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Preserving Our Legacy: The importance of recording memories

As we grow older, we often reflect on the memories we have created throughout our lives. These memories are an integral part of who we are, and they have shaped us into the person we are today. For many of us, the idea of writing down our memories can seem overwhelming, but it is essential to recognise the value of documenting our life experiences for future generations.

Recording our memories allows us to preserve a piece of our personal history for future generations. Our experiences, both good and bad, can provide valuable lessons for our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Our stories can help future generations understand where they came from, the struggles their ancestors faced, and the legacy they have inherited. Our memories are a gift we can pass down to future generations to ensure our legacy is not forgotten.

Writing down our memories can also be therapeutic. Recalling our life experiences can bring back long-forgotten emotions and feelings. By documenting our memories, we can process and make sense of the events that have shaped us. This process can be incredibly healing and help us find closure on past experiences.

Everyone has a story to tell. No matter how ordinary our lives may seem, we all have unique experiences. We often underestimate the value of our memories and assume that they are not worth documenting, but our stories are essential to understanding the human experience. We can all learn from each other’s experiences and find comfort in knowing we are not alone in our struggles.

Understandably, the idea of writing down our memories can seem overwhelming, but many resources are available to help make the process more manageable. Some people may use technology to document their experiences, such as recording audio or video diaries. Many books and online resources are available that guide how to write down our memories. Jackie Lee-Son created a beautiful framework called A Place for Stories to help guide people through the writing process. Short chapters cover general themes (e.g., Education & Teachers, Careers & Work) to help you organise your memories. Click here to access her guide, which she generously shared with us. Print it out, bind it and start recording those memories. Future generations will treasure them.

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.

Radical Acceptance

Have you heard of the term radical acceptance before? In a nutshell, radical acceptance is a distress tolerance skill designed to keep pain from turning into suffering by accepting the facts rather than fighting them. In other words, it is what it is. By radically accepting things out of our control, we prevent ourselves from becoming stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger, and sadness.

Last year Chartered Client and retired psychologist Patricia O’Hare wrote an article for Inflight about radical acceptance; however, it was something she had to really put into practice recently when her husband, Kevin, fell ill. Kevin went from working as a doctor, something he loved doing, to being unable to work in a very short time. Overnight their lives turned upside down.

Patricia admits that there have been moments of self-pity, and it’s easy to forget radical acceptance, but when this happens, she reminds herself about the importance of mindfulness by maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of her thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.

There are also things she does daily and weekly that keep her grounded and mindful – these are her tips:


Patricia is a qualified Kundalini yoga teacher. Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that involves chanting, singing, breathing exercises, and repetitive poses. She teaches several classes a week.

(Don’t be afraid to try yoga, you can start slow and build up – so no, it’s never too late to start.)


In the evening, while exercising, she listens to podcasts. She has always been a huge fan of music, and while she still loves it, she has found recently that podcasts make her reflective and give her things to ponder. She is particularly enjoying Oprah’s Super Soul podcasts and Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us.

(There are endless free podcasts on Spotify; best of all, Spotify works on Android and Apple products.)

Connecting with nature

Few things are as good for the soul as spending time in nature. When spending time at their home in Zimbali, Patricia goes for long walks daily, often off the beaten track, but this connection to nature keeps her grounded and gives her strength to face the uncertainty in her life.

What do you do to remain grounded in times of uncertainty? We would love to hear your tips to share them with all our clients.

Click here to view Patricia O’ Hare’s interview with Kim Potgieter on The Chartered Show

A grain of truth

There is no doubt that words have power. Their meaning shapes our beliefs, drives our behaviour, and ultimately creates our world. Our words are powerful. They carry our thoughts, our ideas, our feelings and our intentions. Words contain our state of being, both positive and negative As author Yehuda Berg states, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity… Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Their power arises from our emotional responses when we read, speak, or hear them. For example, say the word “fire” while having a braai, in the workplace, or in a crowded theatre, and you’ll get three completely different but powerful emotional and energetic reactions.

So many of us are in the habit of using the same negative words repeatedly. The problem is that the more we hear, read, or speak a word or phrase, the more power it has over us. This is because the brain uses repetition to learn, searching for patterns and consistency as a way to make sense of the world around us. You may not remember the exact date of the First World War, but chances are you know the 9 x table off by heart because you repeated it over and over again, drilling it into your subconscious. Repetition is the most powerful tool to imprint something into our minds and keep it there.

Negative self-talk is so dangerous. Nothing has more power over our circumstances than the words we tell ourselves. When we assign a word or descriptor to ourselves and believe it (however ridiculous or untrue), we embody it.

A Japanese scientist, Dr Masaru Emoto, has given us physical proof that our thoughts, intentions and words affect the physical world. He discovered that water droplets that had been repeatedly exposed to positive or negative words, profoundly changed the water’s colour, shape, and symmetry. Dr Emoto believes that human consciousness has a direct effect on physical reality.

In his famous rice experiment, Dr Emoto placed rice into three glass beakers and filled them with enough water to submerge the rice. To the first beaker, he stated the phrase “Thank you,” “You’re an idiot”, to the second, and ignored the third.

A month later, the rice that was thanked fermented and gave a pleasant smell. The rice that was affronted turned black, and the rice that was ignored began to rot.

Regardless of whether you are sceptical of Dr Emoto’s experiments, there is no doubt that words have power with which we create our reality, so speak words to yourself that are kind, loving, positive, uplifting and encouraging.

Don’t close the book when you can start a new chapter

If your life was your favourite Netflix series – would you stop watching halfway through? Will you put down a book by your favourite author and not read the sequel? If you loved Tom Cruise in Top Gun, would you watch the follow-on?

Most people I know would binge-watch a series on Netflix and were the first in line to buy tickets for Top Gun. There’s a certain amount of excitement and anticipation in knowing or seeing what happens next. But so often, when it comes to our own lives, especially after midlife and as we enter our later years, the enthusiasm and enjoyment seem to dwindle.

I believe it’s because of how we think and the words we use to describe this phase of life. Our words hold unimaginable power, and we achieve or become what our minds conceive and believe. If you are considering winding down your life and waiting out retirement, think again. This is not the time to close the book on your life. This is not the time to think that you don’t have an award-winning sequel in the making. Turn your thoughts around and start using words that will inspire you to eagerly anticipate what the future will bring.

I met a lovely couple in their mid-sixties last week who were busy winding down and waiting to retire. They were stuck in limbo – somewhere between having lived a good life and waiting out the rest. Sometimes all you need is a new perspective to turn around the lacklustre words in your vocabulary into a language that makes you want to turn the page. Midway through our conversation, the mood in the room visibly shifted when my clients said: Instead of just waiting to retire, we need to get excited about the new possibilities of our second chapter and write a sequel with a new beginning.

I love watching the shift in people when they realise that retirement is not the end but a new adventure in living – and the words they start using follow suit. I want to remind you how the words you use and the language you speak when it comes to your second chapter can impact what you achieve:

  • You are not old. You are a holder of knowledge and experience – and the keeper of wisdom.
  • You are not insignificant. Why not find ways to share your talents, skills and wisdom with the world.
  • Retirement is not the end. You have the rest of your life to live on your own terms.
  • Your purpose is not defined by your work. Your purpose can be whatever you want it to be in your second chapter.
  • Retirement does not mean you will never earn again. You can keep adding value, working and earning for as long as you want.
  • Don’t tell yourself you can only rely on one source of income. In this phase of life, it is possible to turn a passion into work, a hobby into a business and a dream into potential.
  • Retirement is not an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Many people in the second chapter start to bring in other income streams and look at other ideas of work, like part-time work, charity work, mentoring or consulting.

When you start thinking and using words to describe the second half of your life as a new beginning, a world of possibilities opens up to you – new ways of adding value and renewed purpose. Choose your words carefully. How you think creates what you feel and become.

Your second half is the perfect opportunity to turn the page, start a new chapter and edit an unrivalled sequel for yourself.

We all need basic human interaction

As I reflect on the past eighteen months, a sense of gratitude envelopes me. And it’s all thanks to you. Words just cannot express how deeply grateful we are for your support, enthusiasm and willingness to embrace our new way of connecting and coming together.

Covid has robbed us of many things, one of them being our basic need for human interaction. It put an end to our face-to-face events, and we needed to think of new ways to meet, chat and connect. Do you remember when we circulated the very first manual explaining how to use Zoom and Teams? You welcomed our new mode of communication, and we enjoyed our first online event so much that we lined up as many as four events in some months. We laughed, sometimes we cried, but most of all, we challenged ourselves to learn and expand our viewpoints on many topics.

I remember coming together with the marketing team and unanimously deciding that webinars won’t be part of our communication mix. Webinars are just too impersonal. We wanted to keep our cameras on and actually see each other. I have learnt that we all need to know that we are not alone, whether introverted or extroverted. There is strength, support, and a whole lot of love to be found in being together.

It has been a difficult journey. And it still is. When the Covid lockdown started, I was encouraged by how many clients joined me to learn from Brené Brown’s teachings. We all needed to learn how to embrace our vulnerability through all this uncertainty. Little did we know how long it was going to last.

I have learnt that laughter is often the best medicine! And did we laugh! We had fun with the Music Guru, Nik Rabinowitz and Quiz night with Lynda and Frank. Paula Quinsee taught us how to navigate the ups and downs of life for more successful relationships, and I loved learning that we can breathe new energy and purpose into stale ones. Nikki Bush’s very personal story of losing her husband and how she found collateral beauty amongst the collateral damage left a mark on all our hearts.

I was deeply moved when you all came together to celebrate the launch of my new book, Midlife Money Makeover. I will forever be grateful for all the cheering and good wishes. Thank you.

We have been a great team! Jeremy Gardiner (Ninety One), Kevin Lings (Stanlib), Brandon Zietsman (Portfolio Metrix) and Izaak Odendaal (Old Mutual Wealth) all came together to update us on our investments and the economy. After the unsettling riots that rocked South Africa recently, Anthony Turton’s talk about historical insights and the outlook for the future was just what we needed.

None of this would have been possible if you had not shown up and embraced change. I believe us all coming together as a community has been very helpful and given us a sense of encouragement as we journey through this uncertain time.

Look out for many more invitations still to come this year. As a special treat, we will be joined online by Pieter Dirk Uys in November. For now, online events are our best and safest way of connecting, but we remain hopeful to host face-to-face events soon.

Blooming through disruptive times

We hosted an event with Human Potential and Parenting Expert Nikki Bush in honour of Women’s Month. We have all been sitting in a place of extreme discomfort and with an overwhelming sense of lack of control over the past months, and during this insightful talk, Nikki provided us with tips and tools to help us bloom through these times.

Life sends us tremors constantly, and sometimes it sends catastrophic life quakes that can break you open or bury you alive; and according to Nikki, we need to learn how to reframe these situations to reauthor our lives.

1. Getting Comfortable with not knowing

Most of us have spent years building sound financial plans and life plans which provided us with a certain degree of comfort about the future. However, we now know that this is no longer the case; we really don’t know what the future holds in terms of our plans. In order to reframe so that we can become more resilient, we need to get used to this discomfort.

2. Comma or full stop?

When Nikki’s husband, Simon, was tragically murdered at the end of 2017, the life she had known came to an end. In one split second, her whole world changed. Her family of four suddenly became a family of three, and all her hopes and dreams of her future with Simon were shattered. Nikki describes this time in her life as feeling like a full stop. However, with time Nikki began to turn this full stop into a comma, a pause, not the end, and she started creating a different future for herself. She had to actively decide to do that. This journey took her completely out of her comfort zone. She had to go to new places, meet new people and define who Nikki was without Simon. She urged us to consider whether significant moments in our lives where we feel completely out of control are full stops or commas.

3. Collateral beauty versus Collateral damage

Not only did she lose her husband, but she also lost her home and her anchor. Her family picture had been broken. While it was understandably easy for her to focus on all that was lost and broken, she also decided to focus on what she had gained, as with the damage came beauty too. Nikki calls this exercise in perspective Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty. In this exercise, she encourages you to fold a piece of paper in half. On one side, write the collateral damage of a particular situation, and on the other side, write down the collateral beauty. Take lockdown, for example; you would perhaps write isolation from family and friends on the collateral damage side, but what could the collateral beauty be? Could it be that you learnt new skills such as Zoom, which now means that you connect with friends and family overseas more regularly? It’s important to always look for the beauty in situations, and this exercise provides a perfect opportunity to gain perspective.

Nikki ended the session with this quote “Listen for the messages in the flames, and dig for the treasures in the ashes.”