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Author: Kim Potgieter

From rugby fields to empty nests

And the promise to tackle foreboding joy in the scrum of life

I have shared all my first-time, brand-new, and exciting experiences with you every month this year. This month, I am standing on the edge, waiting for a significant change in my life – becoming an empty nester for the first time. My daughter, Gabi, will embrace her next chapter of studying Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University next year. While I have so many mixed emotions ranging from pride, love and anticipation – to fear, dread and anxiousness, I remind myself to stay focused on the present and enjoy the time we have now, rather than be overwhelmed by the worries of next year.

Have you ever spent so much time worrying about the what ifs that the beautiful, joyous moments of the present pass you by? Do you find yourself constantly worrying about things that haven’t happened yet?

I’m incredibly proud of Gabi’s achievements and her choice to pursue a career in engineering. I love every minute of my time with her. Still, I constantly guard myself not to be overly concerned about everything that could possibly go wrong or pre-empting the dread of an empty home and losing those daily moments with her.

In a wonderful social media post, Brent Lindeque (The Good Things Guy) reminded me of a term called anticipatory grief – when you worry or grieve about things that haven’t happened yet (like many South Africans did 70 minutes into the Springbok-England Rugby World Cup Semi-finals). At the very least, we were all panicking just a little bit! I am convinced that only the bravest of us resisted grieving ahead of schedule!

But rugby aside, Brent makes a good point when he shares that South Africans may be in a constant state of anticipatory grief – waiting for the next corruption scandal, waiting to hear more bad news, waiting for load-shedding, more potholes, inflation, another war … Similarly, the concept foreboding joy, coined by Brené Brown, captures the internal conflict we feel when joy is immediately followed by worry and fear. We end up catastrophising, wasting our time worrying about things that haven’t happened, and in the process, we have no time or space left to embrace the joy and happiness of our present.

I’ve seen how the initial excitement of retirement can be replaced by fears and questions like “What will I do with my life?” or “Will my money last?” and “What if my health fails?” I have spoken to many people whose children are emigrating, and the fear and worry for their future start way before they leave the country. I’ve noticed how fear and worry can deter people from trying new things. It seems we are all constantly worrying, letting the impending fear of loss and change overshadow the potential joy of living in the present moment.

So, how do we move past this cycle of anticipatory grief? The answer, I believe, lies in being present. Embrace each moment fully and focus on gratitude, all the positive aspects of change, and the many new adventures that change will bring.

So, no anticipating grief this Saturday during the World Cup Rugby Final! No foreboding joy allowed! This is the 8th Rugby World Cup tournament that SA is playing; we’ve won the Cup three times and have never lost a final! There’s nothing to worry about.

Age ain’t nothing but a playlist track!

My first-time not-unusual Delilah-cious encounter with Tom Jones

Okay, my article heading may be a bit too much! But if you’ve seen Sir Tom Jones perform “It’s Not Unusual” and “Delilah” live on stage, you might also find yourself humming to “Green Green Grass of Home” while watching the Springboks play in the Rugby World Cup.

Every year, Jean and I plan an overseas trip together, and we always add something new – a fresh experience that we’ll both enjoy. Just as we’ve done in the past by adding a Rod Stewart and Billy Joel concert to our itinerary, this year we chose a show featuring none other than Tom Jones in Germany.

At 83, Tom Jones is still rocking on! Thinking back on my first-time experiences this year, this one really hit home. Age is just a number, right? Not that anyone’s counting, but here was Tom Jones, who began his career in the 1960s, still performing his classics to a crowd of over 10,000 people – all loving his music. 83 is a number that may make many want to slow down or take things easy. But not him. He’s still busting the age myth, one tune at a time! It made me question the constraints I sometimes impose on myself due to age. Do I use my age as an excuse not to do certain things?

My father was a huge fan of Tom Jones, which is how I was introduced to his songs. This experience has reminded me of a dream I once had: to run in the Comrades Marathon using my late dad’s double green number. In fact, 81-year-old Johannes Mosehla broke a 34-year-old record this year by becoming the oldest runner to complete the Comrades. Still, running the Comrades is not for everyone, and for now, I am very happy with my achievement of having completed my first 21km race.

One thing that I was certainly not too old – or too young – to try was beer! An unusual choice for me. Beer is certainly not my preferred drink, but whilst at a Beer Festival, I thought, “Why not?” and gave it a go. The result? An unforgettable memory – one I will cherish and laugh about for years to come.

The true magic of this trip was sharing it with Jean, a truly special friend. I’ve mentioned Robert Waldinger’s Harvard research before, which finds that the secret to a long and healthy life lies in connections and close relationships with significant people. This may just be what inspired Tom Jones and Dolly Parton to write “Islands in the Stream.” Without our special people, the ones we love and those who make our souls sing, we are simply islands adrift in the stream of life.

Let’s promise ourselves not to let age hold us back and to cherish our connections in the flowing river of life,

How things can change in the blink of an eye

Earlier this month, on a seemingly ordinary Saturday evening, on our way to meet our family for dinner, my husband Gys and I were involved in a car accident. Despite my car being written off and being very shaken, Gys and I escaped unscathed.

While the accident only took seconds, it felt like an eternity, and during those split seconds, I genuinely thought it might be the end for us. It was a terrifying wake-up call that reminded me how the course of our lives can be forever altered in a single second.

The following day, as I pondered the events, three crucial questions surfaced in my mind. Firstly, I asked myself, “Are my relationships in order? Have I expressed love and gratitude to those who mean the most to me?” And, in that moment of reflection, I found comfort in the fact that I had no unfinished business with those I hold dear. My children know how much I love them, and there’s no one important in my life who doesn’t know how I feel about them. It was a poignant reminder that, at the end of the day, it’s our relationships with others that enrich and adds meaning to our lives. We often neglect our relationships, putting off picking up the phone, spending time with family and friends, or telling people how we feel because we are busy. We assume we will have ample time, but this experience taught me that time is a gift we shouldn’t take for granted. We must take every opportunity to strengthen our bonds with family and friends, for we never know when those opportunities may be taken away from us.

The second question I asked was, “Am I doing everything I want in life?” Life is fleeting, and we must grab the opportunities when they present themselves. I firmly believe in living life intentionally, saying yes to experiences that bring me joy and fulfilment. While there are things I still want to do, I have no regrets about the things I have done and the experiences I have had.

The final question that came to mind was, “Are my affairs in order?” I found solace in knowing that my will was up to date, ensuring my family’s security. It is so important not to procrastinate when it comes to getting our affairs in order. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for the future is a responsible and caring act toward our loved ones.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to cherish your relationships, expressing your love and gratitude openly. Embrace life’s adventures. Don’t live a life looking back thinking “if only”; say yes to the things you genuinely desire. And most importantly, take the necessary steps to put your affairs in order, providing peace of mind for yourself and your family.

Say yes to life! Live every minute … every second

This week I came across a beautiful inspirational story on Facebook about our very own Margaret Kearns, and to my surprise – Brent Lindeque (Good Things Guy.) Can you imagine inviting a complete stranger and famous influencer to your 70th birthday party? Someone who reaches over four million people every month on social media. Margaret’s daughters did! They knew how much their mom loved Brent and asked him as a surprise for her birthday. And best of all, Brent Lindeque said yes! He attended her 70th birthday party last year and celebrated her 71st birthday with her again this year!

This story made me realise how powerful the courage to ask is. If you don’t, ask, you’ll never know – right? And with that comes the courage to say YES to life … to live every minute and every second to your utmost. You never know where saying ‘yes’ will lead – you may make new friends, learn new lessons and perhaps experience more pockets of joy in every day.

I met Margaret quite a few years ago when she joined Chartered and immediately loved her optimistic outlook and attitude to life. She inspires wherever she goes; is one of the bravest women I know and a personal role model. Margaret took over running the finances when her husband passed away, enrolled and obtained her Degree in Anthropology and Sociology in her mid-60s, and still holds her family of three adult daughters together.

Inviting Brent Lindeque out of the blue to their mom’s 70th birthday is a testament to how Margaret’s courageous and adventurous spirit rubbed off on her children. Brent is the founder of Good Things Guy (launched in 2015) – a platform dedicated to telling good stories and sharing things that inspire. He shared a beautiful post on social media about his time spent with Margaret, her family and friends. “It was time spent perfectly,” he said. “I stepped out of my comfort zone and leaned in that day when I went to a birthday lunch with 29 random strangers. I spent the afternoon in the spectacular autumn sun, drinking champagne while listening to incredible women sharing stories of their time. It was beautiful. And a stark reminder that we only have so much time.” This year, Brent again shared the lesson he learnt from Margaret at her birthday party – to find a pocket of joy in every day.

I’ve reflected on all my first-time experiences this year to fulfil my goal of trying something new and different every month. Each encounter has brought a lesson – or shared one. This month I tried my awkward, non-artistic hand at ceramics with a friend and our daughters. We spent a wonderful day at the Prison Break Market Clay Café where I made a semi-decent piggy bank. Our housekeeper’s daughter, Abby, is turning one this year, and my goal is to start teaching her how to save – a lesson we taught our children from a young age.

If you feel motivated to say yes to life more often, to find more pockets of joy every day, or fill more time with fun and laughter, start by taking a small step out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to invite a famous influencer to your birthday or embark on the grandest of all adventures, just take a small step that sits comfortably with you. Try hopping on to Good Things Guy on Facebook for inspiration! Fun and laughter are contagious, and the more time we spend on good things, the more time we’ll invest in happiness and joy.

First time running the Two Oceans Marathon

Yes! You read that right! I just completed my first time ever 21km half-marathon. The Two Oceans is known as “the world’s most beautiful marathon,” and running against the backdrop of the breathtaking Cape Peninsula must be one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. And this is the new experience I’m sharing with you this month.

I have learnt that having a clear goal is essential to trying something new or doing something for the first time. Running a half-marathon has been on my vision board for a few years, and you may remember me sharing it with you – even in Covid times. Two words stand out for me in achieving this goal: persistence and consistency. Believe me, getting up every single morning to run, especially in winter, is not easy. And your aim does not have to be easy either. You may decide to take up art or learn a musical instrument. You may want to walk the Camino de Santiago – or the Cape Camino. But every journey begins with one single step. And the first step is setting your goal. In my experience, persistence and consistency get you where you want to go.

Sometimes, trying out something new is a deeply personal journey you may want to go alone. But a lot of times, having special people join you – or support you – makes it so much easier – and enjoyable. I had many partners on my running journey, including my 22-year-old niece, Robyn. And thank goodness for Robyn! I was initially intent on running a 42km marathon, and Robyn convinced me to start slightly smaller – we agreed on the 21km instead. It turned out to be great advice! Running up and down the hills was much harder than I thought it’d be.

One of our Planning Specialists at Chartered, Craig Harrison, also ran with me. He could have finished the marathon in a much better time but opted to stay back and support me, for which I am so grateful. Although you’re the one doing the work, you end up not running alone. Running in the Two Oceans felt like being embraced in a wonderful community of people helping and supporting you to the end. And it was lovely to see my husband Gys, my son Josh and his partner Rachel waiting for me and welcoming me over the finish line.

Sometimes you may have to call in extra people to help you reach your goal. I have a great running trainer and teamed up with a functional trainer who helped me exercise the right muscles to get me over the steep hills.

It really does help to have a support system when trying new things. Whether planning a unique adventure, a fresh learning experience or a new venture, having people who believe in you and encourage you along the way can make all the difference. But more than that, trying new things often calls for stepping out of our comfort zones. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and shy away from something new. But new experiences can lead to personal growth and a sense of accomplishment.

Remember, trying something new does not have to be a grand gesture but something small that pushes you out of your comfort zone. And the rewards are often worth it!

First time welcoming new members into our family

As first experiences go, becoming a mother-in-law and gaining a new daughter in the family – and of course, seeing the first of my children and my oldest son get married, is pretty epic. And this is my unique and new experience for March!

Adding a new experience to your month does not have to be something large, audacious or expensive. It could just be saying ‘yes’ to something you would not have considered doing before. What I’ve learnt from the three first-time experiences I have shared with you this year is that it always goes hand-in-hand with learning and something new to be grateful for.

Apart from having the best and most joyous time with family and friends at Ryan and Nix’s wedding at the beautiful Webersburg Wine Estate in the Cape, I feel incredibly blessed and privileged to see our family size increase with the very special and much-loved Nix. Still, becoming a mother-in-law for the first time can be daunting, and I’m sure Nix feels the same way about her becoming a wife and daughter-in-law. Getting married is a significant life-changing transition as you move into a new, unexplored and wonderful stage of life.

A few days before the wedding Nix and I chatted about our new future roles. We’ve all heard some horror mother-in-law stories – from criticism, stopping by unannounced to rearrange the furniture without being asked, and coercing the daughter-in-law to have children. Nix and I both felt that it would be helpful for us to set boundaries upfront so we don’t make assumptions about what we each value, trust and respect.

I realise that Nix and Ryan will live their new life together on their terms and in their own way – different from how we live our lives in our family. But I also know that we share common values which gives me a great sense of pride and joy.

Setting boundaries are not only important with in-laws; they are essential for creating trust and respect in any healthy relationship. And honouring the boundaries of others builds a strong connection where each one feels heard, seen and valued and where both your needs are met.

Boundary discussions are brave conversations to have. It’s talking about how you want to be treated and your expectations in the relationship. It also defines what’s acceptable and what is not. It’s brave because by setting boundaries, you value yourself, prioritise your needs and create space to thrive and grow. I love the fact that Nix and I understand each other’s boundaries. It makes me feel safe and secure knowing what she expects of me and what she values and appreciates. These discussions may seem hard at first, but it’s better than the resentment when boundaries are overstepped.

I found a helpful article on written by Jo Nash, who obtained her PhD in Psychotherapy Studies and lectured in mental health at the University of Sheffield. She masterfully explains what boundaries are and how to set healthy ones. I love this explanation of the different boundaries involved in relationships.

READ: How to Set Healthy Boundaries & Build Positive Relationships

Do you have relationships in your life that may need redefined boundaries? Relationships change and evolve, and it may require an adjustment of boundaries. Remember, having boundaries are not selfish or self-centred. It really helps those you love with clear guidelines of how to treat and love you in a way you appreciate.

A first-time experience – learning in Africa

I do believe that our experiences add to the richness and fullness of our lives, and that’s why I included new and unexperienced opportunities in my dreams for this year. I have made it my personal purpose to inspire all of you – our clients – to join me in this endeavour and hope that as we move through this year, you will also share your fresh new experiences with me. Who knows, we may end up with a novel guide to experience the unexperienced by the end of 2023.

My new experience in January was travelling to Africa on a learning excursion for the first time. Five of us from Chartered were invited and partly sponsored to participate in the Stanford Seed transformation programme – a Stanford Graduate School of Business-led initiative that provides management training to entrepreneurs in India and Africa. Their aim is to deliver world-class business training and resources to help entrepreneurs from promising start-ups and established companies take their businesses, countries and regions to the next level and transform lives.

The benefit to Chartered is immeasurable as we are trained in all aspects of running a business, from finance and Human Resources to strategy and developing a transformation plan for taking our company forward. As the programme leader whose role is to attend the actual training sessions and bring the learning back to Chartered, I have the magnificent added bonus of journeying and discovering Africa.

The first in-person immersion week took place in Nairobi, Kenya and in June this year, I will attend training in Accra, Ghana and then later in Botswana. I was slightly surprised when I realised that I’d never considered Africa as a learning destination before. I’ve been all over the world to attend courses: America with Brené Brown, Seth Godin, David Krueger and Chip Conley; and the UK with Mitch Anthony and George Kinder. But never Africa.

For me, spending time in Africa, our very own and second-largest continent in the world, was the most inspiring part of the training – a sentiment sincerely shared by the Stanford lecturers who said that coming to Africa and experiencing the beauty of not only this incredible continent but also its people, is the most rewarding part of their work.

Did you know that Africa contains 54 countries and is home to 3 000 indigenous tribes and around 2 000 languages and dialects? I remember telling people in America about Africa and thinking they were slightly uninformed when they knew nothing about our continent. But whilst in Nairobi, I realised that I didn’t know much about Africa either, apart from visiting game reserves. We spent time with people from cities all over the continent, some of which I had to find on the world map and others I’d never heard of before.

They do say that it’s not always the place you fall in love with, but the people – I can attest to that! I have never before spent time with a group of people who are so humble, so grateful for the international learning opportunity, and so enthusiastic about their work and this experience. Meeting so many aspiring entrepreneurs creating successful businesses has also left me with a profound sense of hope for Africa.

I love the fact that I’ve experienced a part of the world that I’ve never visited before, that I’ve met people I’ve never engaged with before and that I now see incredible opportunity and potential in the continent I live in.

Trying new things and immersing yourself in different opportunities broadens your horizons. And there really are no downfalls – if you don’t enjoy it, leave it at that. But at least you’ll have another interesting story to tell.

If you have any new or unique experiences to share, please send them to me. In the meantime, I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

Dare to experience the unexperienced

I am so grateful to welcome you into 2023, feeling refreshed and optimistic for what the year holds. A new year often brings new beginnings, renewed hope and a fresh perspective. I hope that you enjoyed a restful holiday period and filled your memory jars with many joyful and loving moments with your family and friends.

My habit has always been to start my new year by creating a vision board, and this year, I added something completely different – new dreams. My wish for the year is to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new and different every month.

You may remember reading the article about Jeff Lawrence who took early retirement to turn his passion for baking and bread into a business. He and his wife Sue moved to Wakkerstroom, where Sue now owns the Village Bakery and coffee shop, and Jeff runs Country Bread, supplying bread to local businesses and offering workshops on artisan bread-making.

Jeff is a true example of Retiremeant™ – living his life on his terms and in his own time. Doing what he loves. Not only does Jeff love bread – and to be honest, I don’t know anyone who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread – his passion shines through in everything he does. I was so inspired by Jeff and Sue’s story, coupled with my dream to experience different adventures and learn something new, that I booked a bread-making workshop for my family.

It was an absolute treat! And I’m not just talking about the smells and tastes. Bread-making, as we discovered, is quite a scientific process, and we learnt both the theory and techniques to bake the perfect loaf. Jeff was a wonderful host and teacher and managed to turn a workshop into an intimate bonding and fun-filled experience for our family.

With Gabi, my daughter going into Matric this year and my son Josh entering his final year at university, my dream of trying out, learning and experiencing something new every month perfectly fits into our family dynamic. For me, it does not have to be a learning experience. It could be doing something completely different just for the fun of it. As long as it’s something fresh and different – something I’ve never done before.

Maybe you have new dreams for 2023 too? I know many clients, like me, spend time at the beginning of the year drawing up their wish lists and goals, and editing their Bucket Wheels®. Why not add something completely different? Something unfamiliar and unexperienced? It may just enrich your world and add a fresh spice to life.

We have made some changes to our Inflight newsletter this year. In keeping with the theme of trying new things, we are introducing a segment where we share new experiences to try or things to learn. We are kicking off with padel since it’s taken the country by storm. We are also introducing a segment on retirement villages, and we will interview clients living in retirement villages across the country. Our book of the month is back, and we will review a new book, available in our client library, each month.

Wishing you many new adventures, fun, learning and fresh experiences this year,

When What If becomes If Only

Instead of focusing on the ‘what-ifs’ that could possibly impact our lives in this second chapter post-Covid, I have found that clients are talking about ‘if onlys’. And not in a way that implies regret – these are conversations about living a more wholehearted life.

I have personally found this quote by New York Times best-selling author and host of the Rise Together podcast, Dave Hollis, extremely helpful:

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

Many clients do not want to revert to their old ways of being in the world. Values have shifted, visions have changed, and clients are talking and thinking about life differently. Life changes can be exciting, but it is essential to take time to properly and objectively plan the transition with a solid financial plan to enable it.

Tom and Linda are clients who embraced the concept of pausing, giving them time to reflect and plan their next chapter towards significance. Post-Covid, they were both ready for change. Tom no longer found his architecture business fulfilling, and Linda wanted to move on from her bookkeeping position. They both knew what they no longer wanted to do but were unsure about what to do next.

Often, in the search for significance, clients feel lost, unsure and overwhelmed with emotion. When you’re feeling overly emotional, you simply have to stop and pause, as the decisions or actions you take will almost certainly be flawed. Start by enlisting the advice of your Retiremeant™ Specialist, who will guide you objectively and help you plan the best way forward from a money and life perspective.

I shared the suitcase exercise with Tom and Linda. You may have done it before, but it is such a valuable exercise in times of change.

Imagine you are going on a trip and you can only pack the things that serve you into your suitcase. What you leave behind is as important as what you will take. This exercise helps you recalibrate and get a clearer picture of what is essential as you move forward. It’s about identifying more of what you want by editing what’s not working – and making space for new things. It’s also about reflecting and being grateful for what you do have.

The first thing Tom and Linda packed was their relationship. They are happily married and want to spend more time together. Tom decided to edit out being an architect and sell his business. Linda crystallised a new dream of becoming a life coach. To their surprise and after doing the maths, the Financial Plan showed that they had enough money to take a year-long sabbatical to figure out their next steps.

If you’re having If only thoughts, such as if only I could … change my work, live somewhere else, or do something that really inspires me – it may be time to meet with your Specialist and make your If only a reality.

I truly believe that life is too short not to live intentionally. Let’s make ours count.

In the month of December, you can read about clients embracing their retirement and turning their passion into purpose, ticking off Bucket Wheel® items along the way. We have also included a feature on the various hybrid and in-person events we hosted this year. Enjoy the read.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I am often asked where I find the time to do everything I do: from being a wife and mom, running a business, doing talks and workshops, writing books, and going on fun adventures with my family. You may not buy into my answer at all, and when I tell people that one of my top life tips is meditation, I can almost feel them switching off. Most people believe that it won’t work for them.

Sometimes I do wish it was possible to stop time or hit the pause button on the speed of life. But we all know there’s no stopping time. Still, there may be a way to buy time by focusing on the present and reducing the repeating background noise in your mind.

To me, meditation is one of the most valuable tools in our fast-paced, modern-day life. I like to use the Chopra meditation App, but I’ve often heard people say the Headspace App works really well. It’s about quietening the thoughts that my brain can’t switch off. Remember that your thoughts become your reality, and you cannot allow the spiralling negative messages of worry, fear, anxiousness and despair to take control of your life.

The benefits of quietening the voices in your head are endless and there are many ways to still your thoughts: going for long walks, consciously finding joy in everyday moments, and simple deep breathing. These are all forms of meditation. As long as you’re prepared for a process rather than a quick fix. It takes practice. Don’t expect to be perfect at it. If you accomplish just being conscious of the thoughts in your mind and not allowing them to control you, you have made a good start.

Like you, I also did not think that meditation was for me when I first started and it did not work perfectly for me in the beginning. I struggled to see how I was ever going to quiet the voices in my head, from to-do lists, worries and stories that my mind made up. I decided to give it a good go, and each time I meditated, my brain got slightly quieter. I still don’t always get it right, and the to-do lists still pop into my head – even when I’m trying to block them out. But now I feel the difference when I’m not meditating.

I like to meditate early in the morning before my day gets busy, and I put aside 15 – 20 minutes to sit quietly. Most days, I use the Chopra guided meditation and other days, the transcendental meditation technique of repeating a mantra until my mind stills. My husband, Gys, has watched my morning ritual for years and now also meditates daily. He says it’s helped him look at his business differently with a more strategic outlook. Josh, my son, has also started and finds he can control his anxiety around exams much more.

I encourage you to give meditation a go! Just remember that you don’t need to be perfect at it. It may feel impossible at first but it gets easier over time.