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Lifestyle

Why I love Jo’burg so much and a little less every day.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

living_in_johannesburg

 

I was born in Hillbrow in 1975. For the first year of my life my family unit lived in Berea on the eastern outskirts of modern-day Hillbrow. We moved shortly after to the now, much greener northern suburbs, where my mother has lived in the same house for 37 years. I am a true Jo’burg boy. My accent reveals this truth.

Except for a brief stint in London I have not lived anywhere else in the world for an extensive period of time. I love Johannesburg. I preach my love on the interwebs and to friends and foreigners, alike. I defend Jo’burg in the great war between Johannesburg and Cape Town and I take pride in the fact that I live in the greatest city in Africa.

But something is slowly changing.

There is the great anecdote about the boiling frog that I have always believed to be true of the people who live in South Africa and Jozi in particular. The last 2 years of my life have been spent working in the inner-inner city of Johannesburg, where the melting pot of cultures and lack of space is obvious. Crime is rampant and local government service delivery is poor. These are not new revelations and I have been aware of this from as early as leaving high school, which I attended near Joubert Park, in the city centre, twenty years ago. What’s become more worrying is the ease at which my fellow neighbours and I are now accepting this slow decline.

I recently returned from a two-week break in Cape Town over December where I was deliberately looking at how well the city runs in comparison to Jo’burg. Cape Town is quite literally a different country. Yes, there are litter and crime and unemployment issues but the traffic lights all work, recycling waste is easy, the street curbs and island don’t have weeds growing out of them and the distinct lack of potholes is staggering. How can they have got this so right when Jo’burg has far more tax payers and a larger economy?

I am not one to talk politics but clearly at some level the Democratic Alliance (DA) has managed to grapple with problems and resolve them where the ANC is failing fantastically in central Johannesburg.

I’m considering “emigration” to the fairer Cape as an alternative to being boiled alive in Jo’burg. I fear that the path we take in Jo’burg is slippery, downhill and full of greased politicians.

I love my city. My tree-lined city. My non-windy city. My  vibrant city. My city that I know so intimately. It saddens me to even consider leaving my network of friends, family and local businesses but the right hemisphere of my brain is winning this fight of leaving.

All that was won in the great fight to freedom is slowly being lost. I should end this post with “Vote DA!” but the problems are way deeper than sheer politics and are now engrained in us all. I, like many others, feel that staying and fighting this battle is now a waste of energy and that’s clearly half the problem.

TWO THINGS CHANGED

By Coaching Lifestyle Mentoring Motivation No Comments

Tel Aviv promenade

I recently spent three days in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a good friend of mine. It was a short, spur-of-the-moment, holiday trip combined with 3 days in Istanbul. I was last in Tel Aviv in 1994 when I was 19 years old. Israel was the first country I ever visited outside my home country, South Africa. I hated it.

 

I was never keen on going back to Israel and particularly Tel Aviv, as I just remember it being a dusty, dirty old city with run down buildings and possibly the worst architecture I had ever seen. I discovered that the style of architecture is now called “Brutalism” – a word that accurately describes the ugliness of the block-like buildings. Tel Aviv was a brutal place to see from the inexperienced eyes of a 19-year-old boy, who had only seen the best of South Africa during the dark apartheid years.

 

Nineteen years later and I arrived in a city that was going to be severely criticized by my jaded views and me. I was more than pleasantly surprised of what I found. Tel Aviv is a thriving multi-cultural city with an amazing beach and café culture. The buildings are mostly as I remember them, but having studied and experienced the world in greater detail since my last visit, I appreciated the intricate history of the Bauhaus movement and the move toward the Brutalistic era. I saw people, who are mostly middle class, enjoying a very pedestrian city filled with quaint streets, restaurants and multi-level retail spaces. The sea winds and the large trees that have been imported from Australia nearly 100 years ago cool the epic heat on the streets.

 

The public transport systems work efficiently but even more satisfying was renting a bicycle and cycling the streets with no fear or apparent danger. It’s a very livable city with a very non-religious feel, which again, surprised me.

 

The city had certainly changed a fortune in the gap between visits. Or had it?

 

I’m starting to think that the city today was actually very similar to what it is was twenty years ago. I’m starting to think that what has changed the most, was in fact, myself. Ones outlook on the environment will determine the experience they have and the level they enjoy it. My life has changed radically in the last twenty years and the cities I have visited, in many countries, have changed the way I saw Tel Aviv. It’s no longer a shit hole, but that’s because I was not looking at it in a comparative negative light.

 

We view our lives the way we want to see our lives. Looking at it from a positive and favourable standpoint makes all the difference. You can read this in any light you wish.

Reincarnate yourself while you are alive.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

On the 22nd May 2012 I walked out my office, which I had occupied as the ‘boss’ for 17 years, never to return. It was a moment that took about 5 long years of mental abuse; jaw clenching sleep and exhaustion, to reach.

 

My business was all I knew. It was an integral part of who I was in my life and how people portrayed me. After a few months of insomnia, tears shared in sadness and pain it was finally over and I packed my car with what little trinkets I wanted to take with as a reminder of what was, and drove off.

 

I was petrified of unemployment and finding a “Job” and starting again. I had lost millions of Rands, a large part of my ego and friends. For the first few weeks I could not sleep through the night and even though my 5:30am alarm had been turned off, the seventeen-year cycle, of waking up in the dark, could not be broken. I would wake up and look for something to do; anything would do, as long as it took my mind off what was. I avoided all phone calls as the liquidated company owed money’s and old customers demanded services that were no longer deliverable.

 

I found myself pulling out weeds in my driveway, drinking coffee alone at the local roaster or sitting in friends’ offices using their free Wi-Fi just so I could get out the house. I dabbled in a few small businesses and helped out people who needed help – no matter what it was they needed. I was fighting depression, guilt and loneliness. All my friends were trying to cheer me up with the fact I was free to do what I wanted – something I wanted for many years, but freedom is not what you think it is. Freedom for me is being able to make a difference in my life at my own pace and having an impact on people around me that I cared about. I was not any freer than I was in the business I hated being in.

 

I committed to holidays I could not afford and bought clothing I did not need in order to fill the gaping void in my empty existence outside my business. My true friends and family in their wisdom kept reminding me that all would work out, that I was a bright young man that could start again and would find my feet and hit the ground running. In hindsight they were right. It just took me a few months to realize this for myself.

 

I am now working for someone in his business. I picked a new career that makes sense to me, that fits in with my life requirements of time, flexibility, answerability and creativity. You may think I am lucky now, but it’s a decision I made. I took the time to find what gave me pleasure and allowed me to wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose. I never understood how people could love their job or how they could work for other people and not be the owner or leader, until now.

 

I am not a religious man but I believe I have been re-born, re-incarnated, rejuvenated and re-invented in the past twelve months and I love the new me. I am not a motivational speaker or preacher but I have seen that at any stage of your life you can step away from whatever you feel is shackling you and start again. It’s nerve-racking and breathtaking but wholly worth the risk.

 

Risk everything for your happiness, I did, and now for the first time in years I’m a toddler looking into my future with new eyes, scared of nothing, ecstatic with all the newness and change in the world.

 

 

Thanks to Mom, Kim, Hammies, Jo, Mark P, Don & Rich, Spratty, Rodders, Shpronkles and the Bermans. You saw me through the worst and I love you all in my own way.

 

 

 

 

Stokefest | The Moments

By Lifestyle Motivation Photography Surfing No Comments

I like holidays. Who doesn’t, right? But why do you like going away, putting up with travel arrangements and leaving the comforts of home?

I travel for one purpose and one purpose only: The hope of having a “Moment.”

A moment when life slows down, you are clear and living in the moment. A few seconds in time when life has meaning, the daily stress is vacant and a serene bliss settles in my soul. I’m not a religious man at all, but every once in while, a feeling will come over me, giving me clarity of thought, and for me – this is my discovery of God. My Moment.

A few weeks ago, a group of mates and strangers (who have since become mates) embarked on a week long surf trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town arranged and co-ordinated by Stoked Surf school . In this week I was fortunate to experience several moments as described above. It wasn’t that I discovered the Zen of surfing and my inner hippy. It was the relaxation of a sporting holiday followed by more childish giggles that I care to remember. It was as some may say an EPIC week that I will with out doubt try replicate in the months of 2013.

Here is the Video that Craig put together. Its not a surfing video. Its a video about friends enjoying the most beautiful country in the world. Its a video about life and our need for escapism. Its a video that will allow me to re-live some of those “Moments” that give me cold shivers.

Hope you enjoy.

Spillly.

It took me 17 years to conquer my fear.

By Lifestyle Motivation Photography Skateboarding No Comments

A few months ago I wrote this post on my lost love for skateboarding and how I rediscovered it.

Yesterday I managed to complete my dream and pull off a pretty basic trick (with not much style) that had eluded me my entire life.

I just want to reiterate the fact that at no point in your life should you give up your dreams and ambitions. There are few feelings as pleasurable as completing a goal that is only for yourself and not being done to prove anything to another person.

This is a backside 5-O grind on the quarter pipe at Stoneridge. Again I want to thank Tim Moolman for the encouragement & patience of God.

My knee is blue but it was totally worth it!

@Spillly

 

 

> image taken by Phil. follow him on twitter.<

One in, (2) One out.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

I have been financially fortunate over the past 17 years. I have really not wanted for much from as early as my late teens. Clothing, fast cars and brands have come & gone with my disposable income, but throughout this period of my life, I have maintained one rule:

With every piece of clothing I buy, I must give one away. I call this the “ONE IN, ONE OUT” rule.

This rule has always kept my sneaker & t-shirt fetish in check. The rule has now started rolling over into every aspect of my life when it comes to my worldly possessions. Its nice to know that someone else, who really needs a pair of shoes, will appreciate them more than the bottom of my cupboard will. Its a simple structure that also makes me question myself when buying an item, as I need to know that I’m ready to part with an older item, before I can commit to the new purchase.

BUT something has started to happen. It relates back to this blog post which I wrote a while back. I have started giving TWO items away with every new one I purchase. I know that its not a sustainable system as eventually I will be left with nothing, but as a long term “un-cluttering mechanism” it works very well.

I will slowly eradicate the things I don’t use or need and slow down my incessant need to but new unneeded things. It also leads to me the discussion that I have briefly had with my mother, who lives alone. I joke that when she passes away, I don’t want to spend weeks sifting through the hundreds of random items and old clothes and deal with getting rid of all the junk she is unwillingly collecting. With my ONE IN, TWO OUT method, my life will be cleaner, greener and far less entangled and I love that. I figure everyone should go through cycles in their lives of over-consumption, excessive shopping followed by a slow down and eventual thinning out of goods.

Its possibly an age thing, or a wage thing, but none the less I’m at the point in my life where simpler is better and less is very, very, much more.

@Spillly

 

The pool I never wanted.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

Eight years ago, I built a house with my ex-girlfriend. I was living in an architecturally wonderful Parkhurst home, at the time that I bought when I was 20 years old. My Parkhurst pad had a pool, which was amazing for a 21 year old who was all about partying. But when we were in the process of design and building the new house, I never wanted a pool, but my ex-girlfriend did as she was the sun worshiper and I was & still am, a ginger. There was no compromise, even on the size, and the pool was dug and filled.

To this day, I hate the pool. It costs me money, takes up space and is never used. And by never, I mean never. It’s the symbol of my excessive lifestyle from 8 years ago. I look at it and just want to fill it in and cover it with Grass. Pools are unnecessary and are only good for “property resale” as far as I’m concerned.

I want to eliminate all the assets that cause me headache and cost, from my life. I want to return to what core things I need to survive and keep me happy and comfortable. After mentioning this to a few friends and colleges it’s become clear I am not the only one who feels this way at the moment. Its become apparent that my generations over-consumption and lack of inner peace is bubbling to the surface of our consciousness’.

Now, I’m no way saying that everything you do must be green (even though it should be) and I’m certainly not saying that you should become a hippy and grow your own vegetables. What I am saying is you should start questioning what & how much you consume, what you think you want to keep yourself & family content & how much chaos you have in your life. I’m saying it’s time to unclutter your existance. From the car you drive to the body lotions you apply, all should be simple, economical, friendly to the environment, not flashy and not an eye-sore to your neighbours and fellow country men around you. You don’t have to consume less, just consume quality & consume art. Always consume art.

Replace your clutter with space. Cut back on advertising exposure and listen to more music, more often. Spend time alone. Spend time with friends that enrich your mind and make you think and laugh. Spend time outdoors. Spend time with your five senses. Cut back on your commitments to unnecessary events and meaningless chatter. Say no. Sit down & eat slower.

I now ask myself “will this bring a smile to my face?” before committing to anything. It may seem selfish at first, but sometimes doing something I don’t want will lead to someone close to me smiling & that in turn will bring a smile to my face.

With physics, every action as an opposite and equal reaction. But with life-simplification, every action will have a larger more positive reaction in your life & those important to you. Swap Chaos for peace, one step at a time. Eliminate Brands, eliminate world news, eliminate ego. Add exercise, add greens, add family & friends.

While studying architecture, 20 years ago, the most important lesson I learned was based on Ludwig Mies vanser Rohe’s quote “Less is more.” This is on what the basis of life should be structured. In all aspects, less is always more. I drive a Vespa scooter. Its small and considered dangerous, but it cuts out traffic (less) and makes me smile (more). It costs me a lot less in petrol, insurance and parking money (less) and saves me time (more).


 

I am not religious, I’m not a hippy & I’m not into saving the environment or sustainable living. I just want my life to be simpler, more user-friendly & kinder to the people who are important to me. I want a smaller home, smaller car, smaller circle of quality friends. I want a bigger music collection, a bigger impact on people, a bigger smile.

Is that too much to ask ourselves?

Spillly

ps. I now want drain my pool, curve the corners and make a skateboarding pool. I will never grow up & You cant make me.






A Modern solution to the poor mans mid-life crisis

By Lifestyle Motivation Skateboarding No Comments

Lets start off by clarifying that I am not poor and not every 40-something man on a long-board is poor either.

On the contrary.

The vast majority of newly re-adopting skateboarders are well qualified, well traveled and well dressed. They are equipped with the most modern online tools & toys and are reaching a point in their lives where they need a little escapism. Escaping the wife & kids or just work is the common excuse, but for some, myself included, its ruling out any life regrets that we may have one day or have started having already. We all come to a point when we realise that life is ephemeral & fleeting, but most balding-grey 40 somethings buy a Porsche. Right?

At the very rubbery age of 20 I stopped skating. I was a street skater and not a very good one. I stopped cause I knew I had reached the limit of my fears of self-harm and started feeling it in my knees & ankles. Its been in the back of my mind ever since I stopped. I now attend skate events, I buy skate videos, I follow skate channels on Youtube and now even “Like” many Skater pictures on Instagram. It all seems rather pathetic, and my friends who never skated, just dont get the appeal of the flo-jo you get when cruising along on four 50mm wheels at 30km/h. I’m not being overly nostalgic, but Man! those were good times!

I recently read this article in the New York Times which sparked a random conversation on Twitter with my equally aged friends, Craig Tim who both never stopped skating since their teens. The convo-timeline went something like this:

Tim: This weekend, lets meet, set you up with a deck and thrash the concrete Bowls.
Craig: Im in.
Spillly: Im scared.
Tim: Pussy

Spillly: No, really. I am..

..and so on and so forth, until eventually I ventured to the local skate shop and bought, with my private-bank credit card, a mid-ranged, mid-priced deck, wheels and trucks and had it set up by some grungy, dope infused teenager, who vaguely resembled myself 20 years ago. Right, all set. Except I needed one more thing: bigger balls. That was resolved by buying a helmet and wrist guards, the least I could do to protect my skinny brittle 37 year old frame. Bear in mind that the combined age of the 3 of us is well over 100 years.

Day 1. The Concrete bowl.

The three FOG’s (Fat Old Guys) rocked up on our Vespa’s with our skateboards strapped to our backs and swapped the Bike helmets for sports helmets.
It took a whole 10 minutes before some 12 year old girl, on a board, came cruising up to Craig & I and politely asked how old we were. I asked how old she was & attempted to explain that it was rude of her to even ask. I haven’t been on a board longer than she has been alive. There I stood, in my original converse all stars, my shiny new helmet with my heart in my throat, ready to “thrash!” or at least that was the word us cool kids used 20 years ago. I never fell once, which was easy considering I hardly moved in 2 hours. Squeezing the sweat out from the sponge in my helmet just showed how unfit I was and how much exercise skating is. Tim, who has more patience than God & has “mad-skills,” made me feel less awkward by politely pointing out that I was here, on a board, doing this!

Day 1- mostly successful.

I have been back on the board a few times and vow to continue to do so for as long as my ageing body will allow, which by all accounts, will still be a few good years. I now lie in bed planning the tricks and carves I’m going to do next, like a Olympian winter luger.
   

So if your life is a bore, your career is killing your spirit, you are thinking of cheating on your wife and are browsing the inter-webs for an affordable red convertible sports car, I have an alternative to all of those, which will re-invigorate your life. You may be called a FOG on the streets, but the level of respect from younger kids on decks is growing & that’s the least of your worries. Its exhilarating, its challenging, its counter-culture (again) and its cheap as long as you have full medical aid coverage. Its Skating for the 40+ generation and its awesome. In an age of high consumerism and information over-load, its so refreshing to go back to the basic feelings you had as a kid, in a gang on your street corner, with an attitude and a cheap toy that brings a smile to your face.

Join the movement. Lets skate!

late submission: Check out this video from Erik and tell me you aren’t a little inspired?

All Pictures taken by Tim Moolman , the Legend.