It’s not often you board a flight on time and once inside, the plane looks ready to leave and all passengers are comfortably seated and ready to go half an hour before the time… Well, this morning that’s exactly what’s happened.

Ready to hit Reunion running, I was up early after a restless excitement riddled sleep and finalized the packing of my suitcase. Suitably weighed in and well within my baggage limit (thank goodness, I’m only going for a week) I was packed up and ready to roll. We bundled the kids, my suitcase and me into the car after a triple check and made our way to the airport – with a brief McDonalds stop of course.

On arrival at the airport, I thought I’d be early but already half the group was checking in and buzzing with as much excitement as I was. The ladies from Air Austral were ready to meet us at check in and seamlessly bags went through and boarding passes were issued. We were each given a little survival kit, energy boosting sweets and syrups to keep the sugar levels up – the expectation that today was going to be a long day. The security queue was fairly short and with little hold up barring the body check I endured because, as always, my piercings set off the alarms. Passport control meant encountering a 25 minute queue and a rather grumpy immigration officer who proceeded to give me talking to for not telling him I was a permanent resident in South Africa – I thought giving my passport to him with the permanent sticker page open would be enough forewarning but alas, I thought wrong.

A few of us headed off to have some coffee while we waited to board, a few laughs and little comfort later we made the quick last minute Lip Ice stop at the Link pharmacy and headed down to our boarding gate. For those of you who didn’t know, there is a boarding gate A00 – it’s almost like the elusive platform 9 and three quarters, not well signed but it does exist – you have to go through a few walls to get there.

There the group stood, all 30 of us although I’m certain most of us don’t know who the others are excepting the short relationships already formed in the wait up to boarding the plane. Greetings, introductions and a peacock display of proudly introducing the companies we worked for were met with nods, smiles and knowing looks – the travel industry is a very small one, we understand each other. 24 travel agents together with airline representatives and the journeys journo’s coming along to document the experience. It was time to depart, it was time for Mascarun.

I’ve been sitting on board this Air Austral plane, comfortably in my window seat since 11am. It’s now 11:40. It seems we are departing on African time, but it’s ok – I’m excited for what’s ahead, we will get there eventually!

Mascarun, more to follow!

The truth of the matter is that I’m no longer the size I once was, who is right? I’m not proud of it either, trust me. I was most comfortable at a size 36-38 before I had another baby, got married and got fat. I’m not hiding it, I don’t shy away from the fact – more importantly, I cannot ignore it. I don’t make excuses, I’m not big boned, I know where I made the mistakes – I did this to myself but the older I get, the more difficult it is get back to where I was.

Like most women (and men) that gain weight, it’s not something I am proud of. It weighs on my mind permanently – pun unintended – and I’m constantly looking for a new way to lose the weight or shake the fat. This post however, is not about my battle with weight loss (for a change) but instead, how the world makes those of us with a few extra kg’s feel.

Unless you’ve been a little heavier than the norm, you will never fully understand the absolute lack of empathy for those of us who don’t fit in the size zero to 8 range. It’s not like I’m a sumo wrestler but my BMI does classify me as morbidly obese, thus making average life a little more difficult. No, I don’t want your sympathy for my weight baggage but I know for sure I’m not alone in the world and am not the only woman with these issues.

Today I went shopping and like every other day, I battled to find anything that would fit me comfortably. As a size 40 or higher, your options are Donna Claire and their odious sense of style, Mr Price’s very limited range that maxes out at a 2XL and the men’s section of most clothing stores. So basically, you’re screwed. Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a little bit but nowadays it’s nearly impossible to find affordable, plus size clothing that are both comfortable and sexy at the same time.

In my quest for a pair of shorts in a comfortable size 44 (yes, I’m admitting it, I’m a 44 / 20 or 3XL) I spent many hours searching in what is spring, the supposed summer season for fashion. I tend to go to stores I know have plus size clothing so first stop was Jet – absolutely nothing about Jet’s plus size clothing is sexy or feminine, in fact, I’m limited to looking like a bag lady when in Jet’s range. The colours are horrid (mustard yellow and first green for summer?!) and almost everything is denim, as if us chunkier ladies didn’t already have chafing to worry about? My next stop was a brief visit to Ackermans, Jay Jay’s and Mr Price – like previously mentioned, anything that looks good doesn’t come in my size and so the brief shopping tour put me in a miserable mood. I then visited Woolworths to see what they had in their range that does go into the 40’s but the sad reality is, they make amazing magic jeans that have panels sucking in the fat and yet nothing comfortable – how hard could it possibly be to find a pair of shorts?! Donna Claire didn’t offer up much short or parachute style shorts that were elasticated, bright red and short enough to show you breakfast.

On my shop today I went into another Mr Price and Edgar’s only to find the issue was the same. Nothing new at Mr P and Edgar’s Penny C clothing offered some office wear and a pair or two of white pants. I’m completely against wearing white pants under any circumstances so they were hardly going to be flattering on me. In a desperate attempt I ended up going into Surf Centre to try on men’s board shorts and even there, it appears larger men would have the same issue – no shorts larger than a 36 (if you consider bigger than a 36 larger).

Finally, by chance I walked into Foschini and came across their ‘News’ range which, thank the pope, came in sizes that worked for us curvier ladies. I was so excited that I bought two pairs of loose fitting pants – comfortable and fairly affordable (not Mr Price affordable). Still though, no shorts. (Note – thanks to my colleague E for recommending News to me).

I read an article when searching for statistics on weight and obesity in this country and globally. The sad fact of the matter is, medically you are considered obese even though you’re not that overweight. According to these stats, 40% of women are obese in our country. I guarantee you that equates to 40% of the female population being a size 38 or higher – a size I consider healthy, beautiful and for me – comfortable.

I get it. People don’t want to promote a fat lifestyle. Society doesn’t want to encourage or enable us to be overweight, and by health law with good reason but at the end of the day I don’t want to be fat and this is a daily battle for me. A daily struggle with myself, physically and mentally. It’s hard enough to deal with the weight issue when dealing with so much scrutiny from others, must the fashion world and the clothing industry make it so much more difficult for us by limiting our wardrobe to hideous colours and limited range – is that all we deserve? Is that all we are worth?

So I ask you, sans shorts and with tears in my eyes, where is the 3rd X? Why do I never find anything decent larger than a 2XL? That’s not entirely true, a little gem of a shop called Retrospective located in Brooklyn Mall do stock my size in their swing dresses that are brought in (Hell Bunny) for which I’m extremely grateful BUT for the rest of you commercial fashion houses, for goodness sake would you just cater for us bustier and bootiful women?!

Guys and gals who’ve experienced the same thing, tell me your thoughts? What do you wish would or could accommodate you as an ‘abnormally’ sizes human being?

Shevy*

Let’s be real. We are not idiots and so I would hope that most of the world’s internet using population participating in this wasteful and useless challenge would realise that pouring ice cold water over your head does not in fact cure ALS, cancer or any other disease for that matter. It is just another way for not so interesting people to gain a little popularity and just a little bit more online attention.

Many of my friends have already participated in the challenge and I have also been nominated myself. The truth of the matter is, it is not a challenge… in fact, if you consider dousing yourself with a precious resource like water a ‘challenge’, I would hate to see how you react to washing the dishes.

Firstly, we need to understand why the ALS ice bucket challenge came about and what exactly it is in aid of. Can those of you who have done the challenge actually say you understand its purpose? And no, the purpose is not to gain internet notoriety along with other mindless drones completing the challenge on a daily basis. Do we as a population not have better ways to show our interest in charity without pouring a bucket of water over our heads unnecessarily and walking away as if nothing ever happened? Also, it is called an ICE BUCKET challenge and more often than not, I do not see any ice. Just saying.

Let me help you out a little… What is ALS? It is not many Al’s standing in one place and no, you are not about to use Al’s ice bucket. In fact, there are no ice buckets being used as far as I can tell. Pretty much any bucket will suffice it seems, including those that look like they’ve been used to wash the kitchen floor since your mom passed it down to you when you left the house.

ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Basically a motor neuron disease that leads to muscle tissue wasting away. I can think of another word for it, horrid. So, would pouring ice cold water over ones head not be a little insulting to ALS sufferers in a way? Do you think that for just a few seconds you understand what it is like to not have use of your muscles because you are too damn cold? So, the challenge is this. Pour ice cold water (not ice) over your head to make people aware of ALS (Not seeing the correlation but anyway) and then challenge others to do the same and should they not complete the challenge within 24 hours, they then need to donate to a charity or the ALS association. So, you are guilt tripping your friends and family into contributing to a charity, which they then do and post themselves doing the challenge AND donating money to charity because they want to be a hero. Did you not get the memo? One or the other. Not both, just one. It doesn’t stop there, oh no. To make sure people understand how much we care and know about ALS, we then go and post a screenshot of our donation onto Facebook because heaven forbid people think we have no soul and lie about our donation.. because, all of your Facebook friends would totally judge you if you didn’t. Right? It is not over, your cousin and his Varsity mates then decide that the ice bucket challenge is far too boring and choose to throw in a wheely bin and an ice cream truck… that is an ice bucket challenge. Next level. But your poor friends friend who featured on the daily mail screamed so loud when the cold water hit her face that she dislocated her jaw – And now she is more popular than ALS because she is on the Daily Mail. Winning.

Do you see the ridiculousness here or is it just me?

Since when did being charitable mean that we have to do such a stupid challenge? Is it too difficult to contribute to a charity without having been nominated to do so and surely you would think that charity starts at home. Before doing the ice bucket challenge for a disease you know nothing about, can you truly say that your family or your closest friends are not in need of your charity? How about your domestic worker, your colleague at work, your neighbour… Is everyone around you so happy and fulfilled and stable that you can afford to waste your time on just trying to be worldwide web famous.

So, back to being real. I cannot even near the end of this piece without mentioning the fact that throwing countless gallons of water over people’s heads who clearly are not thirsty is an insult to the impoverished. Do you take water for granted that much that you can throw it around like that? I am not perfect, I too have wasted water in my time but never to this degree and never in aid of such a pointless exercise. The point of the ice bucket challenge is to create awareness around a rather serious disease, instead it goes to show how wasteful and uncaring the world’s people truly are.

Let’s take a second to remind ourselves that there are many diseases in the world and no one disease is worse than the next. We will all be affected differently by different disease based on personal experience. I for example, have had people close to me die because of depression – A very serious illness close to my heart. Others may have more of a connection to cancer because they lost their loved one in that way… If you feel so strongly about a cause, do something about it. Your miniscule donation is not going to do much but assist in paying a tiny bit of interest on the mounds of debt some of these organisations have. Why not donate your time to the lonely? Why not donate food to the hungry? How is it possible that people on the run in Gaza have time to post a ‘rubble challenge’ video to raise awareness of their war situation and that goes wholly unnoticed?

It saddens me that so many of you have been sucked into this… jumping on a media bandwagon fuelled by the many celebrities and big names that have taken part. I would hope that you think about what you have done and why you have done it. I would hope that you recognise the true problem here is not ALS, a disease no one knows about. The problem? The ability to take something so serious as a life threatening, fatal illness and turn it into a freak show of selfishness. The ability to turn everything around to always make it about ME… because that is just what humans do.

Oh, by the way. You donated in the ice bucket challenge, did you give the car guard a tip?

 

 

 

Without risk, there is no reward. So cliché, so true.

It has been a while since I wrote anything – The contemplation of life, love, lessons and everything in between has forced a digital silence that even I cannot break. A writer’s block I could not shake. A finger break even the most experienced of writers deserve.

A few months ago I made a decision. A decision to give up a career, a future, a reputation that I have spent years working towards… only to regress, get back to the start, go back to basics. A risk I chose to take in order to reap future rewards that I could not yet predict.

The truth is, I am good at what I do. I was good at what I did. I loved my job, the job at the crux of it anyway. I loved being a team leader and leading a team of people with the same goals, dreams and ideals that I had for myself. I loved being part of something bigger and above all, I loved being recognised for what I was doing. It was good to hear people tell me and others just how good I was at what I did and get globally awarded for what I did. My peers, my managers, my leaders… they all recognised my achievements and saw in me potential that at times I did not even see for myself.

I wouldn’t say that I got caught up in the hype, in fact most of the time my reputation was not on my mind – I worked hard, I wanted to achieve the goals that we had set out for ourselves, for our business and was doing anything I could to ensure we got to where we needed to be. Sadly, in the process I went through quite a traumatic personal experience which changed my view on things. I worked long, strange hours in a shift scenario which included working on weekends and a lot of time away from the people I needed most, my family. I gave everything of myself and my time to help someone else achieve their goals and at the end of the day, it was to my own detriment… I believe I suffered an undiagnosed nervous breakdown and after much consideration, I decided the only person who could change my situation was me. I needed to get out of the toxic environment that was holding me down with its negativity and collapse that threatened my sanity.

It definitely was not easy. A lot of back and forward went on within me… Do I stay, do I go? Those who know me will know that I am loyal, to the end. I did not want to resign but was going to do so without additional work for the sheer purpose of regenerating the batteries. I needed a break. I needed a change and I needed to put myself first for the first time in a long time. And so, I did it. I resigned. I gave up everything I had worked for, I gave up my what I thought was my future and I gave up my position on the corporate ladder because I knew in my heart it was what was right.

A few days later I was lucky enough to find another position at my present company, it was scary knowing the risk involved and moving to a commission based salary but I am more than happy that I did.

The last month of work was the toughest, the days grew closer to me leaving and I felt like a traitor. Like I had given up everything and was making the biggest mistake of my life but I knew when I walked out that door on the last day, I had made the right choice. I had done the right thing. I was on the right path.

When I started at the new company, I did not know what to expect but I did know that it would not be easy. I felt like a junior again, like I needed to be re taught despite my skills and the knowledge I have acquired in the same position over the years. I was no longer a leader and had to learn to humbly step down from the task I had become accustomed to. I became the new dog in a land of old tricks and the very idea was daunting. I felt useless. I was a nobody. I was no longer the great team leader / consultant that had won all the awards she did and in fact, I was also broke having taken quite a salary cut based on the commission structure.

The truth is, this risk was not just a risk financially. It was a wake-up call, a reality check and a reminder why I do what I do and why I love what I do. Back to basics, back to quality versus quantity and back to a value system that I longed for in my career. You see, where I was had become like a battery chicken farm… hundreds of unwilling chickens despite their calibre all being kept in the smallest of cages all expected to perform and be the very best chicken dinner. Where I am now? It is a free range chicken farm, a heathy environment with a definite goal and vision in place. The change had not only forced me to see the value in myself and what I have to offer but also in what the future has to offer for me.

I am still a nobody… 3 months is not enough time to prove oneself. It is not enough time to show people what I can do and will do for them and also what I will do for myself. It has not been long enough for me to start reaping the financial rewards and yet the light is now at the end of the tunnel and I am on the up and up. I am motivated and I will show what I am made of, but more importantly I remember that I got into this industry because I want to assist people. Contrary to popular belief, I manage relationships and develop these with my clients – This has made me successful, not my ability to use systems or google.

And the rewards? I have time with my family. My husband, my children – They saw me through the worst and now I am able to give them something back… a far less stressed me! Yes, my husband still cooks every night but at least I am home in time to have dinner with him, it is the little things that matter. Yes, there is still worry and stress, mainly the financial kind, but who doesn’t live with that anyway? You see, I may have been doing well before but I was not happy. Now? I am happy and the potential to do well is there, I am working towards it every minute of every day at the office and I am happy to do so!

Happy anniversary!

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Family, Personal
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Quick post – a happy 2 year anniversary to my amazing husband!

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No, I am not single. Thank the pope. I am not sure that in this day and age I could handle being single (Single mother to boot) on a quest for love – Let’s be honest, it’s a mine field and I sure as hell like the use of both of my legs.

Sick, war jokes aside, the dating game is rough to say the least. There is nothing wrong with being single and NOT looking for love, in fact, if you are not lonely this may be the easiest way of life possible. However, I also know some singletons my own age ready to mingle, looking for love and wanting to settle down… So where do they start? Where on earth do you find a suitable partner to settle down with?

I thought I would take a comedic look (No disrespect meant to anyone) at the ten various hiding places of potential life partners…

1. The local pub.

I am not so sure that this is the place to be meeting and finding soul mates, that said it is not impossible and I am sure there are some lovely personalities to be found at the bar night after night racking up unpaid bar tabs and reeking of a tobacco pipe. Ok, so I am generalising. Not every man or woman sitting at the bar has absolutely nothing to live for and it is quite possible that a lone stranger could truly be out on the hunt for romance – I am yet to come across one but no doubt there are a few (two or three) out there. I guess my concern here would be the guys and girls strewn across the bar counter most nights of the week having come in alone and leaving shortly after closing (because that is how long it took to throw them out) with nothing else to do and nowhere else to go… sadly, if one of these questionable characters tickle your fancy you may be barking up the wrong addiction tree and could end up spending more time car pooling AA meetings than having romantic dinners for two that don’t involve take away pub food. Pub food is only ever good when eaten at the pub anyway… Despite all of the above, pub crawling groups on the sporadic occasion could hold substantial promise for singletons everywhere. My advice – Look out for the guy or girl singing along to the classic pub tunes, mixing it up on the jukebox or dancing with a crowd (Not alone and not swaying, that is just creepy). Try stick to the potentials that pay their bills, do not go to the toilet in groups and make sure they have a safe ride home – in case you go home with them to of course!

2. Church

While this can be a really great place to meet people with common values, interests and goals – It really is not beneficial if you yourself are not an avid church goer – If you prefer sleeping in on a Sunday then this option probably is not for you (No offence intended). If you are not an active member of church and happen to meet a really nice guy on that one day of the year that you did go to church (Easter / Christmas – Insert holiday here) then understand that his/her expectations may be that you do not only attend church once a year and this could make things a little awkward. That said, do not discount church as a meeting ground for awesome people completely – If you really are into someone, religious compromise can always be worked into the relationship. My husband studied to be a pastor and I am a Pagan, it is possible – We did not meet at church though…

3. Online

In fact, we met on the Interwebz. Can you imagine? Thanks to the internet I met my husband so I will not knock online dating completely (if at all). Be prepared for dodginess to creep out of all woodwork possible if this is how you intend to meet the future Mr or Mrs you. There are various aspects of online dating that come into play here. Online dating option 1 is social media – All these free and easy to use tools at your disposal, why not use them to troll the pages of your friends and family – I recommend sending a ‘Like to meet’ list to the owner of the Facebook page you have just trolled and if they love you enough, I am certain they will fulfil your little request at the next gathering they arrange. You can always do what my husband did and add every female possible on the internet to his Facebook friend list (Don’t I feel special) to infuriate a certain person, only to meet the love of his life… RIGHT husband??? :) Option 2 would be subscribing to free or paid for online dating sites – I recommend a paid for site because if you are too cheap to actually pay for a decent profile, how on earth will you afford dinner? Don’t diss online match making, there are people that actually get paid to make Discovery reality TV shows about this stuff so it must work.. you hope. You are always going to be succeptable to the online wierdos so be ready for a few creepy messages and profiles that do not have pictures – Whatever you do, do not entertain those profiles – They do not have pictures for a reason. I am not saying the profile creator is a swamp donkey, it is not about looks anyway, I am just saying that if he says he is 35 and has not uploaded a profile picture of himself then he is probably 65 and freaky – I mean, why lie? If you do happen to cross the path of a profile that tickles your pores then why not set up the meeting? Meetings should always be in a public place, always have an escape route and always have a friend sitting anonymously watching to make sure nothing goes pear shaped. Make sure they give you the tell tale sign / what they are wearing and not other way around so that you can make a quick escape if necessary and make sure that if you do meet your soulmate, he or she DELETES the online dating profile once you get together. If you find out that he or she is married at this point, I am sorry, I cannot help you – Perhaps an SA ID home affairs check for marital status may aid in the decision making process.

4. The office

This is NEVER a good idea. Let’s be honest – If you meet someone at work and continue to work together, surely you would just get sick of each other? Surely after a full day at work together, a car ride home and possibly even living together, you would wear the relationship out before it starts? I am not discounting seeing if the sparks are there but my suggestion would be to avoid dating work colleagues and if you really cannot do that, start typing up a resignation letter and find somewhere else to work so you and Mr or Mrs Right can continue in ignorant bliss while your careers do not suffer in the process.

5. The zoo

This is just odd. If a person is going to the zoo ALONE and you spot them and are interested, you have to ask yourself what the hell YOU are doing at the zoo alone. If there is any form of attraction to a lone zoo visitor, you may have just fallen for a paedophile. I do not recommend this. If, however, the zoo visitor is not alone and has taken his or her kids out for the day – feel free to flirt and fraternise.

6. WODAC

Only recommended if you love dogs, cats, reptiles (trouser snake?) and animal hair on your couches because no doubt the man or woman you meet here is in obvious love with their animals. The downside, you will be competing with an animal. The other downside, this expo only happens once or twice a year at the most so you have long waiting periods between opportunities.

7. Pick up a hobby

A hobby, not a hubby – I do not advocate the breaking up of homes or marriages. My suggestion? Decide on an instrument and then take classes to learn how to play it, chances are the teacher is not bad to look at and perhaps a fling or romance will ensue. Remember, you are not the only student so don’t think that you are the only one having a fling but perhaps, if the teacher is serious about you being the only student, you could work together to teach the instrument of choice. Ok, that sounded totally awkward. How about sewing?

8. War gaming conferences

I had to throw this one in there because my husband is a war gamer though I am not sure that we would still be married today if I had met him at a gaming conference of some sort. The truth is, most attendees are just happy to see a female, if they see you at all. I say this because most of them only look up from the table long enough to throw the dice, take a sip of their cold coffee and page through a rule book. I do not recommend getting too close to a table in fear of knocking over a model or two, this is strangely frowned upon and your cos play outfit will not even save you now. If you do manage to get the attention of a war gamer and he does more with you than reads you his codex, be prepared for a very expensive and time consuming hobby which he will attempt to teach you unsuccessfully and then moan about having no one to play with. On the up side, there is never a shortage of birthday or Christmas gift ideas. Oh, and apparently it is a convention and not a conference.

9. At a festival

Just no. You are at a festival to have a good time, get wasted, watch your favourite band you paid the money to come and see and drink copious amounts of alcohol subconsciously trying to avoid alcohol poisoning and remembering where you parked your tent. While not recommended for meeting new potential mates, I would suggest taking along a few friends that may have a future as your partner – They will get to know you extremely well in this type of setting and if they are still interested once you have gone back home, I am certain they are a keeper. If he or she is the person feeding you beer and carrying you to the porter loo, marry them the minute you reach civilisation – Except if they are in the band, they are probably music teachers.

10. A sports game

If you meet someone at a stadium and you are still interested in them when you leave, they should marry you immediately. Lets face it, there is something about a sports game that gets a supporter overly passionate – The obscenities become more obscene, the aggression more aggressive and the voice box suddenly manages to reach levels of screaming you may not even hear in the bedroom. Stay away from the guys with the combs in their socks, that is never cool and you will probably have to go home and milk a cow. Avoid the guys standing in the queues for beer all the while the game is progressing, only to get back to their seats and the plastic cups have been emptied – You never want to be just a ‘designated dickhead’. I am completely PRO meeting a potential husband or wife at a sports game if you are into sport, remember that when you take the supporter home he or she will continue to support from their couch (Couch referee?) and it is advisable to have SS1 to SS3 at home. Try to avoid planning your wedding on the day of a Super 15 semi final and you should not have any problems… Wish I had read this before I got married.

So by the time I had finished writing this, I have already thought of five more potential meeting places and so a definite follow up piece will be written but in the meantime, I would love to hear how and where you met your partners if you are not single and if you are, have you had any success at the places listed above or do you have any ideas for me to add to the follow up? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

Happy hunting

Shevy

Eating in silence.

Posted: July 11, 2014 in Family, Friends, Random

Sitting at a restaurant for dinner last night, it was hard not to notice the apparent over usage of mobile devices in a social environment. I have always advocated social media and the use of technology, I am in fact an addict and find it very difficult to sit and do nothing when there is a Facebook news feed to be read. That said, I know where to draw the line and one of those lines is drawn at dinner where I choose to have actual human contact and engage in conversation – Surely that is common sense? Alas, it is less common to interact with your dinner partner and more acceptable to eat with your fork in one hand and your other hand scrolling through your Twitter updates.

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Out with the girls, we had our phones out, obviously. We spent some time playing with the camera’s and taking selfies, air brushing our skin after a long day at work and accidentally taking pictures of the diners at the next table which prompted some friendly conversation and quite a few laughs. It was easy to see that we were the most social table in the section, surrounded by human beings devoid of any human interaction or emotion. The saddest part of it all – a young couple behind us having dinner that I spent much time ogling (In a non stalker way – I hope). They sat down shortly after we did, each with their phones on the table, one hand scrolling and the other hand being used for refreshment. The couple did not share one word, not one look, not a nod or a grin for the entire time they sat there. It was obvious they were scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram accounts from the time they sat down, pausing to order from the waiter and not so much as looking up when the food arrived. They continued to peruse their mobile devices as they ate and after they were done, all the attention was once again devoted to their social media.

Excuse me, but when did it become acceptable to leave the house with someone but not say two words to them because whatever is happening on your phone is far more important (For over two hours!). I ask you, with tears in my eyes, what is the actual point in leaving the house? You are probably better off ordering take away dinner, staying in doors and giving each other the silent treatment in the comfort of your own home – Without all of the restaurants patrons judging you?

I have said this many times before – I love social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I do update my Facebook status at least once a day, I have occasionally tweeted about bad service I have received, I have Instagrammed a pic or two of dinner, I have a Pinterest board for my cats and like to update LinkedIn on more business related topics. I do it all and I am proud of it – I am just as proud, if not more so, of the fact that I understand when enough is enough. I know that when what is happening on my phone is more interesting or important than what is happening in my life, a change needs to be made. Life was not made to live through a device – By all means, share what you do with those you love but as my good friend mentioned in his recent blog:

In my opinion you should be posting about experiences with friends, not experiencing posts with “friends”! – Chris Huntingford

(Click here to read Chris Huntingford’s full blog on Social Media)

This brings me to another sore but pertinent point, social networking and gaming – the destroyer of relationships.

When Candy Crush came out, we all downloaded it. We played it until we were ill. We sent numerous requests on Facebook for extra lives and bonus sweets to see how far we could get. Candy Crush morphed into Pet rescue, despite how much we all moaned and groaned about Farmville. Then, if you’re like me, you went and blocked every game app on Facebook to stop receiving requests and invites and made sure that all the games had been deleted from your devices… The phase was over. I realized that I was spending far too much time ‘playing’ these online games that it was actually taking away from my day to day human interaction. Hours would pass in the quest to build my Ice Age Village (Which I was mighty proud of after many hours of hard work) and it was only a matter of time before my dragons were levelling up in Dragon City – Then I sat back and realized how absolutely absurd that all sounds when I have far more important things to do like spend time with my family, converse with my husband or get my chunky ass to gym (Like I am always complaining about).

In a world where we already battle to separate home from work, where we constantly struggle with living to work versus working to live, how did we think that we were so evolved and mature to incorporate yet another split to struggle with – Quality time versus Game time. Well, that is exactly my point. Unless your life is perfect and you can balance every aspect without fail, stress or anxiety… unless your family gets enough quality time and you give your all in everything you do (lacking nothing), the last thing you should be doing is spending hours each night on your phone levelling up. When are you giving life a chance to happen?

I have had to ban the use of mobile devices for game purposes in my home from Monday to Friday. Though my husband will not admit it, he is addicted to social gaming (The latest being Hearthstone or something like it). When did I realize he had a problem? When he got up and walked to the kitchen to make me some hot chocolate and took his laptop with him – he continued playing while the kettle boiled, while he poured the mug and after bringing it to me he quickly raced back to the kitchen to see what was happening. The tell should have been the fact that he upgraded from his cell phone to his laptop… that’s commitment.  While annoyed with me for the ban, he will eventually see the point when we are interacting as a family more and worrying about the games less. When instead of coming home to him couch bound in front of his laptop gaming, perhaps a conversation will take place instead.  He wont get snippy retorts over the work or personal work he cannot get to at the expense of his gaming habit and he will value the weekend game time he has more so than the brief interludes he was getting midweek – The love affair with online gaming. The social mistress.

I have only one request… consideration. Be considerate of those around you when you are staring at your phone or device. Be considerate of your family when it is interaction time and you’re fiddling on your phone. Have some consideration for yourself and the valuable things you could be missing out on – Life is short. Too short. Don’t be remembered for the amount of time you spent online, be remembered for the amount of time you didn’t…

It is all about balance, balance takes practice and practice makes perfect. Don’t be upset with those of us implementing bans, we only want more of your time.

(PS. Thank you to my husband for inspiring a portion of this blog)

(PPS. Here is hoping that somehow, that couple at the restaurant gets to read it).