Just keep swimming

27 Jul

This post is more a check-in than a proper inspired post…So, in case you were wondering, I am still alive and kicking. Barely…

I have had a wee bit of a rough time at the grindstone recently. I am definitely not going to bore you with sop stories about long hours drowning in millions of numbers; chasing/begging/pleading with people; and crapping on people while being crapped on; or give you my lessons learned in corporate politics. I still have my head above the water and I am sure if I carry on a little longer, the other side of the swimming pool will come in sight?

And the following are the positives that I am holding onto today:

  • It is Saturday and I don’t have to work today.
  • I am taking my girls to see the St Petersburg Ballet performing Swan Lake this afternoon
  • I have loads of wine in the house, and all my gas heaters are full. Thank goodness for home deliveries

I will be okay. I am a survivor. And I won’t allow anybody to convince me otherwise.

But, this got me thinking. What is it that make some people survivors? Why are some people able to plough through tough times and come out the better for it on the other side?

Why will some people look back on a bad episode in their life, able and willing to count the life lessons learnt in that period. And other people will forever reflect on the same episode as the reason everything went pear-shaped?

Believe me, I am not saying this because I have managed to survive a few rough storms in my life. I often think that my life story would make a pretty incredible book. The focus on incredible, because I doubt many people that know me will believe some of the stories I have to tell. But the main theme will be one of survival, and that there is always a sunny day on the horizon, even if not in the immediate future.

I don’t know if I will ever write this book. For many reasons, partly because my memory is just shocking. I can remember exactly what I felt like 30 years ago, when my dad had a stroke/embolism in the brain and our lives were turned upside down, but I cannot remember the name of the friendly friend-of-the-family that took me and my siblings in for a month while my mom was spending every waking moment by my dad’s bedside 600kms away.

I am more of a bigger picture kind of person, details are not my forte.

But back to the survival game. Of course I have sympathy for people who are constantly being pounded by bad things life throw at them. I am not for one moment trying to make light the devastating events that happen in other people’s life. But it always amazes me how some people can come out on the other side, able to share their experience and being a motivation to others. And I love those stories. Like the story of Nelson Mandela.

One of the most amazing stories I have ever read is a story about Alison Botha, told in her book I have Life. Alison was left for dead after a horrific rape and attempted murder, but somehow managed to get herself to safety and survived. And eventually the perpetrators were caught and she saw them being sent to life in jail, but not before going through another ordeal in the courtroom. It is an inspiring story about survival, choice and the amazing healing powers of attitude.

And that I think is the crux of it all. In the end, what makes someone a survivor has little to do with physical strength, circumstances or your pick in life, but more about emotional strength, our choices in life and how we chose to let our circumstances shape us, by focusing on the opportunities and being positive.

So, in the words of the world famous blue surgeon fish, named Dory…

dory_2525738bDory:”Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills… When life gets you down do you wanna know what you gotta do?”
Marlin:”I don’t wanna know what you gotta do.”
Dory:”Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”


Posted by on July 27, 2013 in About me


Tags: , , ,

9 responses to “Just keep swimming

  1. Eha

    July 28, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Oh Gerda! OK: the house is warm and you had a drop to fill the glass and you were free for the day and I do hope your girls enjoyed ‘Swan Lake’!! I was six when darling Daddy said I could come along and sit on his lap at the ballet: ‘Swan Lake’!! At about 2am, sensing something was not quite alright, my parents found me in front of the cheval mirror in my bedroom, with toesies bleeding humming the ‘cygnets’ bit and trying to dance tippytoe from side to side the way those four had!!!! The beginning of a love affair!! Perchance you and I should ‘compare notes’ ’cause been there, done that – methinks many of us have and no one would believe the book!!!! How to get thru’: Gerda, we already have!!! You see the glass of life half-full, not half-empty; you realize some days are just best ‘cancelled’; at times you go minute by minute and hour by hour and you know deep inside that it is a case of ‘Yes I can’!!!!! Big hug across the Indian . . . .

    • Justcallmegertie

      July 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

      Aah, Eha! Your comment just made my day. Yes, I absolutely agree. I think it has a lot to do with attitude and knowing that this also will pass. I believe in ‘no regrets’. Even in the most stupid situations you have ever found yourself in, you can learn from your mistakes. I just wish sometimes that I can learn quicker!
      Swan Lake was absolutely gorgeous! The scenes were fabulous, the dancing out of this world and the costumes! I also love that scene where those four dance across the stage with their arms linked. And I love the ballroom scenes. My first ballet was Romeo and Juliet and I wrote a post once about how that begun my love affair with the theatre. I still get thrills every time I sit there with the curtains closed, waiting in eager anticipation for them to open. I am actually quite an easy gal to please!
      Hugs back across the Indian!

      • Eha

        July 29, 2013 at 6:03 am

        πŸ™‚ !!!

  2. Erica

    July 28, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Gerda, what can I say?? ….. Just BEAUTIFUL!!!! Please keep on writing I will definitely be your fan and the first one to buy your ‘first’ book!!!!! Hugs!

    • Justcallmegertie

      July 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Thank you, Erica…will have to think about that one…:-)

  3. Madoqua

    July 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I will also be buying your book Gertie!
    I love reading your posts and can identify with so many of the things you write. I have also been wading through a sticky mire just lately, so can identify with “just keep on swimming!!”
    I am delighted you enjoyed the ballet. Lucky you for having someone to go with, I usually have to go on my own πŸ™‚

    • Justcallmegertie

      July 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks! I am very lucky indeed. My girls both love the ballet and the theatre (maybe because I have dragged them along since they were barely able to sit that long). They both do ballet as well, although I am not sure how much longer the little one will carry on…

  4. Kathryn McCullough

    August 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Wow, Gertie, you don’t think this an inspired post? It’s incredibly inspired. Survival is, indeed, all mental and emotional. I especially love your title, as it’s such a great metaphor for where I find myself right now. Sorry to have been so scarce recently. Been busy working on my memoir. Hope you are well!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Justcallmegertie

      August 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Kathy! So great to hear from you. I have been so terribly busy, that I feel like I am barely keeping head above water. And it has been an emotionally draining time as well. But I am taking some leave (literally to smell the flowers) in a week’s time, so as excited as a kid before Christmas about that!
      Good luck with the memoir! I honestly don’t know how you do that. Every time I even think of writing my story, I get overwhelmed by the work involved and the emotional involvement it would require!
      Good luck!
      G XX


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