Tag Archives: Career

How old is your soul?


Children grow up believing in things that transcends the reality we live in. In Santa, fairies, unicorns, elves and angels. And even if the latter may raise debates (though I believe that angels really do exist) somewhere along those years, these beliefs somehow disappear. Perhaps from repeated disappointment, or maybe from the simple error of believing that other people knows best.

I think we are all equipped with our own intelligence, and it is sometimes the trust that we lack in ourselves which brings us to make choices that entails less risk but equally less than desirable outcomes.

Why do people stop believing in angels? or Santa Clause?

Or Love? or the possibility of being able to love and be loved in precisely the exact way they have always wanted?

Perhaps the safer route is indeed the smarter route. The path of least resistance that quiets the nasty uncertainties about the future, and our own capability to overcome these. Contrary to what many seem to say, it is not hard to let go of your desires, those desires that fuels you at the very thought of it (whether that be a passion, a dream job, an object of desire or even a person), it is in fact easier. Because the path to attaining those desires is often characterized with a boulder-sized of uncertainties and possibilities of disappointments making it far more easier to opt out, and adopt the status quo. It is that much easier to come up with a list of excuses of why it will not work than to truly confront your heart’s desires even if the effort required is equal both ways.

But then, where is the fun and adventure if we always opt for the safety of what we know? And how do we begin to even try to remain young at heart, if at every time the road ahead of us forks into two, we choose the less bumpy road without ever knowing that the end of which could be attaining something less than what we really deserve?

We’ve got a lot to learn, god knows we are worth it – Jason Mraz


The language of the world


A week in Italy made me realize there are certain things about the human life that is common across the world, irrespective of culture, skin colour, religion or where you come from. It’s like the world speaks to you in its own universal language through human behavior.

M. Scott Peck in A Road Less Travelled began the first chapter of his book admitting that “Life is hard”. True that our life’s struggles come in many form and shape but in Rome, I learnt that these challenges are more often the same no matter where you live.

On the third day of our trip, I caught up with a colleague whom I met at training in Chicago last year. We were brought to a trendy, recently-launched lounge which operates a health spa during the day where I met his tall gorgeous redhead of a girlfriend and a handful of his other friends. We got down to talking about everything that makes Italy home to them. A group of twenty-something commiserating over getting life into momentum in a mix of English, Italian and a lot of expressive hand gestures. For a while, they were bantering in Italian to what seemed like a heated debate. I got another one of the girls to help translate for me and it appeared they were discussing about ‘love’ issues. I guessed it must have been one of the girls complaining that her other half had forgotten to take out the trash that weekend.

Once the conversation turned to English, we eventually gathered that one of the girls hated her job but the money from it affords her to pay her half of the mortgage of their recently bought apartment. The infamous question of “should I stay in this mundane job and keep earning the bucks or should I risk it and pursue my passion?” was raised.

Doesn’t that sound absolutely familiar?

I don’t know about you, but it definitely does to me. As the conversation developed, I got the impression that a majority of the working class young adults in Rome do not have it easy in their initial years setting up a nest of their own. And by that I mean moving out, starting a career, long-term relationships, marriage and kids. At one point, their wide-eyed look felt more like eyes that were about to pop and roll on the floor towards the DJ and his turntable when we told them the price of petrol per litre that we, normal working class Malaysian citizens pay.

For a while now, my itchy feet has been longing for me to move out of the country and earn a living elsewhere. That night I realized, there are a LOT of things to be thankful for by remaining in my home country – government petrol subsidy being on those things.

Reading poetry into the sunset

And then there is love. Whether you are down South in Australia, or the on the China Silk Road, or up north in an unfamiliar European country, the language of love is immediately understood. The photo above was taken in Piazza del Campidoglio, where an Italian couple were sitting together at dusk reading each other poetry.

Massimo, who were one of the friends we made in that lounge that night told us the story of how he met his current wife, this beautiful lithe blonde next to him. A quick private snicker was shared between the two when asked how they had met, before he turned to me and asked “Are you sure you really want to know how we met?”.

I always enjoy listening to stories of how two people met. Theirs by far, is one of the most hilarious and wonderful ones I have heard thus far. For the next 1 hour, we learnt that they had met years ago on a movie set (how surreal!) and shared their first kiss on the screen because they were directed to do so. A few years of break between the two as each went their separate ways, they met again but each were now engaged to different people. It made me realize that life, really has a way of leading you through it with some crazy twists and turns. Today, they have been happily married for a year and a half and they speak of each other with that comical sense of fondness that kept us laughing throughout the night.

I saw a lot of things, tasted many delicious food and drink, felt a range of emotions from intrigued to complete exhaustion (which could only happen if you have been on your feet for a full 12 hours, walking, climbing up and down many hills, getting on and off trains and buses over a number of days) while in Italy. Many more entries (and photos!) to follow on my perspective of this trip soon 🙂


Do not go gentle into that good night


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night. – Dylan Thomas 

I am starting to wonder what I will do for the next 6 weeks to fill up my evenings now that my purple yoga mat is rolled up and snugly sitting in its zippered bag, forlornly looking at me from the corner of my room might I add. Coincidentally, I came across this brilliant article on yogajournal entitled Burn Out, Don’t Fade Away which talks about common setbacks in the course of one’s journey with yoga.

And it made me feel that much better knowing that these setbacks are necessary and part of the journey.

Setbacks are necessary.

If only my head can accept that as easy as the mouth that utters it. But yet such a concept is no stranger to poets, philosophers, psychologists and spiritualists alike.

M.Scott Peck made a living off this belief that “life is difficult” in his international bestseller “The Road Less Travelled”. In the same book, he also mentioned that marriage is God’s trick to get two people to commit to each other for the rest of their lives – but then again.. that would be a topic which calls for an entirely separate entry altogether.

Viktor E. Frankl recounts his heartbreaking experience being in various concentration camps during the Holocaust but emerged from this a wise man who offered the world a valuable perspective of finding meaning through suffering. And it may not be always need to be a painful, life/death type of suffering, heck, it can even be the type of suffering you experience just trying to get by on a working day, but the fact of the matter is that as long as you attach a meaning to any of your life’s circumstances, you are on your way to a better life.

Late last year while catching up with one of my mentors, I remembered being deeply frustrated for not receiving the acknowledgement at work which I had been counting on for about a year before that. I did what I thought was required of me. I put in the hours and more, and got myself busy in extra social activities that most corporations pride themselves for as being part of its “Better Workplace” concept these days. But when silence followed the usual period where you would expect to be notified, I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting any salary revision anytime soon. My mentor, who has over 15 years of work experience under her belt proceeds to whip out her Blackberry and showed me this:

I think what she was trying to tell me that day was not to dwell too much on the “have-not’s”, but to look forward into the future and keep doing what I know is right for me. I love how Dylan Thomas describes that one should never go gently into the night, to never give up, and to rage, rage against the dying light.

As for me and my yoga practice, I think I will consider light stretching while watching TV as my next best plan for the coming weeks. At least that way I know all that flexibility I’ve achieved in my hamstrings will not go to waste. Plus, you’d be surprised of the many healthy things you could do while simultaneously trying not to snort at those guys in The Bachelorette.