Within the confines of 0.25sqm, she taps her feet, swishes her hair, and flicks the wrists in rhythmic glee. With eyes closed, she flashes this smile. The kind of smile you would indulge in yourself or for the select few who are allowed to know your secrets. The kind you would have when you are enjoying the moment.
In the routine of the morning rush, I watch her burn the quiet minutes with purpose and love.
Some time last year, I found myself watching an old woman. I might have lingered and, very likely, I might have stared. The paragraph was drafted in March. And today, I cannot remember a sliver of that encounter. Re-reading the text, I must have been rather envious.
My life is shifting, in more than one dimension. These feelings of excitement of venturing into little knowns and occasional discomfort are natural. The feelings come from anticipating the change. It comes from imagining the process of transitioning from one state to another. It could comes from the imagination of the end state. It is really just a thought. How bad can a thought hurt you? Well, unless I am jumping into the wrong end of the pool.
Welcome to 2017. The year I give in to the shock of a state change and wait.
I have not been exceptionally proud of myself lately. I have whined. I have allowed balls to drop deliberately. I have whined more. I have formed biases. I have whined so much more. Quite simply, I am my own Achilles’ heel.
It is my day job to point that out to others that moping is meaningless and only frustrating to the mop. It is my day job to discover solutions that is unknown. As one quickly notices the irony, it is also embarrassing to mention that I have been rolling in bed in self-pity. This is fast becoming very unbecoming.
I don’t have a proper plan, yet, in resolving the situation. It seems like my tactics have only been targeted towards an exit. This is an embarrassing choice. I don’t yield easily, especially when an early exit will only mean a personal defeat. Age is definitely catching up.
The four-day long weekend is forcing me to think. Think. Yes, because this cannot be it.
We grow up playing games. We cheer when we beat the opponent, we sulk when we miss the killer shot, but we will still grab a chilled drink together afterwards, in good cheer. Sometimes when we lose real badly, we may get that drink a few days later. It was just a game. Still just a game.
Perhaps some people never got the memo. When you grow up and step into the corporate world, the combative gaming stop. Tripping someone in a race towards an imaginary finish line, that is constantly moving anyway, is a showcase of cowardice and you will be drinking alone. No amount of cooling period will change that.
Granted. It is more likely that it was me who didn’t get the memo. The games did not stop. Getting ahead, unlike in school, someone must physically step aside. There is no joint top-scorers.
I get it now but I still can’t live by it.
I am not a person of reflections. Partly I have enough difficulty remembering last week’s events. Thinking through the year must be worse than hiking from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza.
But here goes.
2013 started as a regular year. Some lethargy about work, some hope in a new dotted-line, and some faith in self to be a better person in general. As it kicked off with a snow-stormed trip to Tokyo in January, I spent the next four months repeating work routines, working on strengthening relationships and pining for the extravaganza trip to Italy in November. The highlight of the year. Or so I thought.
It started as an innocent weekend adventure. I cannot describe accurately the sense of warm pride and gentle comfort when I presented myself with the gift of my lifetime. Even though it carries a heavy burden of debt, it is cradled by lofty dreams. June has always been a favourite month. Last year’s was simply special. As I signed off on the countless sets of legal documents, I knew it takes moving on to build a home. Thankfully, I stepped up.
And counted my blessings once again, as August rolled around. Treelined with turquoise-coloured devotion that paved the way for possibilities, it is a path I thought never to regain.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
And I did, Mr Churchill.
I was also fortunate to live through a couple of quirky days:
- Heaviest snow storm that hit Tokyo in seven years
- Typhoon Wipha in Tokyo
- Cyclone Cleopatra in Italy
- Stranded due to a transportation strike in Florence
- Carried a 25kg luggage through flooded Venice
- Boarded a plane to London, barefooted
- Suspected of illegal entry at London Customs
- A single fine sun-soaked day in Cinque Terre, unseen in winter
- Failed security screening because of a ball point pen at Changi airport
2013 was my leap year.
Hope you’re happy and well. Miss you girl.
Almost randomly, a message from the one person who almost always manage a smile out of me with her generosity.
Ever so often, you get a little reminder that someone in the universe cares. Besides the blood related ones, of whom I suspect at times may be more obligated than genuine.
It is London calling. On the back of the Whatsapp technology. Well done.
“How was your flight?”
For the record, I enjoy flying. I like airplane food, even those served in the economy class. I don’t mind the small lavatories and I am still amused by the fact that everything is wrapped in plastic. What I do not like is being asked if I had a good flight. We sit in rows in a metal tube breathing highly compressed air. We get distracted by clouds, inflight movies, bellowing babies, and/or seat inclines. What is there to say about a flight?
When I respond that it is ok, the questioner often sound disappointed (Oh. Just ok?). Why do people do that?
We hit a slight turbulence shortly after reaching cruising level so the hot drinks service was suspended for 10 minutes. My Krisworld entertainment unit worked fine. Did you know they are already showing [the current blockbuster]? I had poached salmon and a warm crab salad, which were very good. Although the pushback was delayed, the captain made up time with strong tailwinds. He also landed the plane very smoothly and in one piece, hardly any bump. Also, no one stole my wallet and laptop and I did not spill anything on myself. I guess that is similar to my last few flight experiences. So yes, it was ok.
This always go through my head and this is probably why I am not the most easy-going person.
“Hi, __ speaking.”
“Good morning, sir.”
(confused) “Eh who is this?”
“Hi sir, I am calling from __ bank . I want to share with you on our promotions, sir.”
(sighs) “Are you aware you are talking to a lady?”
“Oh! I am sorry, sir. It must be a mistake, sir.”