Entitlement Issues – Why The World Owes You Nothing

 

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There is no such thing as society…There are individual men and women and there are families’.

Maggie Thatcher famously made this statement in 1987 and even though I was only one (ish) at the time for some reason it resonates with me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a cold-hearted biatch just like the Iron Lady herself? Or that I live in a world where certain people feel the need to rant and rave, making a huge political statement about their personal issues on social media?  If it isn’t your local bergie DEMANDING that you cook them a hot meal (because even though they are starving a peanut butter sandwich just isn’t going to cut it), it’s a kid without a Matric certificate asking to be hooked up with a job just because they need a bit of cash money , or my personal favourite – the god-awful Baby Mafia wittering on about why the government can’t give them 7 years maternity leave (cos apparently that’s how long you need to breastfeeding – you wonder why we have to deal with so many Mama’s boys these days!), it seems to mean that everyone and their dog these days is ENTITLED.

Yes, the world is a bit of a #shithole and life isn’t fair – BooHoo!

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the world is a wonderful place. It really isn’t. To be honest it’s a bit of #shithole. In my humble opinion, people really need to start thinking twice about whether they really want to be bringing precious little people into a world where the likes to Trump and Zuma are in charge and where it seems there is some sort of perve at every corner. On top of this, life is not fair. I wish it was but it isn’t. We are not born equal. Some people are born into poverty or to parents that couldn’t care less while others are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Some of us are blessed with brains, others have beauty, a lucky few have both and sadly some people have neither. But basically, it’s all bit shitty.

Sure, the government should help level the playing field 

I have to say, I’m in agreement with good old Maggie’s thoughts when it comes to society. It’s pretty much a social construct and basically a bit of a fictitious way of organizing people and trying to get us delinquents to behave. Sure, the government has a responsibility to help level the playing field. Providing things like basic education and healthcare works in the country’s favour because a bunch thick shits and sick people aren’t much good for the economy now, are they? That said, not all governments think the same. Politicians are a bit corrupt. Like most people, they generally look after themselves and their own family/network of corrupt buddies first (what she said about individuals and families). Some countries the governments have the means/will to function better than in others but still they are under no real obligation to provide everyone with EVERYTHING they need.

Oh and that thing we call society? It works as far as it serves our own needs. Think about it. Honestly, how many people would you lay your life down for? I could probably count them on one hand, if that. And her is some food for thought for the Baby Mafia, who are ever so keen to have the childless members of society foot the bill for them to stay at home and cuddle bubba all day.  Think about those miracle stories about mothers who somehow manage to lift burning cars in order to save their babies. These chicks aren’t necessarily the types benching 200 in the gym now, are they? No. It seems they only manage to find these hidden BIG MAN muscle strength when it comes to their own kids, but it’s hardly like they run around saving randoms all day. Go figure.

Regardless, some people will still screw up and look for excuses (and other make a success of themselves against all odds)

Even if the government/society/the Bank of Mum and Dad gave a person every opportunity there are those that would still manage to mess things up royally. Shit happens to the best of us. But there comes a point when you need to stop blaming the rest of the world. Yes, blaming racist Maths teacher that held you back a year when you were 12 for the fact that you don’t have a Matric certificate at the age of 35 isn’t really going to solve anything. Night school will though, but let’s rather just take the easy way out and play the race card. On the flip side, you’ll find that there are people who are dealt a rubbish hand but manage to handle all the knock backs with grace and come out more successful and fabulous in the end. I guess it’s what you want to make of a situation.

Life is also about making good decisions and taking accountability

The most basic decision has the potential to impact our lives in the most profound of ways. Think of that movie, Sliding Doors. The choice about whether or not you stay at a party for an extra drink could be the difference between you meeting the love of your life or going home to cold bed. Similarly, the career path we choose, where we choose to live, the connections we choose to make all effect where we end up. So take accountability.

If you happen to have a rare set of skills because of what you chose to study or you marketed yourself well, you might find you are hired by a company that provides great benefits because to them you are irreplaceable. If on the other hand, you are one of those that  followed your dreams (or just do sweet F.A with your life) and got yourself some bog-standard arts degree like millions of others, don’t expect anyone to keep your job open for 7 years or whatever. It’s supply and demand. Economics 101. Deal with it.

So it’s up to us to make the best of the hand we’ve been dealt

So to tie up this rant on entitlement. Basically, nobody owes us anything. Not government, not charity, not the neighbour down the road and not even the selfish parents who bought you into this world! Life is pretty much like those lucky packets you get when you are child – you never know what you are gonna get but sure they’ll be a some trash involved! While it may suck to be born girl in man’s world or be an ethnic minority in a place which is not truly color blind, you may be blessed (well, pre Brexit days) with a British passport and half decent family that don’t want to kick you out of the house the moment you turn 18. We all have to make the most of the resources we have at our disposal. As for the Baby Mafia rants – well yeah it sucks that William and Kate get to pop out heirs to the throne without having to worry about maternity/paternity leave but that’s not the reality of the rest of us plebs. People need to evaluate their situation before they choose to spread their legs rather than complaining about the government/employer/family/friends/random charitable folk aren’t supporting you to play house for a few years longer. None of us are entitled to anything. So if you want something enough, you make it happen and if not you spend you life bitching, moaning and complaining on social media.

What are your thoughts about our entitlements ? Do we have the right to demand things from the government/our family/friends/randoms, etc? Or should we really just fend for ourselves if we want to get something sorted? Go wild in the comments below.

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Flirting, Secret Signs and Making Something Out of Nothing

fliritngSome people are great with the matters of the heart since they’re teenagers and they can always see through people’s intentions. Most of us, however, need some experience to learn to recognise whether the person we’re interested in is also interested in us. Others seem to never learn.

Secret Signs or Wishful Thinking?

When I was young I used to develop crushes. I’d observe the person I liked and convince myself that he was also interested in me. He smiled, he said “hi”, he replied to something I said – anything really could be interpreted by me as a sign of him liking me too. I could go on for weeks on one secret sign making up a whole story of our future together in my head. I was probably the biggest dreamer in my friends group but other girls weren’t much different.  We would talk and talk and talk. Nothing would really happen with the boys, though, regardless of our overblown expectations.

Most of us once we gain some experience with people who are actually interested in us, realize that these people don’t send secret signs. The behavior of a person fancying someone is rather obvious, often to other people too. Of course, you have people who are more shy than others but even they manage to send a subtle yet direct message. The lesson here is that if you have to look for secret signs in someone’s behavior, seeing them is most probably just wishful thinking. Realizing that will make you save a lot of your precious time. He/she may be amazing but you need two to tango.

Meaningless Flirting

In some parts of the world, making eye contact with someone of opposite sex is pretty much expressing that you want to marry them. This isn’t the case in the Western world. Looking at someone may mean that you appreciate their physical beauty, that you find them repulsive or that you like their pants. On its own it’s truly meaningless and so is flirting. Whether someone is making small talk or actually flirting with you, it means that he or she is potentially interested in you in some way. However, even someone who flirts with you every time he sees you isn’t making you a promise. Being interested is one thing, being interested enough to actually make a move is another. Unless the person makes a move or reacts positively to you making a move and you two end up on a date, there’s nothing to write home about. Sure, it’s irritating if someone you fancy is not truly following up but you should take such behaviors at face value. You guys are flirting and that’s it. Enjoy it for what it is. There’s no promise than anything else will come out of it so don’t get hang up on it.

Making Something Out of Nothing

There’s this saying in Polish that translates into “When there’s no fish, a crab is a fish”. It applies perfectly here. Part of the reason why my female friends and I, as teenagers, would make something out of nothing was that we didn’t know many boys. We went to a predominantly female school and even if we increased our chances of meeting men by attending karate classes, after eliminating all the guys who were our fathers’ age and/or married, guys our age with girlfriends, the undatable ones and the crushes of our friends there still weren’t many men left! In other words, if you liked a boy and there were some chances that he would like you back, fantasising about him actually didn’t seem like a terrible idea. The difference between this situation and an adult woman describing to everyone a guy at the gym who smiles at her as dating potential, is massive. We had not much choice! Adult men and women have so many opportunities to meet other people in our modern world. There’s work, there’s social life, there are limitless activities no one will judge you for taking up on your own, clubs related to your hobbies, let alone online ways to make friends such as MeetUp or regular Internet dating. There’s honestly no excuse these days not to give oneself enough possibilities to stay cool as a cucumber till something is really happening (as opposed to: in our heads)!

To sum up, secret signs are good for teenage crushes and not for adults. Flirting is just flirting so hold on with telling everyone and their dog about your new potential relationship because it’s far-fetched and embarrassing. Last but not least, make sure your social life is busy enough to give you enough opportunities not to turn into a crazy stalker just because someone smiled at you.

Do you know people who as adults still can’t see clearly in terms of opposite sex? Are you guilty of too much wishful thinking?

What If You Don’t End Up With The Love of Your Life?

Dear Abby

‘You’re not my ex, You’re the love of my life’ 

What would you do if you heard such words? Would you :

a) slap the fool and burst into tears

b) throw yourself into his arms, say all is forgiven and sail away into the sunset

OR

c) Say ‘Well, sadly for you those two things aren’t always mutually exclusive’, have a bit ponder, write a blog post about it (then swiftly move onto bigger and better things!)

Fairy tales and Hollywood movies have us all hooked on the concept of ‘Big Love’. You know, the kind of story where your eyes meet across a crowded room, a twist of fate results you both walking down the same street and the same time or he sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a magic carpet ride. Of course, these stories contain a few hiccups and miscommunications along the way, a village full of provincial fools that has decided your guy doesn’t look quite like a Prince so they try to slay him or some ho-bag that tries to get in between you and your man. Whatever the case, because this is ‘The Love of Your Life’, everything falls into place, you iron out the issues, punch the bad people in the face and subsequently live happily ever after. THE END.

But the thing is in real life, love doesn’t always work out that way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a total cynic (yet!). Probably because I’ve been there and done that, I still believe in (elements of) Big Love. I still believe there are real life stories that are worth telling your grand-kids (although I honestly doubt they can ever involve Tinder).  However, as we all know things don’t always go plan and there maybe some alternatives to that happily ever after bit. Yes, if you are lucky, you may only ever fall in love once in a lifetime and  marry that person, move to the burbs, adopt a puppy (because happily ever after MUST ALWAYS involve puppies) and perhaps pop out a few of those crying things.

Sadly though, the world isn’t fair and we don’t all get dealt the same hand. So here’s what those fairytales don’t tell you. Sometimes we do meet the ‘Love of Our Lives’ but we don’t necessarily get to stay with them forever and live happily ever after. Ugh, surely this makes that little girl inside of you wanted to stomp the feet and burn all the Disney memorabilia she ever owned! I’m sorry!

The truth of the matter is that in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. Sometimes the people we love do unforgivable things. Love may not resolve every conflict. It certainly can’t cure Cancer. Love doesn’t always bridge religious or cultural differences either. There are also times where love can’t fix a person who is totally off the rails, unhinged and  determined to self-destruct. And what about when life pulls you in different directions? You want to pursue a career that takes you around the world and they are happier living in a small town close to their family (mummy’s boy! Jokes!). It is possible to have ambitions that are bigger than a relationship. And sometimes you are forced to let go of someone you love because it’s best for them or for the both of you. And there are other instances where you have no choice in the matter whatsoever.

But none of this means that the love wasn’t there in the first place. The fact that you don’t end up together doesn’t mean that the whole thing was nothing more than some stupid farce. While the end goal may (or may not be) happily ever after, just because you didn’t get the result everyone is after doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. If it was even partially a good experience that you can look back somewhat fondly well then it’s probably better some of those seemingly solid marriages out there.

So, yeah you don’t always marry the ‘Love of Your Life’ but it’s not the end of the world. Who knows what the future holds for any of us? Maybe that particular chapter was intended to help us grow up and know how to act when a more pragmatic match came along? Perhaps it was a pretty important stepping stone on the yellow brick road to happily ever after?  Or what’s to say there can’t be another ‘Love of Your Life’ around the next corner. Because those fools who wrote the fairy tales may have just forgotten to add the plot twists. And even if you don’t get the white dress and the dream wedding, at least having an epic story to tell is better than dying a virgin!

So Rinsers…Do you think it’s possible to have a the ‘Love of Your Life’ but not end up with them? Or do you believe that if it really is love it will conquer all? And is it possible to have more than one epic love story in a lifetime? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

“Hi. Do you want to be my friend?” and Other Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Woman

doucheThis post is going to be slightly ranty in nature. Perhaps I will express in it, however, some struggles that women deal with daily.

Last year, I decided to start a writing group. I’m a part of an expat community and at the time it seemed like a good idea to start it there. A part of starting such a group is introducing yourself to the community, which obviously makes sense. How otherwise would people find the group? When I created my spammy introductory message and sent it to the members I expected to be mostly ignored. After all, most people are not writers. Surprisingly, a lot of those who received the message did reply in a very polite way refusing or accepting the invitation. I felt for a bit like the world was a nice, welcoming place.

After the initial wave of nice replies from both genders, I started to be contacted by various men, who clearly didn’t think the message was sent to everyone. In their opinion, it seems, I have sent this personal message to them specifically. Must be, because they’re so hot and I’m lonely and confused as ladies often are. “Hi there. Thanks for the message. I’m not a writer but how about you give me a call on XXXX-YYY-ZZZ?”, “Hi! Don’t do much writing but I’d love to meet up for a coffee”, “Hi! Not a writer but do you have plans for New Year’s?” and my favorite of all, “Hi! Thanks for the message. Do you want to be my friend?”. Eventually to protect my privacy and prevent these people from reaching me on other channels, I changed my surname to initials only. Then I realized that I made a terrible mistake and I didn’t wear a potato sack on my profile picture nor had I  focused on demonstrating a clearly visible sign of belonging to another man. I updated my profile picture to one in which you can see me, my husband and my wedding ring (hint for the more determined types: this man next to me is not my brother). The messages stopped. I never wanted to be this person who defines herself by being married or in a relationship. As I have written before, merely being in a relationship isn’t an achievement.  At the same time, my life is just easier on different networks if I have a profile picture with my husband.

Men are so disrespectful, treating women like commodities they find in a shop. Oh, what a nice pair of shoes! I’ll just touch it and try it on to see whether I like it. WHAT? This pair of shoes isn’t looking for an owner? What a ridiculous pair of shoes! It needs one! Oh, I see they have one. Nah, that’s okay then! I’ll just keep looking. Many men think about women in such terms. She can be approached at any time if she’s not taken and any opportunity can be used for it. Whether a woman is single or not this is very annoying.

Dear men, the list of ways in which a woman shouldn’t be approached include:

  • Hi.
  • Hi, you’re hot.
  • Hi, you’re pretty.
  • Hi, do you want to be my friend?
  • Hi, wana do coffee?
  • Hi, wana move to my country? I pay for everything (true story)

There are very few women who like to be approached in this way. Sure, being complemented on beauty is nice but it’s also nice to be treated like a human being. There are millions silly ways in which a man can strike up a conversation with a woman, which have nothing to do with her looks. She’ll still know you mostly just thought you like how she looks like and had a good feeling about her but will feel nicer that you put some effort into a conversation starter. If she doesn’t seem interested, just let it go. Also think twice whether you should hit on anyone at all. Are they sending you a message that they’re potentially interested? Perhaps she really just wants to have a glass of wine on her own in a bar. A woman isn’t a child that cannot be left on her own. Last but not least, if someone is being friendly or invites you to join their writing group, they may be actually doing what they say they’re doing. At least try to take this possibility into account.

I’m done for today, Dear Rinsers. Any thoughts welcome!

 

 

 

 

How to Set New Year’s Goals

new_year_goalsI will lose 20 kilos, quit smoking, stop drinking, hit the gym 7 times a week…! Sounds familiar? Perhaps you’re also one of the people who try to make radical New Year’s resolutions every year and find yourself failing in week one and giving up entirely? Is it even possible to set truly life changing goals? I think so, you just have to be a bit more patient.

The biggest problem with achieving New Year’s goals is that people tend to be aggressive and not really realistic about setting them. I don’t know how it goes for you but how I used to do it is I’d watch an inspiring video or listen to a motivational speaker before the new year and decide that “I can change EVERYTHING”. And so I would decide to get abs, quit smoking, cut out negative people from my life and write something substantial. I would even make a proper plan how to achieve those goals because everyone tells you they’re meant to be measurable. Year after year, however, I would fail in achieving any of them. Then I realized that often it’s difficult to know what’s an achievable goal. 5 kilos for one person is more difficult to lose than 20 for someone else and if you spent your life being a walk over you won’t become a champion in assertiveness over night. You only learn what’s too much in the process so as slightly more vague goal like “I want to eat healthier” or “I want to learn to say “no”” isn’t a bad idea. Therefore, I decided to try to be more gentle with myself and just make sure that I’m heading in a good direction.

The year I actually ended up quitting smoking was the year I cut down cigarettes first. As a box/two box smoker I failed every time I tried to go cold turkey. My lungs would really suffer from such a quick withdrawal, I would be sad, extremely irritable and very very hungry. That particular year by cutting down I had a nicotine free life by March with minor side effects. I’m still a non-smoker after almost three years. I think part of the problem with setting goals is that people (in life, on TV, in books) often encourage us to have the big change NOW, while often a small step today will give you more long term. If you have ever done any of the this “change in 3 months” courses or read such books you should know that it never really works this way. You can jump start your development with a 90-day solution but nothing gets done in such a short period of time. A lasting change takes time and sometimes requires mini-steps, especially if a habit has been a big part of your life for a long time. In other words, for instance, if exercising is not a part of your daily routine, you may get ripped in three months but you’ll probably also lose your mojo after that. With such experiences in mind, I’d say that a part of setting good goals for New Year’s is deciding on your direction and steering your life there. Very few people manage to move from couch potato to a fitness enthusiast in few days. Don’t make a resolution to hit the gym every day, rather try to exercise three times a week and upgrade it when you realize that you enjoy it. Part of staying on a good path is realizing that your life is getting better thanks to the change. This is the whole point of resolutions, isn’t it?

Another thing which I find important in achieving goals is choosing things that make sense for us. Life’s busy and perhaps learning 5 new foreign languages next year isn’t what you should be spending your time on. I think a big reason why I’ve been failing at a lot of my goals was that I just didn’t care enough about them to keep going. The abs resolution is a good example. Yes, it looks great when people have a ripped tummy but it’s not an easy thing to achieve. It’s not only about exercising a lot and focusing on this part of the body but also about  being very rigorous with what you eat. This is why, as much as I want to be fit and eat healthy, I probably will never have perfect abs. This goal is just not important enough for me to keep myself in check all the time and skip an occasional treat. Don’t set goals you don’t care about because the problem with one failed goal is that it changes your mindset to “I’m a failure”. If you’ve set ten goals that year and you failed at one, you’re actually less likely to achieve the other ones. This is why it’s super important to set a few non-aggressive goals around things that matter, if you really want to see yourself changing.

Last but not least, you need to want to change. I know it sounds trivial but it isn’t. All the times I tried to quit smoking before I actually managed to do it,  I didn’t  really want to get rid of the habit. I was thinking that it’s a good thing to quit smoking because it costs me money, harms my health, stinks and for many other reasons why everyone thinks that smoking is bad for you. I was reasoning with myself that I should do it but I didn’t want to do it. The last time I actually decided that I didn’t want to be defined by an addiction anymore. It still wasn’t easy to quit but when you tell yourself “Yes, I can have this cigarette but it will make me want to smoke more and I don’t want to be a smoker”, it has much more power than saying “I shouldn’t have this cigarette”. Remember that “Resistance is futile”. The rule applies to any other goal like, for instance, learning to cook. The element of wanting and not feeling forced (even by oneself) is crucial. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to force oneself to do things, it’s just easier to achieve goals if you consider them to be a a choice based on what you want, rather than a necessity.

To sum up, good goals are those which may be a bit vague but slowly but surely take you in the desired direction, which you actually care about and which you can internalize as a “want”. Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions! Also, please don’t forget that any time of the year is good for goal setting so you can reuse this post later in the year, if you find it helpful.

Any thoughts on the topic, Dear Rinser? Do you have any success stories about goal setting? Maybe tips to share with others?