. And let’s admit it, we all have dreamt of embarking on our own adventure after hearing those stories.

The truth is that those stories touched something inside us, a part of us that longs for unpredictability, for a territory unknown. It doesn’t mean that we are unsatisfied with our lives, in fact, our lives could be exactly the way we envisaged it. But I believe it is in our human nature to long for change. It is either a blessing, or a curse, but if we weren’t meant to evolve, we would’ve been more like a plant. Or like the robots that will one day live among us in society.

However, that is beside the point. Because this does not solve our problem! Now, the majority of us(me included) simply cannot pick up and take off whenever the fancy takes us. We have jobs, families, rent and bills to pay. Not to mention the price of plane tickets these days… So instead of depressing us all, I’ve been thinking of a different approach.

My conclusion? Adventure is in each of our grasps! It all depends on our point of view. Granted, it won’t be the stuff they write stories about or making movies of(unless you’re really lucky) but if it will satisfy your longing, isn’t that worth it? Adventure lies in the small decision we can make every day, the decision to take the road less traveled. It can be small things, like taking a different route to work, trying the dish at the restaurant that you weren’t sure of, taking that intro class of a hobby you’d like to start with. It will open our minds the way routine simply can’t.

Also, making a small, insignificant decision today, might tomorrow pave the way for much greater things! Adventures aren’t handed to people on a silver plate, it is the unpredictable turn of events, a gradual process rather than instant action(just add water). So who knows? Maybe the tiny decision you made today, will change your life forever tomorrow. Or maybe you’re already in the adventure of your life, and you don’t even know it yet. Enjoy the ride!

Let’s go on an adventure!

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All of us, at one stage or another, have watched a movie or read a book or even heard a story of someone experiencing an epic, life-changing story. And let’s admit it, we all have dreamt of embarking on our own adventure after hearing those stories.

The truth is that those stories touched something inside us, a part of us that longs for unpredictability, for a territory unknown. It doesn’t mean that we are unsatisfied with our lives, in fact, our lives could be exactly the way we envisaged it. But I believe it is in our human nature to long for change. It is either a blessing, or a curse, but if we weren’t meant to evolve, we would’ve been more like a plant. Or like the robots that will one day live among us in society.

However, that is beside the point. Because this does not solve our problem! Now, the majority of us(me included) simply cannot pick up and take off whenever the fancy takes us. We have jobs, families, rent and bills to pay. Not to mention the price of plane tickets these days… So instead of depressing us all, I’ve been thinking of a different approach.

My conclusion? Adventure is in each of our grasps! It all depends on our point of view. Granted, it won’t be the stuff they write stories about or making movies of(unless you’re really lucky) but if it will satisfy your longing, isn’t that worth it? Adventure lies in the small decision we can make every day, the decision to take the road less traveled. It can be small things, like taking a different route to work, trying the dish at the restaurant that you weren’t sure of, taking that intro class of a hobby you’d like to start with. It will open our minds the way routine simply can’t.

Also, making a small, insignificant decision today, might tomorrow pave the way for much greater things! Adventures aren’t handed to people on a silver plate, it is the unpredictable turn of events, a gradual process rather than instant action(just add water). So who knows? Maybe the tiny decision you made today, will change your life forever tomorrow. Or maybe you’re already in the adventure of your life, and you don’t even know it yet. Enjoy the ride!

Critique (and my take on it)

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“You know, this business is so competitive out there, and unfortunately you come across a lot of photographers who can dish out criticism but cannot take criticism. We should all support and help one another out, not bring each other down. Some are more experienced than others. Remember, we all start off somewhere in the bottom and work ourselves up. There is no such thing as “the best”. Whatever happened to happy shooting? :)”

I’m not even going to attempt to understand why, but this status of a friend of mine is keeping me from sleeping. Maybe it’s a form of guilt. Maybe I don’t agree fully, but these are my thoughts on criticism.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you; I criticize other photographers. I don’t do it to make me feel better about myself, I don’t believe I’m better than them. I do it to learn. In my photography, and even in other aspects of my life, I’ve received bad criticism. It’s not unusual, like my friend pointed out, we all started at the bottom, and no one is so fantastic at the beginning that they require no crit. And no, I normally don’t take criticism in the most gracious of ways either, blame it on my pride. I’ll disagree, even get offended at times, but when looking back when my pride has calmed down, I usually can see what the person was talking about and apply it from thereon. Hey, I’m only human after all.

So yes, I criticize. Because I know, criticism can help improve your skills. It all depends on how you take it. These days, when offered criticism(which is really not often enough guys, please) I try to smile, say thanks and store it for future inspection. Because I do not want to stop learning! Some of my friends call me “pro” as a jest, but I disagree! Sometimes I look at my work and realize what rookie mistakes I’ve made, and I can kick myself, I’m truly my own worst critic. I will always want to better myself.

There is another side to this story though. As I mentioned, I don’t crit for a sense of self-accomplishment, or to soothe my ego, I do it because I feel that there are good photographers, and great photographers. Too many good ones and too few great ones. People, this gap needs to be bridged! I want to help them cross over while I’m crossing it(not trying to bring you guys to the dark side, promise…) The general public seems to have lost the ability to see what great photography really is, and thus will settle for “average”. Why be average when you can be awesome instead?

So for every piece of criticism I give, for every comment I make, if that person comes to me asking for help, I will do so, no questions ask. Because no knowledge is for our benefit alone. I’m not the best, nor will I probably ever be the best, but this does not mean that I won’t share my limited experience. Just don’t get offended if you don’t like what I have to say. 😉

Stocktake

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I don’t know about you, but I for one, have a very vivid imagination. One that I like to implement on various situations, making my day funnier, go by faster and definitely more entertaining. Reality just gets a bit drab sometimes, you know?

But every once in a while, I stop short and remember that my life isn’t as fabulous as I dream it up to be, I’m not a fugitive running away from the police, I’m not in fast and furious, and I’m definitely not parading down the catwalk.

So this morning, I sit down and make a stocklist of what my life truly contains(and doesn’t), the relationships that have been found, rekindled and lost, and remembering my path:

– a loving family. Even though at times we want to kill each other, we are always there for each other, even if it bankrupts us, kills us, and our bonds are incredibly strong.

– good friends. I may not have many, but the ones I do have, are precious to me. There have been relationships that have cooled down, some that I hope can be rekindled, some that will be lost forever, some that have been rekindled lately, and some that have just gotten stronger. I am thankful for each and every friend that I have because they give me the nourishment that each of our lives need.

– I am single. And there are definitely no prospects. I know some people out there will disagree with me, but let’s face it, we imagined that. Because if there had been any interest, I would like to think that they would be man enough to step up and take some action. And if they can’t even do that, they certainly cannot handle my drama.

– My current job may not be my perfect job, but it’s a step to where I want to be. Every success story starts small.

– I accept the fact that I am a speckled egg. For those of you that don’t know, a speckled egg is a hard chocolate sweet that has jelly on the inside. Several people have mentioned to me that I remind them of such a sweet, and I’ve come to realize that they are right. On the outside(and definitely at work) I am independent, don’t take any nonsense and am the ruling Queen Bee. However, once people get to know me, they realize I’m a pushover. And gone is my streetcred.

– I have no swag. There are ads on the air at the moment saying that everyone has swag, but let me assure you, I have none of that.

– Had I been writing this post a year ago, I would not be able to say that I’m as happy as I am now. Somewhere along the last year, something changed in me. It was a gradual change, and I still cannot pinpoint where exactly it happened, but I have more inner peace at this moment than I can remember ever having. For fear of sounding like a yoga-loving guru though, I am not one of those seemingly high-on-something people that claim to have found inner peace. I still get angry, emotional and have my down days, but the inbetween times are better. Much better.

So all in all, life is not perfect. But it is pretty damn awesome. And that’s more than anyone can ask for. 🙂

Have a lovely weekend peeps!

A little positivity never hurt anyone…

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All my life, it has been hard to see the brighter things of life. As in, near impossible. But in the last year especially, I have made it a point to make a conscious decision each day to be happy. For me. Most days, I get it right. Some days, unfortunately I don’t.

In the beginning, it was hard, and there were more days that I simply couldn’t succeed. But everyday, it gets a bit easier. And before anyone thinks that my life became easier or something, let me set you straight; it hasn’t. My circumstances haven’t changed, I have. Instead of seeing the negative, I look for the positive. Instead of complaining and moaning, I look for alternative solutions. Before I allow myself to wallow in self-pity, I try and look at all the small things that make my life Worth Living.

So here is my life of things I am grateful for today:

– for each and everyday I witness a beautiful sunset/sunrise
– for all the love I have in my life because of my family and friends
– for having a strong mother, whom without, I would not have half the backbone if she hadn’t shown me what it means to have one
– for having two brothers who are both working towards achieving their dreams
– for knowing that everyday I am one step closer to living my dream
– for having a reason to wake up for
– for having talents that set me apart from the rest
– for being different
– for having a job
– for having pets that love me unconditionally
– for being healthy
– for coffee
– for waking up this morning
– for being loved

For everyday that I get to celebrate being Alive, it would be a waste to spend a day of it unhappy.

There’s gotta be more to life

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Shopping. An addiction for some, a neccesity for all. We all need food, we all need clothes-some more than others. The point is, there are millions of shops all around the world, which are managed and run by humans. I am one of those humans, have been for 6 years. And although I have come to realise that the majority of my clients pay no second thought to me, I do have to spare many thoughts to them to deliver good customer service, too many come to think of it.

One thing I have noticed since starting in retail, is that I have become critical to other shops customer service. I do not mean this in the sense of moaning about everything or throwing a fit if something is wrong, but I do care about the store’s general customer service. It’s actually worked up to be a passion somewhat, which is scaring me even.  And I do not feel as if employers but in essence the staff themselves are paying enough attention to this.

On average, I work 49 hours a week, 9 hours a day. Seeing that most of us sleep 8 hours a night, I would say that this is alot because it doesn’t exactly leave alot of time for anything else in the day. So people in retail give up alot of time for their jobs, it is their life! But what irks me, is the fact that they choose to rather be semi-comatose instead of attempting to achieve something. They are literally wasting their life away. Now, I understand that not everybody likes their job, in fact I have days myself that all I want to do is walk out of that place like they do in the movies. But there is a goal with it all, because as long as I work in a photographic surrounding, I will learn more, everyday, things that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Everyday is a challenge.

People need to realise, that you need a reason for doing the job you have. For most, it will be just about the money. But they also need to find something inside of them that wants more. To be more. To do more. To earn more. To learn more. If you are going to decide to do your job simply because you have it and well, it gives you a paycheck at the end of the month, please do us all a favour and quit. Employers see it, customers know it, and for goodness’ sake, you might as well be living in the matrix. Or be a robot. They at least give good service.

At the end of it all, it really is your day that you are wasting. Not your customers, not your colleagues, not your employers, yours. So smile, be present, acknowledge your clients, learn something every day and maybe, just maybe, you will find that spark in you.

 

Hello 2013

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With another year saying their goodbye’s and a new one saying hello, people reflect upon the previous years to assess what they achieved(or didn’t) and, while looking way too deep in the bottle, resolve to do better. That’s right, I am talking about New Years’ Resolutions.

Personally, I don’t hold much by them. Any promise made to yourself without an incentive sounds like a recipe for disaster. And what is it about the changing of the year that believes us to think that, even though the year is new and fraught with possibilities, we can change over night? Hello, we are human, flawed. It took thousands of years for us to get where we are now, who are we to think we can change with a small movement, seemingly miniscule, move of the hands of time?

However, to abide with the masses, I have made a list of my own resolutions. Before anyone calls me a hypocrite though, let me explain that these are things that have been changing in my own life, that have already taken small steps in the right direction before I even became aware of them happening. But in the last month or so, they have been made known to my consciousness, so I feel it is only correct to continue building on them instead of expecting an irrational instant change.

My motto for this year: “Do more, live more, love more.”

– Do more: There’s many a thing that I would like to achieve in my life, but I feel as if I haven’t been passionately pursuing those dreams. My photography has been on a low burner, I haven’t cooked as much as I’ve wanted to, hardly have touched my harp especially since we’ve moved. The list is quite long. But my inspiration, mojo, joie de vivre, has returned. Or is busy returning(keep you updated on that one). If I do not start doing more of the things I love, I cannot expect my talents to grow. Plans are needed. Plans that will succeed.

– Live more: In the last year, I’ve been trying really hard to be more positive about life. Which is hard for me, and I haven’t always succeeded. But the one thing I have realised is that I need to surround myself with more positive people. In order for negativity to be diminished in my life, I need people that will inspire, teach, motivate me and help me grow. I do have some fantastic friends that do exactly that, but I think you can never have too much of a good thing, at least it’ll make interesting conversation for the dinner parties I’m hoping to have this year(I’ll be cooking and I’ll need more unbiased opinions than those of my families :P)

-Love more: I have a passion for love. Love for me makes the world go around, and I can understand completely why every soppy love song was ever written. But somehow, that kind of love is completely lacking in my life. Funny isn’t it? Actually, it’s mind boggling and completely frustrating. I’ve been coming to terms with the fact of the very real possibility that I may never find that kind of love. People say I’m to young to be thinking like that, that I will find someone, but to me it’s a kind of release. It opens me up to all kinds of love, kinds that I do have in my life, that I can celebrate, that I can be grateful for. And it is time. Time for me to focus on my other kinds of love instead of the one I don’t currently have.

So all in all, this 2013 I’ll be taking life as it is, flowing in it instead of fighting it, letting change happen gradually and with alot of coaxing. And I’ll see where I will end up at the end of it all.

“All will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.” – The best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

One misty morning

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Just yesterday we were discussing the magical features of my new home, and one of the things I mentioned was wanting to take photo’s in the mist. So imagine my surprise when this morning I saw the sea mist rolling in!

So I jumped out of my bed, grabbed my camera and ran outside. Half asleep. In my pj’s. Realising half way through that I was going to be late for work. But I’m still happy with the results I got, hope you are too!

 

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Social awkwardness

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So after everything that’s happened this year, my family and I got notified that we had to move about 3 months ago. We moved to this quaint little place outside of Stellenbosch, and even though I had my doubts in the beginning(too small, too quiet, too far from EVERYTHING), I’ve grown to love it here. Yes, it’s quiet, but I need it. Yes, it’s far from everything, but the 20 minute drive I make everyday to work and back has this way of putting me in the right state of mind for the day. Yes, it’s small, but somehow, we are making it work. (Don’t ask me how, I’m not quite sure myself yet)

The only thing I’ve started to notice, is my desire for solitude lately. As if I need to be alone. It’s not like I’m not awkward in social groups anyway, but it’s worse lately. One or two people, no problem. A group? Smile and wave, Roxy, smile and wave.

So I’m just going to assume that this need for solitude is leading up to change, like a resting period. I hope so, because I don’t think I can deal with this social awkwardness on a permanent basis, I’ll become a hermit.

It is feeling like change though, something good is coming, I can feel it 🙂

I can complain

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Hi, my name’s Roxanna, and I’m a homeware shopaholic. Clothes, nah. Shoes, nah. Books… ok yes, that’s my other addiction but that’s not part of the story. Furniture and decor shops, hell yeah! It’s as if I get into this frenzy and I have to forget that I have my purse with me otherwise my bank account will hate me forever. Especially @home, the music they play, the atmosphere… it’s like a drug.

This, however, happened in store X. Normally, I also love going into store X, they have a great collection at the right price so normally I’m a happy camper. Not today. Not because of the store, not because I couldn’t find what I was looking for, but because of the teller’s.

I have to mention at this point that I work in retail, I know what customer service is. But what they did, was horrible. Not only did she not greet me once, nor say please or thank you, she was debating with her colleague who should help me, continue speaking to her while she was helping me, even stopping with helping me to continue her conversation(at which point I reminded her that I do have other things to do today) and the only time I received eye contact? After the above comment to give me a disgusted look.

Normally, I would not complain. I generally have alot of sympathy for sales assistant because I am one. I can see they’re having a bad day, and normally will try to crack a joke or two(just the fact that I’m so bad at it makes them laugh usually) or I’d rather eat it and forget about it. So I have no clue what got into me today, but I couldn’t handle it. She just pissed me off. So when she handed me my receipt, I loudly said “thank you” and walked off, relaying the story to her colleague up front. I hope she told her manager. Because if I feel like this, I’m pretty sure there are 20 others who feel the same way.

I was wondering though, am I being too hard on her? And I realised that I’m not. I’m not the spoilt housewife who has nothing better to do with her time, I’m not the customer having a bad day and looking for someone to take it out on, I’m just a regular person who knows what it’s like on the other side of the counter, who knows it’s hard. But I get told repeatedly that the customer is king, sent to training sessions for customer service, and get scolded when I do not give the proper experience to a customer. And for the record, our customers complain for alot less than this. So I have a mantra for when dealing with customers. I treat them the way I would like to be treated. And I do not feel guilty about demanding the service I feel every customer should receive.