And that’s okay.

Photo by Kazuky Akayashi on Unsplash

I have a long-running joke with a close friend: we confess to one another when we’ve only been able to complete half (or even a quarter) of a single, common household chore. The reason could be anything from having had a bad work day to being ill or, inexplicably, just feeling down in the dumps. I must admit, I am more often than not the guilty party, and doing the dishes remains my ultimate vice.

Tonight, I only managed to clean half the kitchen. I simply didn’t feel like I had the energy or motivation to finish the job. I…


Another perspective on 21 days of alone time.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

For the last couple of days — as South Africa unavoidably followed many other regions in locking down to slow the spread of the coronavirus — the panic has focused on the distressing and unimaginable concept of having to stay home for three full weeks. No social gatherings. No visits to the gym. No after-work drinks with friends. No spontaneous drives to the beach. And gasp: no McDonald’s or KFC. The emphasis hasn’t really been on how to wrap your head around potentially revelling in this unchartered territory.

On Day 2 of 21, I have an unusual fear that doesn’t…


The Alps may be white, but the grass isn’t always greener

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

The Swiss have clearly lost their way. On my seventh day here, I can’t quite imagine why anyone would want to visit or live in a place that falls so far short of the benchmark set by Africa’s southernmost country. I managed to curtail this list down to just 6 key reasons why South Africa offers a far superior quality of life.

Crossing the road

In South Africa, it’s generally accepted that as a pedestrian, crossing the road is done so at your own discretion: any opportunity to do so, regardless of surrounding conditions or the colour of the man on the “traffic…


I’ve been here before, but I also haven’t

Photo by Patryk Sobczak on Unsplash

I think the one thing that stays with you after you get your heart broken for the first time is this: what can I do to make sure this never, ever, in any universe, happens to me again? Unfortunately, the answer doesn’t amount to much, because by truly loving, we open ourselves up to potentially grieving. The one will always follow the other, in some shape or form.

The alternative to not getting your heart broken is not to love at all, but who really wants that life?

I’m 32. The jokes I used to make about “growing up” and…


Higher highs, lower lows

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

A few months ago, my parents — both nearly 70 — went on their first overseas trip. At 27, I had sledded down the Swiss Alps, gazed up at the Eiffel Tower on a chilly Paris day, and eaten pizza in Rome.

The contrast between what I’ve been able to do at less than half their age is something I’m almost embarrassed about. I certainly never worked any harder for it.

As much as buying property now may be tougher than it once was, my generation has access to a sea of new possibilities that quite simply weren’t an option…


It’s one of life’s ultimate free gifts, but a little bit of effort is required from both sides

Photo by Luke Ellis-Craven on Unsplash

Have you ever had a conversation so good that it left you reliving it for days, weeks, months, or even years after it took place?

Just as we put traveling, marriage, or stepping into your first home up on a pedestal as the “ultimate” expressions of human joy, I believe great conversations are up there too. A great conversation is not merely an exchanging of words, but a fusing of energies that is more easily felt than described. …


Their words, too cruel for ears that yearn for a sweet song

Their arrogance, too overbearing for a spirit enchanted by humility

Their judgements, too crushing, too instant, for a mind that slowly but devotedly seeks to understand what it does not

Their actions, too destructive for eyes that mist over at the sight of an airport embrace

Their selective intolerance, too hypocritical for a conscience that feels for all who suffer

Their knee-jerk reactions, too hasty, too brutally delivered for an empathetic wretch

If only they could…

Slow down.

Soften up.

Listen more.

Trade action for stillness.

Seek harmony, not victory.

But they won’t, because this is their modern world.

We’re just in it, and often it’s hell.


Living in the future isn’t quite as exciting as it’s made out to be

For anyone that’s an anxiety sufferer, we can easily distinguish between feeling anxious about something (as we all do from time to time) and being an anxiety sufferer.

‘Healthy’ anxiety keeps us alert when there is a threat. Damaging anxiety feels as real, but is more constant and irrational. It’s more to do with what’s imagined than what’s actually happening.

Anxiety sufferers tend to live in the future, building up detailed pictures and events of how things could negatively unfold. This involuntary ripple effect is powerful enough to overcome your rational way of thinking.

Here’s a glimpse into what anxiety…


One of the world’s busiest cities, it seems everyone here has something to do and somewhere to be, but is there any escape from the madness? I tried to find out.

We stood in a long airport queue without the required immigration card to get to our baggage. Our lift to the hotel was nowhere to be seen. It was pouring outside, with clouds so dense they concealed even the towering skyscrapers. In what is one of the world’s most ‘vertical’ cities, things weren’t quite looking up — everything was a bit of a blur.

Or, maybe that blur was entirely appropriate, because that’s what this city felt like. Back in South Africa, the concept of a city centre or CBD is very well established.

Head into Long Street in Cape…


Ironically, this is probably popping up in your Facebook feed.

Even more ironically, because of social media’s very existence, I have the job that I have today. I should be telling you to spend as much time as possible scrolling endlessly, in the same endless way that single summer mosquito only begins buzzing when the lights have gone off.

But no, not today. Today, I’m saying: stop. Even if for a few more minutes than you’re used to.

Recently, after a piece-of-shit month, I realized I was spending the bulk of my time scrolling. …

Karl Ryan Furlong

Happiest on a tennis court, in a fast car, or writing something. Introvert. INFP.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store