Libertine in Dreams

life in e-motion


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finding a new way

Love Is Unselfish

First Corinthians 12:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I’ve been soul-searching of late, and someone suggested I read some scripture for guidance and peace of mind.

I’m not someone who usually quotes from the Bible, but I thought I could do with a different approach.

My usual approach is one of healthy skepticism.  A devil’s advocate, if you will.
But as satisfying as it has been to gain the higher ground; to find myself in the right most of the time, there is a pervasive emptiness that keeps loving relationships and lasting happiness out of my reach.

So here I find myself, on a Wednesday afternoon, reading scripture online and trying to decide if I can bring myself to accept the wisdom therein.

The first one I connect to is one of the most well-known, and oft-quoted:
First Corinthians 12: 4-8.
My favourite part of it – “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Perhaps it’s because I currently find myself wrestling with emotions of that nature.
Of sacrifice, of belief in someone other than myself, of placing myself at the mercy of someone else.  Of enduring all things.

My Dad always used to say, no man is an island.
He would say this when my stubbornness prevented me from engaging in a healthy father-daughter relationship with him.  I could never just let it be, let him be.  I could never just leave anything alone or enjoy our time together.  I always had to be right.
I resented everything he said that was contrary to what I believed, as I believed what I believed and that was that.

Hubris.  It will fuck you up.

It’s taken me a long time to accept that my ego has brought me as much pain as it has opportunity.

And as I find myself surrounded by empty seats and lost connections, it’s been humbling, no, humiliating, to have to accept that if I want anything to change, it must begin with me.

So here I am, googling scripture on a Wednesday afternoon, trying to find something that connects me to something more than my beloved life truths.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Endures all things.

This is what I need right now.  To put my faith in what I have in my heart.  It’s real, and it comes from me.

I don’t know if it’s enough to repair relationships and friendships I may have lost, but it’s a good start for repairing my relationship with myself and those still left around me.
So here goes nothing..

 

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Livin’ on a SNPF prayer

Today’s Editorial in the Observer is entitled, “Time for S.N.P.F to lean a little”.
In it, Keni talks about struggling families left with no other options to put food on the table and pay school fees and cover their living expenses.  To his credit, he does mention that the Fund’s objective is to ensure that members are left with a decent amount at their retirement.

Whilst I don’t disagree with the claims that the cost of living is skyrocketing, nor do I deny that there are a lot of desperate people out there, I don’t agree with the sentiment that this retirement fund should be made available for people to use whenever they want.  Are you missing the point of a retirement fund?  It’s for RETIREMENT.
I don’t really get the desperation to use your retirement fund now instead of saving it for old age.  I mean sure, you could die early and someone else gets it.  Is it really so awful that your family ends up with your money?
Also, are you forgetting that half of your retirement fund is paid by Government?  Therefore it’s not just your money you’re complaining about and want to loan on, but the money of every single tax payer out there?
Yes, that’s right, I am okay with the reduction.  I am all for the SNPF retirement fund being used for my retirement.

Money and Me
I’m one of those people whose relationship with money goes like this: because it’s there, I will use it.
In all honesty if I was smarter with my money, I wouldn’t need a single sene of my NPF entitlement.  I’m not joking when I say that every single expense I have is completely predictable – even the faalavelaves.
It’s a good feeling, knowing that when I retire at 85 I’ll have a few bucks left over to hand out to my great-grand kids so they can give me hugs and bring me my glasses of negroni.  I don’t want to rely on my kids for everything because I intend to live with them and take over the master bedroom and en suite anyway.  I already know my kids will be fairly unsophisticated (blame their Dad, he’s from Aleipata) and I don’t want to have to eat their boring, flavorless suā-meals every day.  I want to enjoy flavourful, exotic foods from NZ and drink dusty and imported wines from Australia.  You know, the good stuff.
Whilst my savings account is looking a little dry right now, I intend to start a faalavelave fund this year so I always have some backup in the event an uncle, thirteen times removed, decides to kick the bucket and has demanded to be buried in marble and gold.
Even if I die before retirement, I have nominated people in my family to receive portions of my NPF fund.  No, not you Mum or Dad.  Your NPF fund is me.
I will also leave a small amount for the grieving widower I leave behind.  Just enough so he can buy himself a vasectomy.
I’m pre-booking it as well.  xoxo.

What’s your bloody point?
So I guess my point is that if you look at this issue closely, the problem isn’t the fact that SNPF have reduced the amount you can loan, it’s that members are using their retirement funds like chequing accounts – cashing in their entitlements to pay for faalavelaves and other expenses (like school fees).  I mean, just look at the Street talk section of the Observer today: 4 out of the 6 people who were interviewed said that they needed that money for faalavelaves.  And expenses like school fees are about as predictable as they come.  There isn’t a parent in this world who doesn’t understand about school fees.

So what’s the real problem here?
In my opinion, the problem is this mucky, muddy, boggy faalavelave life in which we are all so deeply and undeniably entrenched.
The way I see it, most people could get by with what they make until you start adding the pressures of church donations, funeral expenses, monetary gifts for weddings, yearly monetary gifts for the church/pastor/congregation, fundraising activities for schools/churches/villages and so on.  I mean, that’s just life isn’t it.  We take the good and the bad and we go with the flow where we can.  Our communities, our families are a huge part of life, and play a very big role in the quality of life that we enjoy – the freedom and peace we take for granted.  We are most fortunate.
The problem I have with it all is not so much in the act of giving itself, but with how much we are giving.  For most, giving more than they can afford is standard.  Sacrificing your own and your family’s needs in order to look good in front of your extended family, your church, your village is absolutely the norm.  I often hear criticisms of how shameful it was for so-and-so to bring only x amount of money to a combined collection for a faalavelave.  It’s that kind of ridicule that inspires what we call the fia kagaka and fia kele syndrome.
This saddens me greatly.  It’s all about perception, it’s all about the look.  There is no substance.  Only surface value.

Ummm, so what does that have to do with the SNPF retirement fund?
Plenty!  Aside from the financial burdens that encourage people to loan up to their necks, it also puts a lot of pressure on retirees who end up with nothing to live on.
I’m not suggesting that you completely ignore any obligations you have to your family, church and village.  No, not at all.
What I’m saying, and what many others have said before, is to give what you can afford!
The world never stopped turning because you didn’t donate your kitchen sink and a kidney to the church fundraiser!  Funerals will happen no matter what happens and irrespective of the amount of money you give. I learnt this recently when I went above and beyond with my own contribution to a funeral, thinking I was showing respect by overcommitting myself.  After the initial flush of pride when my name was called out, it went away and never returned.
Sayonara.  Kaput.  Gone with the wind.
Just like my money.
When the dust settled, I was left with a sizable loan to pay and a small ulcer developing in my stomach as my reward for being “a good Samoan”.
In the greater scheme of things, the amount I had given meant as much (or as little) as what the others had contributed. And rightly so.
If it’s meant to be given out of love, then the amount is irrelevant.

So how do you avoid ulcers?
I think this country needs a citizens advice bureau or some kind of organisation that specialises in helping people to manage their money.  Offering honest, frank and realistic advice on how to get out of debt; how to start saving for expenses like school fees a year in advance; how to budget your wages/salary; prioritizing expenditure; understanding the interest and fees charged by lending institutions like the banks and loan sharks etc etc.

I have absolutely no interest in being shackled to the perceptions of others in my family, in my church, in my village.. and what they deem is a fitting meaalofa for me to give.  None of you are paying my bills!

So yeah, I’m all for reducing the loanable percentage. Until I run for Parliament 😂😂😂😂


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New Year Tea

Happy New Year!

Am I the only one who wishes we could skip January altogether?  Simply because of the endless greetings and cheek kisses and vague enquiries about holiday activities and health.  No?  Okay…………… Obviously you I need an intervention, perhaps a late visit from the ghosts of virtues lost.

Oh boy and hasn’t this year already proven to be quite the temperamental little tart!  We’re only 1 week in and I’ve already had a wee promotion and possibly taken on about three times the workload and have officially given up cigarettes and Ohmygodthepressurethepressuresomeoneendit I have to say, I’m really looking forward to the challenges.
It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to become skinny from stress a better version of me and really go for the creme buns jugular of life!

Work-wise, I’m now in charge of all media relations and press for the big boss. WHAAAAAT?
Yes.  I had that reaction too when I jumped in the Delorean and zipped back to 2009 and took another gander at what I was doing:  Selling insurance!  Five years later and I’ve somehow managed to find myself in a completely different career and with radically different prospects for the future.
This is my advice to anyone who will talk to me asks – It’s never too late to make a drastic sea-change in your life.  If you are unhappy and/or want to try something new –  go for it.  You never know where you will end up and you literally, I mean seriously literally, have one shot at the life you live.  Only one.
By no means is my life 100% peachy.  I could write an opus to the mischievous Puck about how much goes wrong in my imperfect and always challenging life, but it’s not about celebrating what’s wrong – it’s about working towards what is right for you and what you really want.  For myself, I have had to learn to be a little forgiving of myself and others – of my/their flaws.  You just have to keep going, keep adapting and move forward.
My ultimate goal?  To feel fulfilled with the work I do, and know that I have done something useful and helped someone.  I’m not going to say “If I helped at least one person, that is enough for me” – because I don’t feel that way.  I want to make waves in the lives of many.  I want to affect a bunch of people.  I want to mean something to someone.  I want to dominate the world.  I want to be happy and feel proud of what I have done.

Of course from time to time I have to remind myself that nothing is forever.  I mean, I could order the wrong dinner tonight and get sick and miss work tomorrow and get laid off because I wasn’t where I was needed the most.  And so one small decision (to order wontons) may change my life for the better [Dream sequence: I meet handsome, billionaire, philanthropist Doctor at hospital whilst getting treatment for bad wontonitis; Doctor Boo happens to be on a year-long, soul-searching voyage around the world. He is instantly smitten and offers to pay for lipo and keratin treatment for my dreadful split ends. He mops my sweaty brow with his batik bandanna and promises me the world without speaking.  We set sail after my bandages come off.  Destination = HAPPILY EVERY AFTER.]

Ok back to this realm.
So work is good so far.  I like it.  I’m looking forward to making some changes and running things how I would like to run things.  I am looking forward to bringing some 21st Century realness to my job.  I also expect to fall on my face a few times but that’s okay, so long as I keep my mother’s advice and always wear decent undergarments – I’ll be fine.  Get back up and start again tomorrow.  Isn’t that a marvelous gift?  The ability to start again 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful 2015 x


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Psst, I’m back

Major revamp of the blog underway.

Clearing out all the clutter from years gone by, and making way for some grown-up constructive writing.

So the plan is to try to write a little something every day, about whatever it is I find interesting.  Seems simple enough, except it’s actually quite difficult to pin down something to write about e v e r y  s i n g l e  day.
I usually work in bursts of inspiration and will churn out pages and pages in a very short period of time.  Then revert back to dormancy for the next 7 months.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, that means that no, my way is NOT conducive to keeping the writing mojo alive.

So I’d like to try this day-by-day, bit-by-bit approach.

Are you ready?