I’m not a fan of year-end blogs and retrospection. This is a fact. I’m not really a fan of New Year’s Eve celebrations either, unless of course, if I’m in Sydney and watching the fireworks. You know, I was meaning to leave the “A Year in Review” post to Frankie (she’s still doing it, I believe) because this is definitely not that kind of a post. This is more of “a life in review” kind of entry. It was written not out of sentimentality for the inevitable end of 2012 – for I am no sentimental fool – rather, it was jotted down and thought about with the hopes of putting things in perspective.
This morning, as I was cooking breakfast, I reflected on things that I saw and read on the Internet and how I realised that most of my waking time is spent online. It got me to acknowledge (yet again) that not all that I see on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Plurk are true representations of what life is really like. I guess I just needed to remind myself not to get disappointed or infuriated when someone I know posts something that is only a version of the truth. Then that train of thought led me to think about life and honesty and acceptance. (Don’t ask me to map out my thought pattern because I can’t do it.) Anyway, the point is, it got me thinking.
1. Life can be pretty crap sometimes. People can be pretty crap most of the time. Deal with it. Every breathing moment is an opportunity to make good choices. I get it right sometimes, and then other times, I just shrug my shoulders and get on with it. No, seriously. It’s not that hard. The world will continue to turn and move forward and it doesn’t care about my precious little feelings or what achievements I’ve accomplished today or what monumental sacrifices I’ve made for family or career. The sooner I got over that, the better I felt about waking up in the morning.
2. Likeability and subtlety are my super powers. Just because I am right doesn’t mean I have to insist on it. They are many ways to convince a person that they are wrong without having to point an accusatory finger. About a month ago, a friend told me that I could pretty much tell anyone that they are full of sh*t without getting into trouble. She said, I have the ability to break unpleasant news with an honest face and a smile that no matter how bad it is, it doesn’t sound so horrible when I say it. When I was younger, I saw a bumper sticker that read: Diplomacy is the ability to tell a person to go to hell that he actually looks forward to the trip. Subconsciously, I think I must have been honing that skill.
3. Lead by example. Ah, this is a skill I need to keep practicing. I can’t be saying something and doing the exact opposite. While I don’t have any ambitions to be a leader of any sort, it doesn’t hurt to influence or inspire other people in a positive way. If everyone did that, then we’d have a world filled with positive people inspiring each other to be better!
4. Bring your own sunshine. This way, I can always be happy wherever I go. I can’t even count the number of times this has helped me and even those around me cope with very trying times. To give you two examples, it proved useful while I was lugging a 17-kg suitcase up four flights of stairs in Paddington. It kept me calm and smiling while running towards the departure gate in Bucharest as my name was being called a third and final time.
5. If you can’t beat ‘em, DON’T join ‘em. Not sure if I told you, but some months back, I bought a tablet. I got the Asus Infinity Pad. It wasn’t cheap and I probably could’ve gotten a cheaper tablet that would’ve worked just as well. I have this aversion to being like everyone else. In this case, I didn’t want to have an iPad like half of everyone else and I didn’t want to be like the other half who bought some form of Galaxy tablet just so they can’t be associated with the iPad-carrying legion. I can’t explain it so I’ll just say it’s the Aquarian in me. On a much deeper level, I re-learned that I don’t have to act like everyone else to be accepted into a pack. What I find is that pack mentality quickly loses its moral compass and I never ever want to lose that. Be it at work or in social gatherings, it’s always better to be true to myself. If it doesn’t work out, I refer to #1 and move on.
Let me just clarify that I don’t consider myself perfect for acknowledging or understanding those five points. As humans, we were designed to be perfectly flawed and in this instance, I am just like everyone else who struggles to make the most of what’s been given to me. It’s in how we react to those struggles that will define who we really are and will be the blueprint for how we will act out the rest of our lives.
So as the year closes, I leave you with a story that I’m pretty sure you’ve read before:
Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee – Author Unknown
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one would pop up.Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire, and soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma then asked,
“What does it mean, grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.
I’ve already made my choice and each year, I will continue to make the same choice. By the way, it’s my favourite drink. 😉
What will you choose in 2013?