On Sunday, 24 May, it was my 30th birthday! I decided to enter my thirties by hiking at the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
Jonkershoek is situated just outside Stellenbosch. It’s about an hours drive from Cape Town, or two hours if your GPS doesn’t work! Entrance to the reserve is R40 per person and there’s quite a few hiking trails to chose from. I just wanted to do an easy stroll, so we opted for the Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof trail.
The Jonkershoek reserve is set in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Boland mountains. Unfortunately, recent veld fires destroyed some of the beautiful fynbos in the area. On the trail, we saw dark patches of plants and flowers. I felt sad. It almost seemed as if these flowers got stuck in time, all that’s left is a memory of the days they showed the world their colors.
But death always brings new life. Fynbos actually requires regular burning for its persistence. As we walked higher on the mountain trail, we started to see new life. Luminous green ferns, little pink flowers and new fynbos all starting to peek through the black dust.
For me, this resembled a new chapter of my life. Entering my thirties. The old me, who thought that success meant earning millions slaving yourself away at a job you hate, died. She burnt down with the fynbos….locked away in memories. I guess, I started to realize that there are more important things in life than work or money. Giving back to others is the real beauty of this world. There is magic in smiling at strangers, lending a helping hand to your neighbor or giving your time to your loved ones. All these little moments of goodness will bloom, just like the tiny flowers on the mountain. One day, these flowers will be big and bright and new hikers will admire their beauty!
This mountain trail suddenly made me smile. Realizing that nature sometimes takes her own course, and that I don’t have to feel sad for these plants. They are little fighters. Just like them, we will learn to bloom after the toughest fires.
Maybe my twenties was all about finding myself. Discovering my true passions in life. If it wasn’t for these jobs I hated or the relationships that left me heart broken, who knew where I would have spend my birthday. But this day turned out perfectly. I spend the day with the love of my life, my sister and my close friends. Realizing that all of them came out here to celebrate this sort of “mile stone” with me. The reserve couldn’t have been more beautiful. It was perfect. Even the sun came out for a little bit during our hike.
When I got home, my inbox was flooded with messages! People contacting me from all over the world! I was overwhelmed by the kindness and love. I guess, sometimes we forget just how important these little moments are.