How money can buy happiness

money buys happiness

Gretchen Rubin has 8 tips on how money can buy happiness (the enduring kind) on her blog “The Happiness Project”.

Use your money to:
1. Strengthen bonds with family and friends: go to that school reunion, the oversees wedding of a friend, that London trip with your sister and spend enough money to fly to Paris and back to go to your mom’s 60th birthday party. This is what makes the memories and make you happy in the long run.
2. End marital conflict: Pay somebody to do those chores you’re always bickering about.(Unfortunately I’m not rich enough to pay a personal shopper or chef)
3. Upgrade exercise: Whether it’s a new bicycle, exercise clothes, running shoes or a personal trainer- getting much needed exercise and making it fun is a good way of spending money on your happiness.
4. Think about what’s fun (for you): Going on trips, playing DOTA, cooking, scrapbooking, doing all those DIY projects on your boards on Pinterest (my new obsession, not doing the stuff, but pinning things on boards on Pinterest!)
5. Ensure serenity and security: Pay off debts and save for retirement
6. Pay for healthier foods: Skip the take aways and junk food and rather invest in health and energy to increase happiness
7. Spend on somebody else: One of the best ways to be happy is to make somebody else happy. What looks like a small amount to you, may make a world of difference in someone else.
8. Think about YOUR priorities: Spend on what makes you happy- if you have enough money then buy those books or DVD’s or a new TV or computer or car or house and enjoy it every day.


Money and happiness


It makes the world go round, it’s all about it, it can’t buy happiness or love, is the root of all evil, it often costs too much, it’s how we keep score. A fool is soon parted with it, you should work like you don’t need it, some are so poor that it is all they have and according to the Russians, when it speaks, the truth is silent.

What am I going on about? Well, it’s all about the money this month. Money and happiness.

Voltaire said that when it comes to money, everybody is of the same religion. The saying goes that money can’t buy happiness, but I’m sure a lot of people will disagree, and mostly the ones who don’t have it.

One thing is certain, we need money. It satisfies our most basic material needs. For other people it is a symbol of their status, success and power. We all think differently- it does have it benefits. In countries where people have enough money and don’t have to struggle to survive every day, people seem happier. When you are prosperous or even when your basic needs are covered you can give attention and time to other things: family, balance, culture, spirituality.

When I think about it, it’s almost like our water crises of the past few years. Water is something most of us take for granted, when you open the tap, it just comes out. Here unfortunately, you can wake up one morning and there would just be no water. With no warning and no indication how long it will last, there will be a drought in town and it once lasted a week! If you have it, you don’t even think about it, but when it’s gone, it can surely make your life miserable.

Unfortunately, enough is not always enough and that is how money becomes your master. We compare ourselves with others, work so hard to earn a living that we sometimes forget to live.
Can money buy happiness? I don’t know, but it can sure help to buy the things that add to it. In fact, like Gretchen Rubin said it in her book, The Happiness Project: “Money, spent wisely, can support happiness goals of strengthening relationships, promoting health, having fun and all the rest.” I can in fact see money as an asset in every month of my Happiness Project: It can help me become organised and be a domestic goddess, I can use it to fly out to celebrate a milestone birthday, see my family, go to weddings and invite friends over and spoil them. I can travel, buy things we love to make our home pretty. It allows me the freedom to study further, maybe start a family and enjoy my hobbies.

After some introspection and of course with the help of Gretchen Rubin’s book (which I bought with money on the airport in Hong Kong), I came up with the following money resolutions for the month of June:

1. Indulge in a modest splurge (and enjoy it!)- I don’t like spending a lot of money and decided at the beginning of the year that I didn’t want to buy things this year before we move unless it is absolutely necessary, but this made me think again. Indulging in a splurge from time to time can make me feel quite happy and gives me the opportunity to enjoy the money I’m working so hard for. Luckily to really get a kick from those “feel-good hormones”, it only works if not done too often otherwise it only is an instant gratification. How much happiness can come out of wishing, dreaming, planning, saving and finally buying that item on your wish list. To really enjoy and appreciate what you bought can make the happiness linger and like the water, really make you thankful for the money that you do have (instead of making you wish for more).

2. Buy needful things- I used to buy the everyday things like soap and shampoo and washing powder in bulk, when I saw a special, I would go overboard. It helps in the long run if you want to save money (and have the cupboard space), but I now realised I like trying new things and buying less groceries at a time (it’s a heavy load to tackle bulk bought purchases all the way to the 8th floor!) more than saving money. This also made me think about how our values change. When I first started earning money, I used to buy so much and mostly things I didn’t need, when I got over that phase, I became so organised that I only bought the things on my list and only that which I need and got such a kick out of an American Reality TV program on extreme couponing. These days I’m still proud of myself if I got something on “sale” but am much more relaxed when it comes to buying things. Now it’s more about the item being useful but still pretty and of good quality and preventing waste.

3. Spend out and use my things- Things are just that, things. What are we saving them for? If I don’t use my beautiful bowls, it is just as wasteful as throwing them away. I’m going to stop hoarding my things, this month I’m either going to use it, give it away or throw it out (especially if it’s worn out, old, blunt or ugly). Trust in abundance, be grateful by using the things we are blessed with- give more, do more, spend out.

4. Be honest with my money. This month I will have to take a hard look at my money matters, bank statements and especially tackle the things I know so little about. I have to take my head out of the sand and look the numbers in the eye. This must be the year where, since I’ve started earning, I’ve earned the least, the most and spent the most. I will also need to stay up to date and save up so that tax isn’t a nightmare next year.

5. Give something up and give something out. I still have to work on this point- I haven’t been such a big spender on any particular area so I’d rather be more savvy with my money and have enough to also give something extra (will need to go and look at my spending before I can work on this).

A few wise men’s views on money…

Albert Einstein: “ The most precious things in life are not those you get for money.”

Benjamin Franklin: “ Money has never made a man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.”

He also said : “Early to bed, early to rise, keeps you healthy, wealthy and wise.”

I don’t know who said this but they must have been wise: “ Money, attitude and ego are like “underwear”- you should not show it, unless you become superman.

My favourite though, must have come from a woman: “ Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy shoes and that’s kind of the same thing, right?”

Things to do after saying “I do”


Ending a month of “Love and Marriage” and entering a new month in this Happiness Project where it’s all about the money, it’s probably a good idea to combine the two, money and marriage.

Unless you marry into royalty or some serious money, all of us have some homework to do in terms of our money before we get married. Luckily for me I’ve been brought up to respect money and not take it for granted and I married into a family where everyone is savvy with this commodity.

Money matters don’t end with the debt some people already make to have the wedding of the year, but if we fail to take off those rose-coloured glasses and look those numbers in the eyes, things might not turn out so “happily ever after”, after all and may in fact lead to trouble in paradise and even divorce.

To prevent problems with money and matrimony, Helena Wasserman (, had some good tips for couples to think about before saying “I do”:

1. Sort out the legalities- make sure you have a marriage contract and think carefully about the difference between in and out of community of property. These days marrying in community of property means you can’t apply for credit on your own, if your partner passes away it might be difficult to access your assets and in insolvency, both of you will be in trouble if one partner is sequestered and both names will be in black on the credit list. In other words, even though you are now keeping both of your chickens in the same pen, there is no need to keep all the combined eggs in the same basket. Make sure you understand the legal jargon when you get that antenuptual agreement made up and signed.

2. Update policies and wills. Once you’re sure you’re marrying the real deal and not somebody a few decades younger waiting for you to keel over in order to get all your money, change the beneficiary on policies and wills to your partner’s.

3. Talk about money- know your partner’s values and fears, hopes and dreams when it comes to money. Come up with common dreams and goals so that you can work and save towards them.

4. Don’t cheat. Financial infidelity where you hide cash under the mattress, have secret bank accounts or assets your partner doesn’t know about should have some warning bells ringing. There should be some mystery in matrimony but money secrets can lead to disaster.

5. Remain equals- it is inevitable that somewhere on your journey one spouse will make more money than the other, one spouse might have no income due to job loss, looking after children, illness or disability. During these times try to keep up with the retirement annuity payments- in the long run you will reap the rewards (when you go on cruises or travel the world once you retired). Never make the other partner feel they have to beg for money.

6. Don’t be sandwiched. Unfortunately many people in our country find themselves in the very difficult position of having to support their grown-up children as well as their parents while still having to work and save for their own retirement. Also save for your own retirement so that you don’t become a piece of bread in your children’s sandwich.

7. Keep separate bank accounts- Kahlil Gibran : “There should be spaces in your togetherness”- to share a bank account means one person will be the account holder and the other person will only have signing rights in other words the signing one won’t be building his/her credit record, the revenue service can take your money if the account holder didn’t pay his/her tax and the account can be frozen. The best here is for each to have his/her own account and then have a shared account for household expenses where each partner contributes according to their income and both can use for groceries, bills, holidays etc.

To prevent some awkward money battles and preserve the harmony of your marriage- be money wise and live happily ever after.

Note: I may have put some of my own limited wisdom in between the expert’s opinions and take no responsibility for any lover’s quarrels or tiffs that might come from this.

Those sly little foxes


“How many times must I ask you to take your cups to the kitchen? Must you leave your shoes everywhere around the house (how many pairs do you have)? Your sweets wrappers are everywhere!” (This is my husband being exasperated with me). I’m actually quite lucky- I never have to complain about toothpaste or toilet seats or towels on the floor- he’s so much neater than me. I’m also sure it will come as no surprise that what I nag about, is the computer (and all the attention it gets).

In Afrikaans we talk about “klein jakkalsies”, the little foxes, those small irritations, that when let loose, will chew holes in any matrimony.

Small foxes are quite personal- what irritates one person, another person couldn’t care less about. That is why it’s so important to know what chews at your spouse, respect those foxes and never do things on purpose that you know will drive the other person crazy.

It’s much easier if you both learn to live with them, try to avoid them and most of all laugh about them, because the foxes will always be there, but love as well!
“Social Allergies in Romantic Relationships: Behavioral Repetition, Emotional Sensitization and Dissatisfaction in Dating Couples”, a very long title about a study done in America in 2005, making quite a list of the irritating things in relationships.

Also found in this study on irritating habits (social allergies), women complained the most (any man could have told you that without even doing a study) and men had more irritating habits (previous point explained).

Here are a few of the things they came up with (some quite universal and some as they would say, “First World Problems”):

1. Makes up stories to impress at parties
2. Uses pet names in public, making me cringe and wondering where I can hide! “Poeksie-Woepsie”, “Koeksiedoeksie” or the worst ones in Afrikaans “pappa” en “mamma”- why people call their spouses “mommy” and “daddy” is still above me!
3. Going overboard with the holiday packing- packing for a week when it’s a weekend away, for a month when going on holiday for a week. Men don’t understand, we need to be prepared for all circumstances. (in our house it’s mostly the other way around- I may have more shoes but my husband’s are bigger).
4. Dragging him along on a shopping trip. Some men just hate shopping, mine included.
5. Can’t read a map or navigate (in our case we call it the curse of the GPS navigator- me).
6. Nagging and complaining too much- maybe we’ve got more to complain about.
7. Taking too long to get to the point of the story- in our case I just talk too much, too many points and too many stories.
8. Being bossy
9. Spending too much money
10. Complaining about the other’s clothes
11. Fiddle with his buttons- in his car, on his computer, on his phone, not those on his shirt…
12. Never changing the empty toilet paper roll (UUURGH!)
13. ALWAYS leaving wet towels on the floor (my husband has to hide his towel in the other bathroom to prevent me from stealing it- needless to say, I never have a towel-my fault, and sometimes no toilet paper- not my fault).
14. ALWAYS leaving clothes on the floor- this rarely happens in our house, I took over the guest room bed, building mountains of clothes there.
15. Not listening to(or looking at) me when I’m talking
16. Burping, Nose-picking, Farting, toe-nail clippings- and all the others in the cave man category
17. Flirting (most men these days hopefully know that the above category doesn’t count as flirting with your wife. Long gone are the days where you had to hit your wife over the head to get her into the cave.)
18. Feet on the couch or table
19. Being drunk
20. Being late
21. Complaining about any of the above
22. Interfering with the braai (this one, typically South African, was added by the author).

And many more…

Luckily these allergies may lead to some sneezes but never a divorce and the other great news, the modern toothpaste tubes we’re using these days don’t need squeezing from the bottom, unfortunately someone still has to put the cap on.

Happiness is… love

From the archives of Last Lemon, spreading happiness everywhere!
Because what says it better than pictures?



By strange and unfortunate co-incidence my month of rekindling romance and love and happiness in our marriage, falls in the same month as the DOTA international championships (TI4), for which my husband already bought a compendium ticket and joined a fantasy league. (In his defence the total prize money is nearing the 6 million dollar mark.)

Instead of our cups being filled with loving gestures such as hugs, kisses, cuddling while watching movies, washing dishes, making deserts and date nights, our cups runneth over! Mine with work and his with qualifiers, teams, matches and boys nights in front of the PC with virtual and real friends.

As with everything, I did a small amount of reading and research and to my horror found that many girlfriends and wives actually have it much worse than me. The general line is that you can’t be a serious DOTA player and have a girlfriend, and if you think or say you have one, you’re kidding yourself. Many girlfriends actually started playing just for some quality time with their boyfriends and there are many cartoons, chat rooms, support groups and jokes on the internet about this very issue.

I also checked out the competition (no, not the other teams, the other women…) I might have to find myself some agility and intellectual skills or boots/crowns/rings or maybe just some tight-fitting clothes and an interesting name such as Luna or Wind Ranger, maybe Crystal Maiden or Akasha, Queen of Pain.

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I asked my hubby to show me a game or two and explain what he does while he plays against the computer- he was farming (slashing down dead trees and killing creeps in the “jungle”) or jungling in order to collect gold and experience to buy clothing articles that give more stats until he was strong enough to help his other team mates (I found it very difficult to discern between creeps, allies and enemies) kill the other team members. What’s nice about the game is that you don’t actually die. You have unlimited lives but have to be reborn every time somebody kills you and that wastes valuable time (you could have been killing creeps or gotten your courier to bring you more items in that wasted dead time!).


What I missed out on, “learning” to play against computers, was the communication between team members. I usually have to remind my hubby in the midst of a team battle or when some or other noob is farming while he should be mid or bot, to not be so harsh with the poor kids his playing with. I also don’t allow swearing (it would be horrifying if we one day have kids visiting their grandparents, talking like DOTA players!!!).


Even though I found the game a bit confusing (and I still struggle to see the fun part- I like games where you can build stuff or work out strategies or have to solve some clues or learn something new), it was fun seeing my husband so excited to teach me. It was the first time I actually showed some interest (instead of an eye roll and a sigh while shaking my head) and he loved it. He was so sweet, teaching me, asking me if I wanted to play and looked as excited as a little boy showing off his toys.

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It makes my husband happy, and I’m happy if he’s happy. Besides, I won’t like it if he says he doesn’t like it if I read (that said, I usually first finish dinner, chores and work before I do it and it is much quieter with much less profanity than his hobby).

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For now, I’ll take being a DOTA-widow, catching up on sleep, going out with friends and maybe curling up on the couch with a blanket and a book. Luckily it’s winter soon and we’ll see who wins then- a hearty meal and wife or virtual friends and scantily clad two-dimensional women.

It’s quiz time


“Know thyself”- wise advice from Plato, and still so true today.

These days we have it easy- the internet is crawling with quizzes where you can find out anything about yourself: What flower or animal or fairy tale character you are, what colour your aura is, which Game of Thrones character you are, what you should be doing and in which city you should actually be staying.

I now know that I’m a fairy with a silver aura with the name of John Snow and that I should be a professor (the picture they gave was Professor McGonagall) staying in London. How well do I now know myself and how perfectly I’ve been procrastinating and wasting my time.

Aptitude tests were unfortunately of little use while tests where they do brain profiling and see what you would actually like to do were much more useful. Recently after my mom-in –law told me about the Enneagram and how accurately it pinpointed her personality, I had to try it for myself. After the short test was inconclusive, I tried the formal, longer one, and guess what- I scored exactly the same in 3 different personalities. That may explain a few things.

I cornered my poor husband to do the 5 love languages quiz and here we also scored across the board with high scores together in four of the five categories- unfortunately two different categories for each of us. My husband needs physical touch and words of affirmation, while I appreciate acts of service and quality time. At least we both scored lowest in the “gifts” category which would probably explain our anniversary gift track record.

For our first anniversary (paper) I gave my husband a photo book with pictures of our first year together, his mom gave me an e-reader. We skipped the gifts for the second anniversary and rather stayed in, making and eating dinner together. We later realised that we actually took the gifts of china literally because we went to China for a trip.

It’s our third anniversary on Wednesday and this means leather (in Afrikaans, leer, which could mean leather or learning). I wouldn’t mind a new leather handbag or shoes, my husband jokes about getting me another type of leather outfit complete with whip. We then joked that we actually gave each other the gift of “learning” this year- he already studied and passed his entry exams and I figured I would also like to start studying soon and maybe get a post in psychiatry next year.

For now, out of love (acts of service) I’m back to typing up my husband’s logbook of all the surgeries he performed these past few years in order to update his CV. Maybe I’ll throw in a quiz or two – I’ve always wondered which Sex and the City character I have most in common with…

It’s May!


I’m back after so much fun and leisure that I didn’t even have time to read or write. More on my travels and adventures will follow at a later stage, for now, April mission, accomplished.

Now we find ourselves in the month of May, or like Julie Andrews sang in Camelot: “Tra la! It’s May! The lusty month of May!”- my husband would think it’s an excellent theme song for my May Happiness Project. I associate the song with spring but here at the southern side of earth it’s becoming winter, which is fine if you have somebody to cuddle with at night.

May’s Project is all about love and marriage, quite fitting since we are also celebrating our third wedding anniversary this month.
With help from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, I adjusted some resolutions to make my own recipe for a happy marriage- a good month to test it out

1. Relax, lighten up, have some fun and add some joy – last week on the train to Versailles, I was a bit annoyed and irritated by bouts of giggles coming from somewhere behind me. With the pitch getting higher, the volume louder, the bursts more frequent and other people starting to grumble, mumble and give some killer looks in the general direction of the commotion, I stole a glance. There it was, the source of the merriment, a teenage boy sitting across from two teenage girls. Here I was in the city of love, on my way to a romantic setting and I forgot that feeling! Feeling more amused now and a bit stupid, I realised that after a while we become so pre-occupied and busy with our own things that our loved ones sometimes annoy us with amorous intentions- we should learn to enjoy and savour those moments and maybe giggle a bit as well.

2. Quit nagging and don’t expect praise- hopefully accomplishing number 1 will help with this. Ask once, do your part and don’t always expect the other party to see all you have done or even be grateful. Try to remind yourself that you do things because you want or have to, so nobody needs to praise you for it. The other side of this is true as well, be appreciative of things your partner does and try and be just that- partners and friends. The other thing I learned while being away from my husband for these past few weeks, is that we are too quick to get angry with a spouse, almost as if we expect of them what we expect from ourselves. So I’m adding here- be slow to anger and quick to love and appreciate.

3. Read about the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman- my husband already agreed to take the quiz and read the appropriate chapters with me. Act of service- check. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t do that- don’t keep score.

4. Fight right- we realised that we both have our own ways of fighting dirty and after our last fight we discussed it and promised ourselves that next time we’ll do better (luckily we didn’t have time to put our fighting into practice yet). The everyday squabbles we’ll try to have some fun with.

I’m off to vote (with my husband), celebrating my right to do so as well. Enjoy May and springtime, or winter and your loved ones.
Here’s the lyrics for those who haven’t seen Camelot before- you can even see Julie Andrews singing it on YouTube.

The lusty month of May- Camelot
Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It’s here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!
It’s May! It’s May!
That gorgeous holiday
When ev’ry maiden prays that her lad
Will be a cad!
It’s mad! It’s gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,
Ev’ryone breaks.
Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!

Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?
What sweet feelings does its scent transmute?
Whence this perfume floating ev’rywhere?
Don’t you know it’s that dear forbidden fruit!
Tra la la la la! That dear forbidden fruit!
Tra la la la la!

Tra la la la la [etc.]

Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That darling month when ev’ryone throws
Self-control away.
It’s time to do
A wretched thing or two,
And try to make each precious day
One you’ll always rue!
It’s May! It’s May!
The month of “yes you may,”
The time for ev’ry frivolous whim,
Proper or “im.”
It’s wild! It’s gay!
A blot in ev’ry way.
The birds and bees with all of their vast
Amorous past
Gaze at the human race aghast,
The lusty month of May.

Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It’s here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear.
It’s May! It’s May!
The month of great dismay.

When all the world is brimming with fun,
Wholesome or “un.”

It’s mad! It’s gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,
Ev’ryone breaks.
Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!

A bucket list

I haven’t thought much about a bucket list yet. Maybe I still feel too young to think I might die someday, or maybe my life is full and busy enough that I don’t care. Sure, there are definitely some things I would really love to do before kicking the bucket- I would love to dance the tango in Brazil, kiss my spouse with the Eiffel Tower in the background and swim with a dolphin.

My sister is more goal driven than a bucket list- never mind before she dies- before she is 30 she wants to see thirty countries. She wants to see all the UNESCO world heritage sites as well as all the national parks in South Africa and she wants to climb Kilimanjaro. That’s wonderful, but what’s left? Probably 50 more countries before she turns 50!

I’m not doing my bucket list now but am compiling a London list and Paris list and I’ll cheat like my sister- in- law and add some of the things on my bucket list afterwards (and be able to scratch them off immediately)- that’s how she does “To Do-lists”.


I’ll keep you up to date. For now, I’m trying to figure out a new Afrikaans blog, roughly translated- “Two sisters, a kingdom and a continent- travelling the United Kingdom and Paris”, in order to show our pictures with a description of what we are up to, to our family and friends. I’ll write about some of the more interesting stuff we get ourselves into here as well (with pictures).

This year I’m focusing on my happiness project but next year I think I’ll compile a bucket list. 2015 is the year of starting on my bucket list (with some items already crossed off between this and last year).

With butterflies in my stomach…


April- serious about fun

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April is the month where I’m trying to be serious about fun. Since I’m spending most of the month abroad, on holiday, with my sister, I thought it would be fitting.

Fun is doing things because you like to and want to and not because you have to. Play (defined by researchers as an activity that is very satisfying, has no economic significance, doesn’t create social harm and doesn’t lead to praise or recognition), should be made time for. This blog is part of playing for me and because I haven’t had much play-time lately, I can feel the dullness creeping up from all work and no play.

Having fun makes you twenty times happier than those who don’t! Having no fun at all makes you glum, boring and just plain sad. Gretchen Rubin has a few important pointers about fun in her book, “The Happiness Project”: Bring in some novelty, remembering that what is fun for others doesn’t have to be fun for you. There are different types of fun- challenging fun (here you actually have to sweat/plan/work to have your fun, but in the end it’s the most satisfying kind), accommodating fun (Seinfeld once said “There is no such thing as fun for the whole family”- sometimes it’s not all fun and games to host the family, arrange a trip or try and keep everybody happy, but looking back it’s those kind of things which lead to happy memories) and lastly relaxing fun (listening to music, playing computer games, reading a book or watching television- no work only passive fun).

fun and leisure

What I’ve learned during my own happiness project so far is that I enjoy my “leisure time” now much more than the “time off” I allowed myself in January. It’s much nicer if you “deserve” your fun.
With the help of GR’s resolutions I borrowed some again for myself.

Here it goes for April:

– Find more fun- what you enjoyed as a 10 year old is probably what you will enjoy now. Be myself, be Janine. As a 10 year old I liked reading, writing, learning, watching television and singing. Visiting my friends, playing “teacher” and routine were some of my other nerdy favourites. I’m still a nerd and proud of it with all of the above still fun. These days I also like meeting new people and doing new things (especially if they scare me a bit) and being a bit silly at times. I must also try to find fun at work.

– Take time to be silly- recently I’ve become quite humourless (because of stress), where “That’s not funny” became part of my vocabulary and I could have been much happier if I was just a bit more light hearted and allowed others and myself to be silly. Being preoccupied with work and being distracted by responsibilities and things to do makes us humourless. To create a happy atmosphere at home you should not only take away the negative things but add laughter and silliness. Try to see the ridiculous side of things.

– Go off the path- harness my adventurousness. Some people are always eager to go to new places and have new experiences while I have to push myself. My new plan is to say YES unless there is good reason to say no. Start an “interest log”. Carry a camera and capture the fun. Today I missed out on an awesome opportunity of a man sitting on the back of a pick-up truck (a bakkie as we say in South Africa) on a throne of plastic chairs being taken somewhere, relaxing like a king with a bottle beer in his hand. Only in South Africa!

– Start a collection. I’m trying to not keep on to stuff and stop spending on unnecessary things, so I’m collecting stories. Any interesting, happy, sad or funny story becomes part of my collection. This is fun!

Enough for now, I’m off to have fun at my leisure! Will keep you up to date, even if only recapping what I did this month, next month as I’m almost off to London-Edinburgh-Paris! Au’revoir!

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