A very dear friend was describing a few years ago how he’d had a gut full and was fed up. ‘Gatvol’ he said, in his distinctive Afrikaans accent. The way he said it and the memory of what he was going through stuck.

Very recently a new friend and colleague was telling me some of what they’re experiencing and how they didn’t understand why they were struggling. They’d have brushed it off in the youth, they said. I suggested that with age we can accumulate baggage and eventually cant carry anymore – at least without feeling it. We talked a lot and I related the word ‘gatvol’ in a terrible imitation of my dear friend’s accent.

Today I caught up with my colleague again, and they’d anchored on the word having found it helpful. The term had helped them visualise where they were and put aside thoughts of inadequacy.

We don’t have to have all the answers to be helpful. Empathy and connection go a long way.

Kindly, keep going.

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