Monthly Archives: January 2014
Recently I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. He had been a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon for many years and gave his lecture knowing Death was banging on his door. It inspired me to write this post.
A friend recently told me that what I went through was just part of the Human Condition and not to make a song and dance about it. Harsh but he had a point. If suffering was an Olympic sport I would not even pass the qualifying round. Undoubtedly there are billions worse off. I only need to look at the families living in bedsits next door.
However I don’t think emotional and mental pain should be compared and quantified. We can experience the same event but have very different reactions. A classic example is my childhood felt less jolly than my sister’s because she was the favourite whilst being the last chance saloon for a boy I grew up feeling a disappointment. Same parents, same upbringing, same period of history, same culture. Mama dressed us as twins even though she is older by 18 months. Yet we are chalk and cheese.
I digress. If I was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer like Randy, what would I tell the next generation or even my soon to be 21 year old?
Quite simply, be your own person and live your life. Don’t look for salvation or to be rescued by anybody else, not friends, not lovers, not even God or some Higher Spiritual Being. By all means do good and be a compassionate empathetic person but don’t try to please others and swallow all your own needs. You are doomed to fail because you can’t please everybody and certainly not all the time. You will end up feeling resentful and that anger turned inwards will become crippling clinical depression. The worse of both worlds for not only are the people around you miserable but you have made yourself ill. Nobody thanks you. I am not advocating you adopt the ‘sod everybody as long as I am alright Jack’ attitude but do look out for yourself.
Be happy. Don’t sweat the small nor the big stuff. Some you can’t control and most are trivial in the big scheme of things. If you can do something about it then go ahead otherwise Let It Be! Remember the Beatles song? Whether happy or feeling shit the sun rises and sets regardless. I hate the expression ‘Life goes on’ but it really does. Your world has collapsed and you want to lie down and die but quite honestly nobody cares. I find this strangely comforting. It puts things into perspective. You wallow a while in self pity and then there comes a point you have to emerge from under that safe duvet and self built prison and face the world. Ready or not here I come.
If you have a dream or something you’ve always wanted to do or go or somone to be with or peace to make then do it sooner than later. Since Mama’s death this has really come home to me. I often look at her photo on top of my book shelf and there she is a beautiful smiling young woman. I wonder where she has gone? Is death really it or has her soul or spirit gone to Heaven as she believed all her life or is it just a lie we tell ourselves to get through the crap that Life chucks at us? I guess we’ll never know until we ourselves walk that tunnel of light and if we are Christians or Catholics be met by St. Peter at the pearly gates. He must be a very busy saint. Or like me an infidel perhaps Satan with his pitchfork and tail will greet me at the entrance to Hell and the eternal flame.
It is Friday, 31st January 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar but based on the Lunar it is Chinese New Year’s Day in Hong Kong. Mama G wishes you all a Happy Year of the Horse, Good Health and Happiness. I don’t wish you prosperity as money really is the root of all evil, albeit a necessary one. So I wish you have sufficient for your needs and a little extra for the occasional treat but not too much that you become greedy or mean spirited.
My’ suffering’ is not unique but nevertheless it is mine. Pain is the best teacher. The ocean of tears shed and the broken heart won’t allow me to forget the lessons learnt. Undoubtedly I am damaged goods. I, the otherwise perfect Ming dynasty vase with a crack. Nevertheless still in one piece I live to tell the tale for another day.
Thank you for sticking with me this far. I hope you will stay a while. Do you know the Camus quote, ‘Just walk next to me and be my friend’?
Kinda dreading Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, the days marked out to celebrate Love, be it the family bond or the romantic kind; both of which I am lacking. Christmas wasn’t such a big deal here but Chinese New Year is the most important festival in our lunar calendar.
Plucked up the courage to ask to be invited to the traditional family reunion meal on new year’s eve and was third time lucky. Kind of embarrassing and bit disappointing when turned down though in a nice way but I was so determined not to spend yet another special day on my own that I persevered and learned to have thick skin. This was the last friend I knew well enough that I felt I could risk asking and not be thought of as impudent.
I am sure I will have a good time and have adverted the onset of feeling sorry for oneself which was threatening. Sometimes one just has to take a leap in the dark and hope for the best. After all what did I have to lose? No risk no gain right?
NOTE: REPOST. I found this piece from the Comment Box in Paulo Coelho’s blog. Worth the time.
I learned by Octavian Paler
We have time …
We have time for everything
To sleep, or to be all over the place,
To regret mistakes and do them again,
To judge others and find excuses for ourselves,
We have time to read and write,
To correct our writings, and regret what we wrote,
We have time to make plans and never complete them,
We have time to fantasize about impossible things
and later on to look into the ashes of them.
We have time for ambitions and diseases,
To blame fate and the details,
We have time to watch the clouds, TV commercials and shocking news,
We have time to not answer questions,
To postpone the answers,
We have time to kill a dream and recreate it later
We have time to…
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Beautiful the lyrics say it all
There are going to be bad days. You know that. Don’t let them knock the wind from your sails. If you need to cry go ahead. Tears are not a sign of weakness, they are a release. Grey Sky Days are bound to occur. If life was plain sailing you would not learn and grow. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a good person. Stop querying your abilities and just accept the future as it is unfolding. Be kind to yourself. Don’t give up.