“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower” Hans Christian Anderson
We’ve just waved goodbye to the gloomiest month of weather in more than two decades.
Yes June, we’re talking about you and since you’ve given us the least amount of recorded sunshine hours in more than two decades and thrown in a violent 11.82 metre storm wave, we’re not sorry to see you go!
But then June, in all its gloomy glory did give rise to some inspirational conversations here at Metropol headquarters.
Namely, just how much more we appreciate the sun when we’ve had a little – or a lot of – rain. Because, in the words of J Cole, I’m Coming Home, “in order to appreciate the sun, you gotta know what rain is”.
If you’re bracing yourself against the cold right now and struggling to see the positive side, New Zealand has plenty.
The Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki featured on page 12 are something special in winter.
The water forced through these limestone formations makes tiny geysers and blowholes.
Follow in the footsteps of Sir Peter Jackson and film the beautiful snow-covered peaks surrounding the Lindis Pass (home to the Misty Mountains).
And don’t forget the jewel in winter’s crown – Queenstown, where everything is exquisite in the chilly months.
Staying home? Nothing comes close however, to rugging up by the fire with a copy of Metropol and a cuppa.
“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always” Anonymous
There’s a kindness epidemic that has been spreading throughout our community.
From conversations between neighbouring teddy bears in house windows and Kiwis providing food boxes, to businesses chipping in and NGOs helping communities in need, Kiwis have turned a threat to our health and happiness into acts of solidarity and hope.
New Zealanders have shown time and time again their capacity to care for one another.
But now that the immediate threat is over and life for many of us is getting back to normal, it’s important that we don’t lose the momentum of kindness, because for many of us, life isn’t back to normal.
These are trying times and many are being forced to adjust to a new normal.
“We will get through this,” Jacinda Ardern said in her address to the nation on 21 March to outline the structure the government put in place to handle the crisis.
“We know how to rally and we know how to look after one another; and what could be more important than that? Be strong, be kind and unite against Covid-19.”
We stayed strong; we stayed home and we stayed safe. Now it’s time to stay kind.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have.”
It’s long been said that money doesn’t buy happiness and I’m sure that no truer saying has been said.
After all, some of the world’s most financially-rich are also some of the world’s most happiness-poor.
I think it’s easy for us to forget that happiness isn’t something that is handed to some people and not to others because, as the Dalai Lama once said,
“Happiness is not something ready-made; it comes from your own actions”.
Happiness results, not from circumstance, but how we react to circumstance and the beauty of that is the knowledge and appreciation that our reactions to circumstance are completely within our control.
So in 2020, my challenge to you is, smell the roses, use the good tea set, have the second glass of wine and accept the compliment.
And remember, no act of kindness, no hint of compassion, no good deed – however small – is ever wasted; 2020 is the year of happiness but let’s also make it the year of kindness.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
Remember that dress? It became a viral internet sensation on 26 February 2015, when viewers disagreed over whether the dress pictured was coloured blue and black, or white and gold. There were more than 10 million tweets mentioning the dress within a week of it surfacing.
While it was eventually proven that the dress was in fact blue and black (though I still have my doubts!), it also lends power to the idea that perception is everything.
I’m currently reading It’s Not You, It’s Me, by Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, who was the head judge on Dancing with the Stars NZ and is a bestselling author. She was recently in Christchurch to promote the book.
She’s a big believer in ‘reframing’ what we see as negative; seeing something in a new way, in a new context or with a new ‘frame’ around it. It’s life-changing stuff.
After all, Lou Holtz once said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it” and, if perception is reality, then you’ve got the ultimate power.
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal
Looking down the line-up of The Crossing Fashion Starts Here Best Dressed Best Dressed finalists at Addington this year, I was struck by just how magnificent fashion is.
It was Rachel Zoe that once said, ‘Fashion is a way to say who you are without having to speak’ and I’m not sure a truer word has ever been said on the topic.
This year’s Best Dressed Lady sash was draped over Nikki Pagen’s white, red and blue ensemble; which was simple in aesthetic and yet impeccable in its execution. In a bright and brilliant contrast, runner-up Stephanie Murray was in sunny yellow from head-to-toe. Meanwhile, for the Best Dressed Man Matt Anderson, cobalt blue was the name of the fashion game, with a hand-stitched checked jacket that he paired with bright white pants.
Despite – or perhaps because of – fashion’s increasingly casual constitution, the opportunity to welcome a much more traditional aesthetic is a welcome one. And yet, irrespective of the conservative nature of the day, we still manage to have fun with fashion, with hats, shoes and fascinators that are as colourful and creative as the jockeys’ silks.
But what caught my attention the most was the fact that every attendee – and there were 20,000 of them – was having a ball.
“Health is a crown that the healthy wear but only the sick can see it.” – Imam Shafi’ee
You hear about broken hearts all the time. What you don’t hear so much of are stories of broken pancreases.
The pancreas plays a pretty important role in the body, producing insulin which keeps blood glucose levels in check. November is Diabetes Action Month and Shaun Wallace, the Dark Destroyer himself, is heading to the city to lend his support to this very worthy cause (page 28).
Two of the most common forms of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. For Type 2 diabetics – the most common type – their bodies don’t effectively utilise insulin. For Type 1 diabetics, their bodies no longer produce insulin. An autoimmune condition that has resulted from one’s immune system over-compensating its attack on a virus, Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition, for which there is no cure. And, from first-hand experience, I can tell you this makes for one crazy rollercoaster ride!
I have some pretty clever gadgets which make the journey a more palatable one, including a continuous glucose metre (CGM) that reads my blood sugars 24/7 and this is connected to an insulin pump, both are attached to my stomach at all times.
They’re a bit like having an accountant do your taxes; you still need to feed the accountant the right numbers or you will end up in a world of hurt, but they take the pain out of the job – quite literally when it comes to blood testing!
So, while you hear about people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, now you can say you know of someone who wears their pancreas on their hip.