Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Work & Play

Reflecting on the highly controversial book by Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and looking back on my personal upbringing, I must say I've been incredibly fortunate to have my dad made me do things for my good which I didn’t particularly dislike, like working on English, Math and Science assessment books on top of my piling homework in school; but the key thing was, he afforded me balance in work and play. When I would come home from school and start on my homework and assessment books after lunch right through till evening time, at 6pm typically, he would say, “Enough homework now, go out and play, because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

For that I am extremely thankful, because that value never left me - I don’t push myself to hard work to the point of collapse or burnout - each day is made up of a nice balance between work and play.

Work, to me, apart from paid assignments, is anything that advances my personal development, which, in future, may result in a paid assignment. Like researching, reading, networking, writing, strategizing.

Play, to me, is anything that evokes relaxation and a feeling of non-pressure. Like my sports training, watching movies, having a meal with my loved ones and friends, cracking nuts over the fireplace, having freshly cut fruits and chatting.

If I were to isolate work to solely income-generating types, I would be highly discouraged because I am a work in progress and every little activity I take, in reading, researching, networking, etc, are eventually helping me to get to a point where I would be valued and paid for my contribution in my field of expertise.

Sounds obscure? Totally. Who can look into the future and know exactly what's in store? We plan, strategize and take steps *there. But even we aren't certain if our steps will lead us *there. But while the future is uncertain, one thing I'm certain of - the future's not dark - it's bright - and simply with that guiding light, I'm walking in and ahead.

*there = that aha point in the future where we proclaim and acknowledge, "we've arrived/accomplished"

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The single parent

What’s it like to live alone from Mon to Thu, and to see your son only on the weekends?

What’s it like to wake up at 4.30am; fix a quick simple breakfast of toast, bacon, eggs and coffee;

head out the door at 5.30am for a 90-mile (read: a full hour) drive to your workplace;

organize, shuffle and deliver parcels and mails on a 8-hour shift;

speak to no one in particular except for the occasional courtesy nods and smiles to house owners watering their plants in the front garden or driving their fancy cars out of the garage;

end your workday with a change of clothes and a quick rush for your car so as to avoid the deadlock evening traffic to make an hour and a half drive back home (there’s really no escaping the evening traffic at all);

turn up the volume from the radio to drown out the melodrama of an uneventful work day and the chaos of the buzzing traffic,

blink back at the bright green, amber and red lights flashing;

reach home and unlocking the door to a quiet house save for the silent hum of the refrigerator;

fix yourself a simple dinner of salad and eggs;

work on the backyard for an hour or two;

take a hot shower and call it a day -

and to repeat this over the next four work days...

What’s it like for this single, male parent?