Friday, November 1, 2013

Good Week ?

A day ago my relative left the hospital, talking to him on the phone as his family drove him home, he sounded fresh and, yes, different: more articulate and perhaps self-aware, although difficult to tell in such a short conversation. Today is his birthday and he replied to my birthday greeting,’ 2nd life is the best gift ever’. So it is turning out to be a good week despite my mental and physical exhaustion at work.  Still scrambling, fighting fires; unable to define a systematic process that will help me, instead of being reactive to the events as they come. I scheduled several meeting to meet with customers and development team, writing minutes and updating tickets. Oftentimes this has made me inefficient, finding it difficult to multitask due to my aging brain(?), adjusting not only to the physical decline but to mental decline (?) as well. Oftentimes I am unable to continue working the rest of the day after these meetings.  Therefore, a systemic way of working is truly needed.

But I have too many excuses: adjusting to a new role, learning new tools, meeting and working with new people, increasing workload, continuing support to 2 systems, increased extracurricular tasks (as Area Governor in Toastmaster) and, lastly,  family problems. All these have added their burdens and my usual method of coping: exercising, Tai Chi meditation and journal writing to fight stress and pressure are not as effective today.  I also try to learn new things to keep my mind active by having new experiences (war re-enactment, electronic art, exploring parks, etc.) similar to what I tried to do in Singapore: learning to play the guitar and roller blading. The mind is elastic; participating in Toastmaster has been good but I may have reached my limit. But is it a mental boundary? Although I do feel that I have reached my physical boundaries as well. But one must go on and the fluid mind is the answer, to be light on one’s feet and not dwell on mistakes or embarrassments like the speech contest gaffe that occurred in last Saturday’s conference. But these are all trivial when compared to my friends’ ordeal.

I want to start a new, simpler life; borrow fewer books, see fewer movies and focus on important things: do I quit Toastmasters, stop my cable subscription and other insignificant things? Last weekend, I went and threw my bundle of junk mail, throwing away stuff like old boxes that piled up in the garage, placing my equipment in a new place so I can free up space in my cabinet; inconsequential ways to improve for sure, trying to rid the mind of old patterns that strive to be in motion, following the dictates of a ‘monkey’ mind. A hint of mortality has come with my friend’s episode, re-focusing life to the important things, seeking authenticity and relevance, trying to find signs of a life well – lived. Being middle aged, still unable to write and live the life of one’s dream, but pressed by challenges; aware finally of one’s mortality brings new freshness; to focus on what is important. One has to discard the dreams of a young man as no longer feasible, to travel more and seek more adventures; instead to stop wandering and hunker down as one prepares for the final fight with mortality.

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