Life is never fair, they say. And the same goes for work, as I’ve just realised. For once I realise that there are so many things beyond my control. Gone are the days whereby sweat + tears = results. I am now dealing with so many other external factors, it feels like nothing is within my full control anymore. And for a control-freak like me, that means adapt, or fail. It means accept it and move on, or stay resentful and lose out even more. Work then, is a never-ending lesson on taking things in my stride, staying positive through it all and trusting in God’s greater purpose for my life. Just like how I cannot reason why bad things happen to good people, I need to accept the fact that sometimes shit happens that has nothing to do with my ability or my self-worth. It is a lesson on being man enough to know that bad things happen - and they always will. As the cliched but true saying goes, it’s not what happens to you that matters, it is what you make out of it. In the face of unfairness, I can choose to become bitter, or I can choose to make myself even better.
A little life update. LinkedIn has become my defacto social network sans Facebook, and my daily reading material now revolves around Mashable, Marketing Interactive and Social Media Times. Weekends are so precious now, nothing beats simple pleasures like TWG High Tea with a good friend, curling up in bed with a Mask and Tea, cooking with the boyfriend and spending time with family.
Graduation has been bittersweet, but not as emotional as I’d thought it would be. Farewells usher in new beginnings and new challenges, which I am definitely ready to conquer, head on.
“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.”—
Day 2 of my job and I’m loving it. Started on my first project which will last me through my probation. In other words, it’s make or break. As much as nothing gives me more satisfaction than ticking things off a to-do list, asking God to help me know when to let go - and not neglect the people dearest to me, Him included.
When your head and heart are consumed with fear, you’ll have no room for dreams. Food for thought indeed.
So I’m back from an amazing and awesome holiday. It was a great getaway and exactly what I needed. Really thankful that the boyfriend took all the time away from his work to plan the entire itinerary. Maybe we’ll find our retirement home somewhere in Tuscany in the future. We’ve had so much fun in the mundane, and moments that can never be replaced or replicated.
So yes, last chance to bum before work begins on Monday. Day 2 of bumming and I’m kinda sick of it already - no goals, nothing to work towards to - this is not fun.
The truth is - I’m dreading Saturday. Increasingly so, I do not feel very much at home, and I dread the “cleaning up” that is to come, and “judgement”, maybe? Thank God for a few familiar faces that get me through it. Praying for His discernment and grace. And the courage to walk away if necessary.
“For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell — he is gone.”—Geoffrey Chaucer
Finally making some headway for my last term paper. It has been, by far, my most harrowing experience yet. After spending five days of fruitless research and hitting dead ends at every corner, I have finally managed to conceptualize a sensible, logical and do-able term paper that will fulfill my lecturer’s requirements. Now for being able to translate thought into words.
Too tired out to mourn the loss of formal education with tears and a final goodbye.
Nostalgia, yes. I have had good times. But right now, I think I’m ready to move on.
Had a night of insomnia thanks to a cup of Japanese tea, which resulted in me sleeping at 6.30am. So what was I doing throughout the night? I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I was going through commencement speeches on Youtube. Yes, you got me right. The usually dry and boring stuff that everyone has to sit through during graduation ceremonies.
Don’t ask me how I got there, I think curiosity got the better of me while filling in my order for my graduation robe. Or maybe deep inside me, now that I’ve finally decided the road I want to take, I’m overcome by a new emotion - one that I have to constantly push away. That emotion, is fear.
And maybe that’s why JK Rowling’s speech for Harvard 09 really touched a raw nerve in me. Here’s an excerpt. The full speech can be found here.
At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.
I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.
However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown.
Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.
Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.
So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.
As I put pen to paper and sign on that document today, it may be the best decision of my life - or it may be the worst. I don’t feel prepared or armed for this battle. I don’t think I ever will be. But this battle is one that has to be fought. It will bring out the best in me, just as it will, the worst in me. Whatever the case, let me never go down without a fight. And whenever I fall, let me never be afraid to admit my failures, to stand tall, to remember that life is never a failure - until I refuse to get back up.
Was going through my old documents when I found a letter from my ex-principal, part of my Secondary School Graduation Gift. A reminder to keep my chin up, to embrace the here and the now.
The difference between a dreary day and a beautiful one is mainly in what you make of it.
The difference between an impassable obstacle and a golden opportunity is primarily in what you make of it.
Your attitude is the filter through which moments of our life are seen and known and valued. What gets through to you and what does not, is largely up to you.
Life can be filled with unfairness and misery, or it can be full of invigorating challenge and opportunities for achievement. So much depends on how you take it, on what you make of what comes your way.
As this day plays out, whatever the moments may bring, make the choice to look first for the positive possibilities. This day, this moment, this life, is what you make of it.