Last Sunday was my family’s annual goal setting day. Before the start of the session, I asked everyone to reflect what was great about 2014 for each member. (Forget about the frustrations and negatives, as Ajahn Brahm advises.) I told my sons, think about what was so great about 2014, so that when you tell your offsprings in future, that when you were xx years old, how would you describe it?
For me, it has been an incredible year for so many reasons. I can say, when I was 49, I
1) Made Many New Friends
I think the most significant point for me is the number of new friends I made, many who have in their small special ways impacted me positively.
When I was training for my climb to KK, I met this wonderful couple, Yeo and his wife J, who not only shared valuable tips about their climb to KK, but also invited us to join their weekly hike. I discovered that they volunteer actively in community as well. Since the climb and the close of Bukit Timah Hill, we have not met up and I hope we will soon.
I also met many wonderful people in my yoga retreat to Nepal. M, who contacted me last week, said meeting me has changed her life and now she has joined a gym and plan to take up yoga so we can go on future retreats. Yes, her fitness was terrible in Nepal.
In Taiwan recently, I was the recipient of an unexpected warm hospitality from a group of women who took me out everyday. I was touched and awed by them and I vow to pay it forward somehow.
Also to M Juhari, who change the way I view Malay men. His passion for books and life taught me that I should never stereotype people.
Finally, I must pay tribute to the Brownies of Bukit Brown Cemetery. Their enthusiasm and passion for the cemetery are indeed inspiring.
2) Went Out of comfort zone
2014 was the first time I went out of my comfort zone and mingled in the company of strangers.
The three-day writer’s retreat put me in in a company of nineteen young people, most of them in the same age group as my sons. I was not uncomfortable, but then, neither was I that comfortable as they chatted among themselves. They were young, well traveled, and already in various external writing programs. One poet is studying for her PhD in English, another is now in NUS law, yet another is enrolled in Yale-NUS. Among the older applicants, one now works with NAC, one with EDB, another is a journalist. So I, a housewife really have nothing is common with them other than writing. Well, at least I try right?
The Yoga retreat really put me out of my comfort zone. I was travelling alone to a third world country to be in the company of strangers for five days. My fear was unfounded as the strangers, which we were all to one another, bonded and had so much fun. Yet, I feel the same fear if I have to plan another such trip. The fellow yogis I met was of high caliber. Akiko, with her degree from LSE and Cambridge (first Cambridge friend!) works for Morgan Stanley in Tokyo, Mel works in a bank, Kate is a master student who had just completed a project in India, and Sha was a buyer for Calvin Klein UK before her 4 months vacation.
Luckily for me, I have a healthy self esteem. How else can a homemaker bond with such high achievers?
It’s said that Luck is when opportunity knocks and you answer. I happened to chance upon the Mentor Access Program (MAP)on Facebook and decided to just apply. I figure my chance may be low, given my age, as well as my background (Chinese school and Science background). But what harm is there in trying right? So I was thrilled when I was called up for an interview – the possibility of me being accepted was actually there. And I was accepted.
The acceptance to MAP allowed me access to an award-winning writer as my mentor, and the dim possibility of getting published and promoted by NAC (dim, for I am not that confident of my work. Must work harder on that. ) It could open a whole new career for me as well. Now I dream of being like my mentor – travel the world to promote my book and doing residency in exotic countries around the world.
4) Climb Mt Kinabalu
The thing about testing your endurance, especially when you have already done so and know the difficulty, is to do what Nike says, Just Do It. So when I heard that a friend was planning the climb, I put Mike’s and my name down as well. It was a difficult climb and my thighs strained for five days. Even now, I suspect the injury from my glut was the result of the climb. But sitting here seven months after the climb, I feel so proud of myself and am really hoping someone would push me for the full marathon this December.
So, if there is one thing I did in 2014, it’s growth. And I hope to continue this growth.