Got your attention? Great!
Let me start by saying that most of us have seriously heard enough about the doom and gloom that we are facing in the new normal, post the COVID-19 catastrophe. It is tragic in so many ways. The closed factories, the lost income, the effect on individuals and their families, the decimation of economies, the quick talking, power starved politicians seeking the status of heroism…the list is endless. It is a complete rethink in general for the whole of mankind. This blog in no way attempts to minimize the effect of this pandemic, the lives that are still threatened or the lives that have been taken due to COVID-19. The intention here is to peel away the truth of the world as I see it.
Let me go back a few years. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis – a potentially life threatening and certainly life altering auto-immune disease. My incredible neurologist was able to detect the disease early and put me on the correct medication almost immediately. Now, six years later, my symptoms, whilst not end-stage, have progressed quite significantly. The daily fatigue that has always been there, has escalated to the degree that I am now awake for no longer than 4 hours in the morning and 5 hours in the afternoon/evening. The vertigo and occasional short term memory loss will always be with me and coping with this is both frustrating and challenging. I remember struggling for 60 seconds once to find the word, ‘grateful’ when thanking a colleague. The words are there but sometimes I just cannot reach them. The loss of eyesight if my body temperature rises, has limited me from doing the rigorous exercise I used to enjoy. However, the biggest issue over the past 6 months has been the atrophication – or wasting away – of the muscles in my left leg. This has made walking difficult at the best of times. These symptoms and the steady progression of my disease were the main reason behind my gradual and phased exit from Douglas Jones Mosaics.
As the lock down in SA hit us at the end of March, we were in the process of planning a move of our bedroom from the first floor of our house to the ground floor. The planning of this was not only for my benefit but also for my daughter, Lorén’s benefit. In our family, three out of the five of us have an auto-immune disease. Lorén spent 6 months in a wheelchair last year due to complications with her auto-immune disease, Hashimotos Thyroiditis. This was also the time when she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Although my wife also has Hashimotos, she manages her symptoms exceptionally well and for the most part, has stable thyroid levels. Having the room on the ground floor means that if Lorén or myself has to be in a wheelchair at any given time, there is no stress on the rest of the family to try and carry us upstairs. It also means that I will be able to conserve my energy (which is actually one of the first things they teach you after being diagnosed with MS,) and not have to walk upstairs constantly. I am grateful to my late best friend, mentor and father, for teaching me to ensure that I take care of my family by investing in our future. With all that has happened, I am so relieved that I took his advice!
Sometimes all this seems too overwhelming for words, but it is what it is. With the strength of my wife and my faith, we will overcome! To paraphrase ERIC IDLE, in the controversial but quite hilarious Monty Python classic – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we must (sing it with me…) ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE 😊
Back to the present day… As an entrepreneur and a person whose mind never stops thinking of better ways to do things (even when I am sleeping), I saw an opportunity to distribute gift packs including some quite beautifully designed face masks and other little bits and pieces. These packs have been sent to the many architects, designers and industry acquaintances I have met and dealt with over the past twenty years or so. Just last week, after having sent out over 120 masks around the country (don’t worry Durban, yours will arrive soon…) I asked myself WHY? Why distribute the masks to the list mentioned above? Why had I not chosen family, friends or even the vulnerable who seriously needed them? The answer is – these gifts were my way of reaching out to all my clients and potential clients with an attractive MARKETING tool to encourage potential future sales. While this is business, I have been asking myself if the motive for the gifts was selfish rather than selfless?
The headline of this blog says it all – ‘THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE TRUTH and the truth (as well as answering the question of WHY), is that so many of us are just trying to actually make it through this. Whilst this was most certainly a marketing tool, I also wanted to support other local businesses, in this case, A Love Supreme (Ryan and Leanne Botha) and Kika Promotions (Gavin Welsh). I wanted to make sure that the creative collective knew that they were still very much on our minds and that we still appreciate and value them. The feedback received from those that had the masks delivered, was nothing but gratitude. I am so happy that so many of you took the time to actually let me know that the masks were not a waste but indeed appreciated and worthwhile.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on the POWER OF 8 and why I settled on making the 8 such a large part of the identity of our company. Let’s look at it again. In reading through the explanation, again I say that everything happens for a reason. I had no idea that the ‘8’ was actually trying to tell me something. I now know what it is. This is the time for a NEW BEGINNING and REGENERATION…wow!
So, now that I have opened up about the health issues that I and my family face, the importance of investing in ones future, the guilt I did at one stage feel on the distribution of face masks, let me end by encouraging you all to LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE.
The truth is that we all have our own inner ‘MS’ predicaments that we have to navigate through on a daily basis. All of us struggle on some level. By opening up about this, it demonstrates the truth that, while none of us lead the perfect life that we dreamed of when we were kids, we are here. We are where we are and we need to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. We need to encourage, uplift and be honest with one another. We need to EMBRACE, ADAPT AND EVOLVE rather than PUSH BACK, become RESENTFUL and STAGNATE.
So, with that, I say, take care all, stay safe and stay positive.