Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

After living in 12 addresses, four cities, and two countries, it can easily be assumed that I have mastered the art of moving.  Or worse, I am an escape artist.  Or probably I am a free-spirited soul who flies wherever the wind blows.  However none of these assumptions are farther from the truth.

I am a creature of habit.  I thrive on routines, schedules and templates with Swiss clock-worth precision.  Sure, I can be spontaneous.  But I would have to make a schedule for that in my calendar as well.  As someone who is adverse to diverting from my set of routines, how I have subjected myself to various detours and changes especially these recent past five years.  Oh, the irony of this sweet life of mine!

Why do I keep on moving then? ... I am not a coward nor am I a quitter.  The temptation to go back to what is familiar is strong but that is cowardice.  I want to do what is right for me, and not what is easy.  It takes courage, guts and  a dash of craziness to relocate. It is tough having to relocate.  I had to learn to give up, let go and move on. I had to overcome my sentimentality and strong attachment issues, particularly on material things.   

Adventure. Whilst I do not want to constantly put my life on the edge, I do not want to stagnate either.  Every time I feel afraid, the more I push myself further even with great hesitation - because this is the only way I will know where my limits lie.  I have journeyed a thousand miles and my frequent flyer points have helped me attain a wealth of skills and breadth of experience.  

Contrary to other people's beliefs, I am not flimsy nor fickle minded.  Had they lived up to the options I faced, they would have moved too - even earlier than I did.  Or they could have opted to stay and rot. 

I am definitely not running away from something.  I am chasing after something.  And what is that something? ... That is the question.  I have pondered over this question so many times over and over during my short break in my hometown.  I have discovered that in my younger years, I was aiming for success.  But now, I am aiming for significance.

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” —Leo Rosten

Success may be easier to be measured and achieved through titles,  position, possessions and financial acquisition.  However, significance carries on, it is long lasting and it leaves a strong impact to the people and the world around you.

Personally, I want to live a life of legacy.  A life worth emulating.  A life of character and integrity. A life that touches. A life that is shared. A life that ignites and leaves a spark of happiness.      

Now in my quest for significance, where will this take me?  Will this bring me to  my thirteenth address? fifth city or third country?  Address, more likely yes but city and country, I definitely hope NOT!  I am at this stage that I want to settle.  And by settle I do not mean, settle down but settle UP.  It means finding my place under the sun, take root, bloom and bear more fruits. 

My journey towards significance has just started.  I know I have a long way to go and the route is far more worth than the thousand mile journey that I have already taken. Who knows how many thousand miles further I need to take?   I will still take it because I am confident that this journey will finally lead me home, in the arms of where I truly belong.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Homecoming Queen

As soon as the plane hit the ground and the stewardess announced its touch-down, I sighed heavily in my heart.  I was dreading to go back to my hometown.  I am going home single and jobless.  How am I going to face these people back home empty handed?  As I walked along the tarmac, I came up with a list of different excuses ranging from polite to funny to sarcastic responses depending on the person who is asking, the level of our relationship and the degree of our closeness.

People back home hold such high esteem on me, that they impose such high expectations.  The pressure to maintain sitting on that pedestal is not easy.  I can see myself dislodged from that pedestal anytime soon.  I was ready.  I am prepared.

As soon as I stepped out of the airport, I made myself ready and equipped myself with an invisible shield (my breastplate of "excuses"), my lipstick and my best showbiz smile.  

It's show time!... Keep all those questioning daggers coming, I am ready for your questions.  I am fully armed with my list of answers.

However, much to my surprise, people warmly embraced me and lovingly accepted my status, just as I am - with not much revolt.  Of course, they find it hard  to believe how a beautiful lady like me, who ticks all the right boxes, can still be single.  But other than that, they accept it and they respect my case.  

I realized that there was no need to use my long list of invented "excuses".  I let down my invisible shield and my fake smile. There was no need for me to hide and put up my defenses.  I opened up again back to my raw self - genuine, carefree and confident.

Upon realizing this, I was greatly humbled.  I learned few other more lessons from this homecoming:

First, I worry too much.  I worry about other people's opinion of me.  I even falsely accused them of thinking the worst about me. And all of these were proven to be utterly wrong. I thought I would be frowned upon with my given situation. I feared the worst and stressed myself with unnecessary burden.  On the plane, I carried with me an excess baggage full of nonsense worries, which could have been left at the rubbish bin in the first place.  It was like I paid a down payment over a debt I did not owe.  I should not worry.  I should relax and trust the good judgement of the people around me.

Second, I am my own worst critic.  I complain about how other people hold such high esteem on me and how they put me up on a pedestal, when I feel like I do not deserve to be.  However, as I let down my own guards, I was able to see myself through their lens and discovered a beautiful truth about me.  It takes humility to accept that.  It is because of my pride that I refused to debunk this ideology at first, because it felt too much trying to maintain and keep up with that good perfect reputation.  However, I realized that I do not need to exert much, I just need to be my genuine self and open it up to them.  No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.   People esteem me highly precisely because of my "Me-ness" and not because of what I have and my possessions.  Even in my nothingness, people are still blessed by my story, my experience, my insights, my talents, my gentleness, my meekness, my caring and compassionate ways.  In short, my amazing-ness.  Yes, I am amazing.  I need to remind myself this... everyday.  And yes, I deserve my crown. I should not resist sitting on the throne but rather sit comfortably in there with genuine humility, grace and elegance.         

Third, I need to adjust my perspective.  I viewed my situation with a defeated mindset of being jobless and man-less.  But friends and family view my situation as freedom - free to be anywhere, anytime and free to find that one great love that I truly deserve.  It is not defeat, but rather an opportunity.  The best is yet to come.  Besides, I am not totally job-less (man-less, yes, but jobless no).  I have successfully established the groundworks for our thriving family business.  It is doing well, that it can now run on its own without my constant supervision.  Now I can move on to something bigger.  Oh yes, the best is yet to come.  

Fourth, I should give love a chance.  For the longest time, I have placed an "off limits" sign against cupid at the doorpost of my heart.  I did not want to put myself in that place of vulnerability again. Because when I give, I give my all.  No holding back. I do not want to lose myself and fall madly, deeply in love with someone again.  This is a self defense mechanism that I have built to protect myself.  However, seeing my parent's marriage, it has reminded me that love - despite the pain, sorrows and heartache is a beautiful thing.  Their marriage is not perfect but it is real.  I have seen how they both occasionally fail each other and how they both extend patience, forgiveness and compromise with each other. Oh, how good it is to share a lifetime with someone you love and who loves you back.  I should not close my doors on love.  Just because my previous relationships failed in the past, does not mean that I am incapable of loving and neither am I incapable of being loved.  No,  am not automatically launching my man hunt any minute sooner.  What is meant to be, will find its own way.  I won't search for love, I will let it find me.  Given the right time, the right man, the right intentions and the right motives - this time I will not resist. I will be open to love and let love take its own course.  

Fifth, I am loved.  I am blessed to have an abundance of love from my family and friends.  After living on my own for very so long, I have adopted the hermit kind of lifestyle. I could survive for days happily soaking myself in my own solitude, with no need for social interaction.  Content living on my own, I forget the connections I have made with the rest of the world.  And this has made me feel totally alone and utterly unloved (especially after facing the rejection I have received from my previous relationships).  But this not true.  I am loved. And for this, I am truly humbled, honored and grateful.

All these lessons give me courage, strength and confidence to face the new challenges I am about to face in my new adventure.

As soon as the plane launched towards the sky and the stewardess announced its take-off, it suddenly dawned on to me .... it's for real, I am leaving home - again - in a bigger quest to conquer my dreams.  I questioned  myself.  I wanted to ask the pilot to take me back home.  I panicked.  Then, I slowly reminded myself of the new found lessons and insights I have learnt from home.  It is so easy writing them down.  Living them and applying them daily is another test I need to master.  

Gentle note to myself: Be brave little one, everything will be all right.  Always keep a little prayer in your pocket and be sure to see the light.  Remember these lessons and keep going.  It will not be easy.  There will be days of trials and challenges, but promise me one thing - never give up when things get tough, OK?  Remain focused on your journey to greatness.  The race of life is not a race of speed but a race of endurance.  Dreams don't have expiration dates.  Keep dreaming, keep pushing, keep trying.  In due time, all that hard work will make your dreams come true.