THE ART OF CHOOSING | theartofchoosing


The choices you make in life can be “just the ticket”, as my dear late mother would say, or making a bad choice could ruin your life forever, (if you allow it to).

It is just a matter of learning #theartofchoosing, and moving on if you have made an unfortunate choice.

THE ART OF CHOOSING is definitely an art, and you may think it is your duty to decide what is in the best interest of you, and your loved ones, so think long and hard before making decisions that could harm them in the long run.

If your loved ones are your children, they will get to the stage in life where the things you might choose for them will definitely not be their choice. I may tell you this stage in their life can begin at a very early age.

There was no way in the world my daughter would wear anything pink, and she decided this for herself when she was about three years of age.

To avoid dissension in the house, and a lot of screaming, I found it best for her to choose her own outfits to wear. They were sometimes really odd but they made her happy


With choice come consequences. Choose wisely.


What a daunting thing this is, especially as we were taught not to argue with our elders. Mum had very definite ideas about everything, and it was a challenge for me when I left home to actually think for myself.  There was no way I could argue with my mother without there being dire consequences.

It had been so much easier taking the path of the least resistance in my youth.

Leaving school at the age of 16 was my choice, and a bad one at that, even though it was a financial necessity.

When my sister Gaye, left to go nursing at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, I promptly went out and got myself a job.

Well, that was a laugh. I applied at the local Post Office to become a telephonist. When I went for the interview with the Post Master he asked me, in Afrikaans, who is the Prime Minister. In Afrikaans the name for Prime Minister is “Eerste Minister”, and in my ignorance of Afrikaans, having been schooled mostly in Zimbabwe, I took that to mean the first minister and I gave the name of the Dutch Reformed minister at the time.

How I got the job I will never know. They must have been desperate.

Upon my return home after being told I was hired, I broke the news to my parents. Knowing my amazing capability in speaking Afrikaans, once they got over the shock, they were highly amused.

I really thought this would be a stepping stone to learning to speak Afrikaans, and I did to a certain extent.


#Be Wise about money

When I left home to live in Pietermaritzburg, at the grand old age of 17, my belief that I was now a grown-up, felt that I had learned the Art of Choosing, and could stand on my own two feet was shattered when I realized all the decisions I would have to make for myself.

Fortunately, I had Gaye there, and what a fantastic time we had together. Although she was living in the nurse’s home and me in the YWCA. We spent as much time as we could enjoy our youthful pursuits.

One of the lessons I learned very early on was not to open any accounts, as tempting as this is, they have to be paid.

The story that the best way to deal with accounts is to throw them up in the air, and only pay the ones that stay up, if just not true.

Not that I tried it.

Working for a bank in Pietermaritzburg taught me a lot about managing my money matters, and that money matters a lot.



When I was young we were not as career-conscious as the young of today are. If there was no possibility of going to university, or no encouragement to do so, then you looked for a job.

There were many more possibilities for work in a city than in the little village I lived in. Hence, the move, and the opportunity of a job at the bank.

Something I learned very early on, is that I was not cut out to work for a boss, especially when his actions did not warrant respect.

One morning I was summoned to the boss’ office to find him looking through files.

He kept me standing there beside his desk. And as he finished with each file, he threw it down onto the floor.

When he was quite done, he said, “Pick them up, Miss Bennie.”

I was furious and told him, he had thrown them down, he could jolly well pick them up himself, and stalked out of his office.

No, I did not get fired, and he never tried that with me again.

Somehow, I had earned some respect from him, and we managed to get along for the years I worked there.

It became more and more obvious to me that I was a much better solo entrepreneur. So I began my more stimulating journey in various sewing and artistic pursuits.

They began as pass-time pursuits, making money on the side, while still holding down a full-time job.


There is so much truth in the belief if you want to be happy working, work wherever you like and at something you love.

My only caveat was the feeling that whenever I sold one of my paintings, it felt as though I was losing a bit of my soul.

All my other business ventures were exciting and rewarding, and when it came to making specialized medical garments, many times heart and gut-wrenching but I saw it as being of service to the community.

One of my most enjoyable, and I must say, challenging as well, is the business learning the art of online business with Wealthy Affiliate.

It would not be so challenging if I had ever done a computer course, as now everything is new to me. When I actually achieve something or receive a great comment from one of my peers, it is such a boost to my confidence. The community is so caring and helpful at Wealthy Affiliate.

Although the past few years have not been the easiest for me personally, having a husband in frail care who does not always recognize me, is very difficult.

I can honestly say that I have not laughed so much in years, and that is due to the often amazingly funny topics people write about in the most comical way.

THE ART OF CHOOSING | 20190808 163323

My Dad, the ultimate storyteller

If it were up to me, and I know it isn’t, because everyone has a choice, I would advise –

  • anyone who has no job,
  • is bored,
  • needs a laugh,
  • wants a challenge,
  • is looking to earn and learn at the same time
  • who loves writing, or storytelling
  • to join Wealthy Affiliate.


THE ART OF CHOOSING | GIRLS CHOOSE TO RELAX AT THE SPAWe are spoiled for choice when it comes to what we eat.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in many becoming hooked on the sweeter things in life.

Many sweeteners are added to most of the food we buy. How many of us bother to read the ingredients to check how much sugary substance is added, before purchasing the products?

There is a regular debate about whether to eat sugar, butter, full-fat low-fat, or no-fat, which makes it more and more confusing to the consumer.

One diet says no meat (vegan), another says to cut out carbohydrates (Banting), eat a Mediterranean diet, and on and on it goes.

What to choose???

Is it any wonder that obesity is such an enormous (excuse the pun) problem in many countries?

The importance of taking care of our physical and emotional well-being is so important.

Friends and I find going on a Spa day does the trick.

Usually, the food is excellent and nourishing.

It is wonderful returning home after being pampered, knowing that getting back into work mode is made much easier after enjoying a relaxing day with family and friends.


#it's a dogs life

Oh my, this is the cause of many an argument in households all over. There are lovers of dogs, cats, fish, birds, or those not interested in having any pets,

Pets bring so much joy and pleasure to those who love them. They teach children empathy, which is crucial in a well-balanced individual.

Our family, as a whole, is passionate about animals.

Perhaps not all quite as much as my dear brother Myles, and his wife Daphne, they have six dogs (mostly rescue), two cats, chickens, a tank full of fish, and wild troops of monkeys which bound across the roof. From time to time, they come inside to help themselves to whatever they can find.

These animals are truly loved, very well cared for, and rule the roost. (The monkeys are tolerated.)

Now, this may not suit everyone, but to have these pets is their choice.

It was a great experience spending time with their family earlier this year.

To have a huge dog sleep on one side of me and a cat on the other was different from sleeping alone. Very comforting actually.

We were spoiled with fresh eggs every morning for breakfast. The hens are such good layers so there was plenty to give away, and even to sell.

THE ART OF CHOOSING | STONEY THE CHOSEN ONEWe all find our happy places, and Mitzi, my little dachshund chose her most comfortable place in which to settle down.

Obviously, the grass was not good enough for madam. Major’s back was much more to her liking.

#Mitzi chose her own happy space


When I was asked by a colleague if I wanted a dog as she and her husband were parting company, and they needed two dogs to be homed. The one being a spaniel and the other a German Shepherd.

Little did I know how large the German Shepherd, Stoney was until the vehicle arrived, and when I saw the size of the dog I felt a little intimidated. It is so different bringing up a dog from puppyhood.

Anyway, I said if he and my little dachshund got along, chose to keep him.

It was a match made in heaven. They loved each other from the very beginning and as for taking Stoney for training, well that was for me to be trained, not him.

He knew all the tricks of the trade. When we played ball and the ball got full of sand and saliva, he would promptly take it to his water bowl and wash it off before returning the sopping wet ball to me so that we could continue the game.

What a wonderful choice I made when I chose to take in this beautiful creature. My vet said he was so big he must have been crossed with a donkey.

There are some dogs who just crawl right into your heart, however big they might be.




My grandson, George, played hockey at school and really enjoyed it.

After going to the ice rink with his Auntie Lauren which he enjoyed so much, despite a few falls and clutching the surrounding barrier, he decided he would go back as often as he could.

This was just before his 13th birthday. It was something new and exciting to do.

Then he was introduced to ice hockey and that was that. He was totally hooked.

THE ART OF CHOOSING and becoming a part of the ice hockey team was a huge commitment on his behalf, and on behalf of his loving parents who had to get him to practice at 5.30 in the morning.

Then to play in matches at 6 in the evening.

He had found his passion and the sport which he wanted to pursue.

With the encouragement of his parents, and coach and loving what he was doing. It wasn’t long before he earned his Under 14 Western Province Colors.

His progress was swift from then on and soon he got his under-16 Western Province Colors as well. He was only 14.

He seems to have a natural ability for the sport.

Now, at the age of 14, he often plays with the under-21 team. We were all so proud of him when he scored three goals in the last game.

It really shows that one should follow a dream, and put in the effort to reap the rewards.


Good or bad?

How have you coped with them?

Things that have been life-changing?

Are there choices you made and wished you could change?

I hope most of the choices you have made are really great ones, and that they have made you happy.

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. It’s unfortunate, but so many people, including myself, seem to make far too many of the wrong choices. Not every choice was a bad one, but it seems like the most important choices are the ones where I (and many others) go wrong.

    Why is it so hard, for instance, to find the right person to marry? Why do half(or maybe more these days)of marriages end up in divorce? So many people seem to get this important choice wrong.

    I even worked at a job I didn’t really like for 50 years. Go figure. I guess it was just safer to keep the job than to go out and find another one. The longer you work at a place the more seniority you have. That means more pay and more holidays with pay. It just became harder and harder to consider giving up.

    I found your post very interesting and it made me think of the decisions I have made in my life. I’m sure many others will find it very illuminating as well.

    • Hi Ray, It can be hard to look back on the mistakes we have made, but I still feel that we do learn from them. You are not the first one to stay in a job you weren’t happy doing for so long. It was what was expected of us.

      I trust you are now happy doing what you want to do.

      Wishing you all the best. Thank you so much for finding my post interesting.

      Kind regards,


  2. Every choice we make shape our future either it is good or bad. Choices are part of our life experiences and we grow by learning from the consequences of them. I think all of us have made choices in the past that we have regretted but this is part of the learning curve. You cannot expect to make decisions without mistakes.If we become comfortable with the idea that choice making will bring out mistakes then we are on the right path for our self improvement.

    • Hi Stratos, Well said. Thank you for your insights.

      Thank you also for reading my post and comments.

      All the best,


  3. Indeed, our choices have consequences and it is unfortunate that sometimes we just make make choices without thinking through. But we must accept, deal with the consequences and move on.

    Thank you for sharing your story, quite funny how you answered Prime Minister’s title.And what courage did you have to stand up to your bank boss at that young age?

    Thank you for such an inspiring and witty article. All the best in your online business venture.

    • Hi Carol, Thank you so much. I am sure I have made plenty of mistakes in my life but also sure that they were made to teach me to try harder. 

      There was no way I was going to be bullied by a man in that manner. Coming from a family with a number of siblings I had to learn how to stand up for myself. Good thing too.

      All the very best,


  4. Dear Jill,

    Thanks a lot for the inspiring and insightful article. Every single time I read an article of yours I learn so much new stuff!

    Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you. – John C. Maxwell

    What you said is true! Some bad choices I made hurt my life and my business badly. Sometimes when it comes to choosing clothes, it’s better to leave it as per their choice. If we insist and buy as per our choice the cloth will sleep they won’t wear it lol.

    I am not able to stop my laughter when I read your interview with the Post Master. After several failures in my business, I have chosen to follow my passion and as you mentioned the best thing is I am able to turn my passion into profits. Wow, your article covered everything business, diet, finance management, sports, etc. You have provided great advice and sharing from your experience adds more value to this article.

    Nice article. I really enjoyed the content and in the manner that you presented.

    Choices are the hinges of destiny. – Edwin Markham


    • Hi Paul, Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I also love the quotes. So fitting.

      Yep, we all make mistakes, but if we are able to learn from them and just try again, all the better. 

      Thanks so much for reading my post, and enjoying it.

      All the best,


  5. I have great believe in this qoute ‘choosing is responsible’. I never knew the gravity of this qoute until I started planning on my own. My little younger brother at age 16 is now yelling for thesame responsibility. I told my parents never to deny him of that for him not to be shattered emotionally. There’s a fulfilment when you do your thing in a way you so much love. This is an enlightening review that worth revisiting.

    • Hi Stella, Great comments. It is always good to accept responsibility. Not always easy for a parent to feel the child is ready but it certainly gives them a feeling of self-respect to feel trusted.

      All the best,


  6. Good Morning Jill,

    Reading in your post that your little daughter refused to wear pink made me smile as it reminded me of my childhood. I was a happy little girl, lots of hobbies, never bored, not a typical girl but more a tomboy and also very stubborn. I was born in 1950 in Australia and my Mother had read Dr. Spock and his more gentle approach to raising children. Later in life, he admitted that a firm no now and then does not harm a child but anyhow…

    Oh, money, now that deserves a chapter of its own. I did get a little pocket money but not much. Then came the day the first, ugly, big, and plastic, transistor radios came on the market. I needed one and told my Mother. She said ok but you will have to work for it. These radios were very expensive like 75 guilders. She bought 150 blank cards with envelopes and told me to paint nice sets of 10 Christmas cards she would sell to her friends. I started painting, all enthusiastic but must confess that halfway the angel wings were no good and the Christmas trees kind of lopsided. My Mother was adamant and made me repeat until the cards looked nice.

    Then the big day arrived and we went to buy the radio. It was big and a shiny red and I loved it. The house was soon filled with the loud music of the Beatles, Cliff Richard, Elvis, etc.

    Further down in your post I came upon that nice photo of you with the girls. Yes, we really should read the labels and one should try to eat more of that type of food that does not need a label. Back to nature. As I live in the south of Spain I have been eating a Mediterranean diet for many years and feel good with it. Did you know that Spain is at the top of the Bloomberg list?

    Living on a farm and having a lot of space I always had cats and dogs. Mine have also been rescued and what I call walk-ins, suddenly they are there, here we like it and stay. Animals are a great joy and will make you cry bitter tears when they have to leave. Yes, you are right, there is nothing nicer than the eggs from your happy chickens.

    Ok, now I better stop, breakfast is waiting. The choices I have made in my life have been generally good and if not I needed to learn a lesson. I really enjoyed your post.

    Regards, Taetske

    • Hi Taetske, How lovely it was to read about your childhood and having to work towards getting your radio. It sounds so much like my own childhood. We appreciated everything we worked for. Can just picture you sitting listening to the music.

      The animals we had were also strays who just appeared. We loved them to bits. I do recall a time when my aunt who bred cocker spaniels let us take one home on appro. It was tucked under my school blazer as we were not allowed to have animals on the bus. How could my mother and father resist this dear little black bundle of mischief and joy?

      Thank you so much for reading my post, and for the really great comments.

      All the best,


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