On fear, bucket lists and trying to face the sun

I discovered Incubus after I watched the Alive at Red Rocks concert on SABC 3, one fine evening in 2009. A few weeks later, my best friend shared their album with me on a USB. Since then, I’ve watched them live, gotten their lyrics tattooed and have revisited the albums time and time again.

One of the songs I revisit all the time is Drive. It deals with fear, uncertainty and reclaiming your own direction. It felt real to me when I was a teen trying to find my way, a recent graduate moving cities again and now, being in my 30s with choices to make.

Over the last few months I’ve been making a point to see my friends in real life. This was prompted by not having a big December and so many of my friends who have been abroad being able to get back in South Africa. Again, the common denominator surrounding most of our conversations? Fear.

We’re scared to start over. Scared to put ourselves out there. Scared to pursue romance. Scared to entertain situations that’ll undermine our worth. Scared to stand up for ourselves. Scared to slow down.

May is special time for me, because it’s my moving to Cape Town anniversary. In 8 years, I’ve built a life I’m so proud of and met people who have changed my life. It’s not anything I could have imagined but it’s mine. All I knew in 2014, is that I had to give this city a try.

Now, I’m a pretty straightforward person, and definitely a Leo Sun (unsubtle, loud and perhaps, A Clown). I’m the first to speak in front of a crowd, and I’m not afraid to open up a conversation. But growing up, I was a cautious child. I spent my time in solitude, reading books, avoiding outdoor activities or adventures. I almost drowned as a kid and grew up scared of the sea, until I learnt how to swim at age 8. Compared to my best friend, who rode bikes, tried skateboarding and other wild shit – I was “good” but really, I was terrified.

And the reality is, that is no way to live. At some point, I had to learn how to swim, how to navigate this life. And so, I wanted to make a list of tangible things I could try with friends, make memories and just step out of my own self-imposed comfort zone. If you know me, I am very familiar with the word no. I have no problem saying nope, no thanks for anything.

I wanted to try the things I’d been putting off along easy goals that could be achieved so I felt good. Enter my bucket list: 22 things to do in 2022.

While I was having these thoughts around freedom and fear, my friend Kyla released some work they directed for Corona, a short film called Free Surfer, featuring Cape Town-based Coloured world champion surfer, Cass Collier.

You’ve got to go out there and take a hard knock somewhere, to experience life and know the beauty of life.

Cass Collier

And maybe the Al Gore rhythm knows what to show you on a timeline so that it feels like it’s just for you. But I’d needed that, just like seeing a tweet about not saving life for my weekends alone. Your 30s feel scary because time feels precious, and you already know so much can change in a decade. You’ve lost friends/lovers, relationships have crumbled and you’ve probably buried a loved one.

And while none of us want to experience more hard knocks, when life has dealt us a lot as it is – what I want to feel is less caged in by my own actions. Metaphorically, taking the wheel and steering once again? Mostly, just learning to face the sun and let life happen sometimes instead of constantly curating what I think I need to experience.

It may not work and it might suck but at least I’ve tried.

And no matter what, I’ve always been brave enough to try.

x A

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