Any journey into self-discovery starts off with the things you don’t like about yourself.
We have somehow come to believe that there is something wrong with us. In primary school, my shorts worn during sports were too tight around my legs and I was teased about it, now I have beanpole legs and get teased about it. In high school I swam competitively for Gauteng, often finishing in the top three. In my training, I swam 5km every night and was hugely fit. Yet felt underweight at 6’2’’. Now I have 17kgs more padding and feel fat.
High school is the place we find our teenage self. The time we discover sexual preference; the type of personality, the geek or the jock. I started going bald at 16 and somehow thought this made me less attractive. Now I shave my hair short and don’t even think of it. Being different at school and through Varsity wasn’t easy. I loved classical music, my peers enjoyed Rave music. Going out for drinks I have a whisky or red wine while they had cocktails of varying colours, shapes and sizes.
My wife and I joke about her youth, her sleeping on the empty inner bag from box wine. What really brought into my own sights that I didn’t like myself was a comment made by my neighbour. We share a birthdate and had a get-together, his 30th, my 34th. The comment unravelled when I bought yet another car (I change cars every year), this time a jeep and not another classic Mercedes Benz. “You’ve stopped buying old mans cars” he said. I was offended that he thought I was an old man. A statement that has followed me most of my life…
Why did I take such offence? We never criticise an old person for being "young at heart". Why can't I just be happy with who and what I am?
Happy? Happy that I’m different. My answer is no. Or not yet. But I do want to be happy. Happy on the outside, and the inside. “Feel comfortable in your own skin”. Well I can’t feel comfortable in someone else’s skin, can I? I started with a few simple things I like about myself. The list started off short. Mostly physical. Then my intelligence. Then my inner self. Over a journey of a few weeks, something came out.
I am me. I am different in the things that matter, and so very much the same in the ways that don’t.
I have my health. I have started boxing again, and my body has started firming up. My short temper is better.
I have a wicked sense of humour and make people laugh. I have a great general knowledge, and use it in the game “60 seconds”.
I have two daughters who think I’m awesome. Loving yourself isn’t easy. But you are the only you in this time and space. Be you, in whatever way that is. My greatest ambition is not to be hugely wealthy, but rather to be happy.
That journey starts with me…
“Be the type of person your dog thinks you are.”