Sunday, December 28, 2008

Peronal year-end thoughts

The year is ending in a few days' time. For me to say "time flies" is just an understatement. Where did all the days of 2008 go? They have whizzed by. There are moments which, like a whirlwind romance(not that I ever had one!), I wish could have lasted longer for me to savour them better. Some of those times could have even been boring, depressing, tiring, or frustrating ones but looking back, yes, looking back, they were the times that were unique only at that very particular moment then.

I realised this weirdly enough as I was doing something trivial but necessary this morning. After being tired of nagging Caitlin to complete her art-and-craft wind chime which has been abandoned in a heap on the dining table for one week, I decided to just finish up the job myself. During Christmas with extended family, she was introduced to a PC game called Spore. She is now hooked to it and has left some of her very-recent interests like some new Christmas gifts and this wind chime to rot for the time being. "Why am I doing this?" I asked myself aloud. "Because you love her", replied Eugene as he was vacuuming...

Self-awareness is an important thing. Being aware of the moment you are in and how you are (in doing and being) in that moment is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Miss it and it's gone. You never know what little reminders or gems of knowledge you can pick up when you are IN that moment.

Coincidentally, I've been following this TV series (on DVD and online) called 'Life' of late. The main character, Charlie Crews, is a cop who was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years. After he was cleared, his focus is living life one moment to the next, and doing his best to make sure each one is better than the last, in the midst of fighting crime (he was reinstated) and trying to figure out who had framed him.

2009 heralds a bunch of new things for ACE: new home i.e. new surroundings, new education experience (Caitlin is going to Year 1 in primary school on Jan 5th) which means a whole new daily routine for the entire family, new pet dogs (yup, in the plural until such time we convince Caitlin to give up one), a new client for me hopefully (I'm awaiting their confirmation), new plans for year-round activities, vacations etc.

Before we sing Auld Lang Syne, it's time to ask how 2008 really was for us. What should we be mindful of in 2009? Or should we live in the moment and focus on right here, right now, today, this minute? I am pondering on that. Many a time we live in the past and in the future. Our thoughts are always jumping between the past and the future, where we were and what we did in the past and what we envision and want the future to be. Seldom are we, or rather I'm speaking for myself, seldom am I, fully aware of the 'right here, right now', habits of a worrier and perfectionist.

Life is this moment in time. Why go shopping when you don't need anything? Why eat or buy more than you need to? Today, I discovered that on Christmas day, my former employer's wife had passed away after three months battling lymphoma. I feel sad for him and his kids. I had worked relatively closely with him (compared to others I've worked for whom I hardly ever took a liking to or respected) and met and spoken to his wife before too. She was a pleasant and good lady.

In the middle of this year, my dear grandmother left this world following colorectal cancer surgery. I lost a dear girlfriend my age close to three years ago, another colleague in her mid-20s 10 years ago, an aunt over 20 years ago, a classmate about 15 years ago...all to some form of cancer. Two weeks ago, my sister-in-law's dad passed away too from leukemia. Getting cancer is almost like catching a cold these days. I read somewhere that the risk is now one in every four people...

Cancer or no cancer, everyone dies. Living in the moment, knowing our purpose in life, leaving a beautiful legacy for our loved ones matters more than all the material things of this world. How much do we actually need? My girlfriend who lost her fight to cancer said in my last meeting with her that she didn't need much. How much clothes can you wear? One set for each day of the week is more than enough compared to those who don't even have a shirt on their backs.

And here, Caitlin and other kids whose parents can afford it have pretty dresses which they wear only a couple of times before they get outgrown. Being able to 'recyle' them as hand-me-downs is beside the point. Caitlin right now has enough pencils, erasers, sharpeners, crayons, colour pencils, pencil cases of all shapes and colours and designs, to last her entire 10-12 years of education probably. Mobile phones, computers, handheld game consoles, iPods, portable DVD players.... It's got to stop somewhere. We need to start somewhere to decide what's most important. I'm not saying we must live deprived lives deliberately but some sense of control, focus, balance must be there.

I don't find it easy to avoid temptation from eating more than I should (oh how I love to eat nice food!) or buying Caitlin a Nintendo simply because she looks so pitiful beside some kids who have their very own, but it is something I think I should stay steadfast on. Eat healthily, buy only what's necessary, live in the moment.

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