Think Like A Sapeur

Late last week, a friend of mine posted a link on her Facebook page to this Adweek post, which was giving praise to a Guinness ad featuring the stylish Sapeurs of the Congo.

The ad itself – filmed in South Africa – is fantastic (click the link above to read the post and see the article). But what caught my eye and gave me a little something to think about was this short film that accompanies it. It’s just over five minutes, and it’s a great watch.

The first time I’d seen Sapeurs was in Solange’s video for her song, “Losing You“. I thought these guys were simply created to fit the video’s aesthetic; it was only later that I’d read a little bit about how Solange had come across them.

But man, do they EVER embody that elegance in the face of adversity, that flash and flair they don’t get to display in their daily, working lives. And that philosophy of being in charge of who they are … it speaks volumes.

Now, the Sapeurs may only consist of men. But who says that anyone can’t take a page out of their playbook of elegance? It’s certainly given me something to think about.

2014: Do Better.

Here we are again, kids. Another January of a brand-new year. And it’s a proper one, with cruel, biting cold and the whole blustery bit.

But as I reflect in the moments when I’m not pulling on my thermal tights, I think about 2013, and honestly, I can’t complain. It was pretty decent.

My health was fairly good, except for a period in the fall. I got to travel, both with friends and family. People gave me a couple of brief opportunities to pursue something I wanted at work (albeit, with mixed results).

But in terms of blogging about my adventures, I’ve been woefully inconsistent. And I only have myself to blame.

So, in the spirit of the new year, I’m going to try it again, this time with … an attempt at a bit more concentration.

And I’ll start by resurrecting my yearly “goal” list.

I have ideas of what I want to strive for, and even went to my last list – written in 2012 – for inspiration. I realize I seem to be hoping for things that are very similar to that previous list.

Oh, well. Screw it.

I need to pull up my socks a bit. Especially since I’m in less than a week away from my  37th (THIRTY-SEVENTH?!) birthday. I’m a grown woman. I need to do better.

Sleep better. I feel this might at the crux at a number of things. Not only physical and mental health, but perhaps something as simple as punctuality? I’m wildly inconsistent – sleeping anywhere between four and seven hours a night, five or six days a week. I should be crazed. (Who knows?  – I probably AM. I’ve already been called “weird”.) But I need to find a way to break the habit of spending late nights trawling the Internet and watching TV, for fear of missing out. I know I can find out about it on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/BuzzFeed like everyone else. We’ll see.

Find a better home. I’ve lived in my present apartment for over two years now. And for about the first 18 months, it was decent,  a couple things notwithstanding. But then, they started to visit. Cockroaches. Mostly they’d show up in my kitchen or bathroom. Then they’d turn up in random places. At the bottom of my laundry hamper. Or, as recently as a couple of months ago, perching on my forearm while I tried to watch a movie. To their credit, my superintendents have been trying to fight this problem like no one’s business. And for now, the almost-daily visits have slowed to a crawl, so to speak. But it’s only a matter of time before they return. It’s not the first time. I get that it comes with the territory of living as a renter. But before this, I lived 30+ plus years in a home (and student housing) where I’d never even seen a roach. People – not just me – DO deserve to live somewhere clean and relatively pest-free.

Look better. When it comes to sartorial matters, I feel my efforts fall around “that’ll do”, which really is only a step or two above “straight up lazy”. I work in an environment where jeans and running shoes are perfectly acceptable, and I don’t really leave the buildings for assignments all that much (and when I do, it’s right of the blue, so I can never properly anticipate). In winter, no problem. I’m wearing a sweater or layers of some sort about 90 percent of the time anyhow. And that’s fine. But spring or summer always awakens some sort of panic.  It would be nice that – by the time the snow finally melts for the season – I can step out of my abode a looking a little more put-together than the year before. This requires me combing my wardrobe and purging those things I don’t wear or use, despite me thinking they were a good idea at the time. Speaking of purging …

Get de-cluttering. I go through short phases of tidiness and order, which is eventually replaced by much longer phases of slovenliness. And did it ever rule my household of one this year! If the idea of having to pack up and move (or getting a confetti shredder from my dad for Christmas) isn’t incentive, I don’t know what is.

Eat better. By almost mid-year in 2013, I was slowly sliding down the scale with my combination of relatively sensitive eating and regular exercise. But somewhere between July’s trip to the Bahamas with friends and the holiday party season, my on-again, off-again relationship with my boyfriend Baked Goods was on like Donkey Kong. I also welcomed shameless flings with Salty Chips, Sweet ‘n Savoury Anything That Was Within Reach, and had dubious dabblings with burgers and Popeye’s Fried Chicken.  So, yeah – I’m not dealing with being Not 25 very well. The body-as-temple is swimming with wrappers, cookie bags, fast-food containers … and probably plaque. I’ll see what I can do about this. But it won’t be easy.

Handle my work/life balance a lot better.  I’m in the enviable position of working four days a week and being off for three. I work weekends, which means my “weekend” falls during the week, when people trudge back to work. I spend a lot of time cleaning, running errands, orwhen required – cooking meals for my work-week. Aside from pushing myself to exercise, I don’t do a whole lot. That includes writing. That needs to be fixed. Also, my work-life needs fixing. A change needs to happen – something longer than three weeks here or two weeks there. What that is, I don’t know – especially in this current economic climate. To be continued.

There are so many other things at which I could “be better”. But this is where I’ll leave it. And perhaps along the way, I’ll stumble across other things I need to improve and just DO it.

And if could get a “mic drop moment” here or there for incentive, that might help, too! (Are you listening, universe?) But we’ll see, right?

I hope you folks also find things to “be better” at this year – and succeed.