What Was I Like When I Was 30


Today was the day…

I answered my Storyworth Question, “What was I like when I was 30?” Stacey gave me a Storyworth subscription for Christmas. Such a creative gift. Each Monday, I get a question, which I answer and send in. At the end of the year, you can pay to have all the answers compiled into a book which is a bit of an heirloom for the next generations. I’m a couple of questions behind. This one I got last Monday and I’ve spent the week thinking about it.

There are three things that have not changed since I was 30. They are the security and joy I find in:

  1. My relationship with God.
  2. My relationship with Mike.
  3. My relationship with Stacey and David.

A number of the questions Stacey has chosen for me to answer have made me dig deep into my mind and to do some soul searching. They are things I’ve not thought of or that have been buried for years. There are times I have sat at my computer typing and found tears rolling down my cheeks. Sometimes I have sobbed. I guess that’s the point of the exercise – to answer questions I would loved to have got answered from my parents but never thought to ask.

When I was 30, I struggled with self confidence. I remember in 1993, when I was not quite 29 and Radio Fish Hoek went on air, how in awe I was of the first presenter. A few years later when we launched as Radio CCFm, I remember seeing presenters sitting behind the microphone and engineering simultaneously. “I could never do that,” I thought.

When I was 30, I always thought I was an extrovert. I had a bubbly outgoing personality. I knew that. I was then and am now, hugely optimistic. I can’t help it. Optimism is my blood type (B+). But my lack of confidence at 30 resulted in my not being able to speak to strangers easily. I felt very unaccepted. My opinion was that everyone in the entire world was most likely more talented, clever and able than I was. I was the bottom of the pecking order in everything.  At 30, I felt judged.

Of course it wasn’t the case. I was to learn in my 30s, largely through CCFm that I had oodles of talent and ability, that was completely untapped and was just waiting to be unleashed. I just didn’t know it.

The Lord taught me gently. He guided me slowly. He equipped me gradually. The Holy Spirit filled me and nudged me – He enabled me and emboldened me. I started presenting the health show Learning Together on Radio CCFm. I knew I could do that short programme. It was 15 minutes. I was a fluent reader, so if I put words in front of myself, I would be fine. For a few years I did that show. I grew in confidence and ability.

The year was 1996 and I was not yet 32. It was a year I found myself earning a bit of money selling first aid supplies to restaurants across Cape Town. Little did I know, this was the training ground for bigger more meaningful things. When I was 30, I would tell you I was absolutely not a sales person. I was useless at selling. As a teenager, my Dad had once got me a job selling the Financial Gazette (newspaper subscription) in Zimbabwe. I sold one subscription to his friend. He took over my role and made more money in a month than he had ever done before. My Dad had what it took. At 30, I believed I didn’t. In 1996, I found myself this opportunity of selling first aid. It was a success! Then Mike wrote some travel agency software (this was when technology was in its infancy in business). With some success in phoning restaurants, I plucked up the courage to call Travel Agents. That was how he came to write the software for HR. Towards the middle of 1996, as I was spending more time at CCFm doing Learning Together, I saw their need for help in their sales department. The Lord started nudging me to offer my services. I was not confident of my ability to do that. I knew nothing about radio. I knew nothing about advertising. I was not the ideal person at all. But the thought was there, so I prayed about it. I wrestled with it. Not me, not me! For three months I prayed about it. If I were to do this, there was no place for failure. The radio station would need me to succeed. It was absolutely terrifying.

I was 32, confidence was growing in tiny increments as I had sold first aid and hadn’t been eaten. Eventually, I offered my services to Avril at CCFm. In January 1997 I would start selling advertising for CCFm. It would be commission only. If I sold, I earned. If I didn’t sell anything I wouldn’t earn anything.

Adverts cost R30 each. I started making phone calls. I would sit in the office next to Sandy Day and I would phone companies – one after the other. Sandy, at the end of a phone call would say, ‘tell them this or tell them that.’ The next phone call I would say what Sandy had said and behold, some started accepting my offer for a visit. Off I would go with my file in hand, dressed in my Sunday best. Corporate Helga.

I am a people person. I like to watch people. At 30 I was always observing what others did. It was helpful. I would watch those who seemed to have a lot more confidence than I. It was useful. I watched Avril – she had confidence. I would watch how she interacted with people. I would go out and try do the same. One day, I found myself in Woodstock at a kitchen company. I did my sales pitch. The manager said, “I’ll take the biggest package.” I smiled and said “Okay, that’s great.” And then I sat in wonder. Eventually he said, “Aren’t you going to make me sign something?” “Oh yes!” I pulled out my order form and wrote up the deal. He signed it. I think it was for just over R5000 – such a huge amount of money in 1997. I was in disbelief. I had stepped out of the boat and was walking on water.

A glimmer of confidence rose in my 32 year old self.

It took me 4 years to sell R1 million of advertising. I could not tell people about that milestone without becoming emotional. The Lord had used me to provide for CCFm. While I was confident now about selling advertising, I knew where it really came from. God opened the doors. I walked through.

Yes my self confidence grew, but my confidence in my Mighty God grew bigger.

If I could re-do 30, there is one thing I would jump all over and that is my relationship with my Mom. I felt so much that I needed to earn her acceptance and was always trying to do that. The truth was, I just needed to be me. If I could do 30 again, I would have had an honest chat with her. Spoken my truth. Let her speak hers. Not sweep the past under the carpet. Say the hard things – then move on.  I love her. There are no hard feelings. Be free. Be happy. No regrets.

55 is a good place to be. I am not an extrovert. I’m an outgoing introvert. I’m an introvert at heart, but I love people. I get my energy from being alone.

Here’s a family photo.  It is May 1991. David is 2 months old and Stacey is 3 and 5 months. Mike is 40. I am 27. I longed to turn 30 so I would be somehow, closer to Mike in age. I loved turning 30, but then again, I also loved turning 40 and loved turning 50. No doubt, I’ll love turning 60!

I went for a 4.4km walk/jog. It was wonderful.

Corona Stats – May/June –

  • Sunday 31st – 1714 new cases – 40 deaths (16809 recovered/15191 active)
  • Monday 1st June – 1674 new cases – 22 deaths (17291 recovered/16361 active)
  • Tuesday 2nd June – 1455 new cases –50 deaths (18313 recovered/16744 active)
  • Wednesday 3rd June – 1713 new cases – 37 deaths (19682 recovered/17051 active)
  • Thursday 4th June – 3267 new cases – 56 deaths (21311 recovered/18633 active)
  • Friday 5th June – 2642 new cases -60 deaths (23088 recovered/19438 active)
  • Saturday 6th June -2539 new cases – 44 deaths (24258 recovered/20763 active)

Total cases: 45973. Total deaths: 952

Keep going. Keep safe.

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

And that is my experience.

The best is yet to come.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂


1 year and 207 days

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