This blog will hopefully inspire you, warm your heart, make you smile and feel positive.

Archive for the ‘Contemplations’ Category

How Much Can You Love?

After married for more than 50 years, my parents keep arguing every day. It seems like just the voice from one of them can simply lead to a heated argument. I wonder they may divorce one day in their seventies. Looking at them, marriage is like a process that turns a person that you once loved most to the one you eventually hate most. People would think marriage can last for a life time before, now people wonder how long their marriages can last. New definition about relationship such as one-night stand and speed dating are surfaced. How much can you love another person? How long can you share your life with your other half without feeling bored?

True love may only be found in movies and dramas nowadays. For example, even Jack knew that there was no arrangement for him to get off the Titanic, he still persuaded Rose to board the lifeboat. They looked at each other when Rose’s lifeboat was lowered down to the sea. Rose then realized that she could not leave Jack and jumped back onto the lower deck and reunited with him.

In the “Twilight” movies, Bella did not want to grow old while her vampire boyfriend Edward stopped aging at 17. Oddly enough, she asked Edward to transform her to a vampire. However, Edward did not want her to sacrifice her life for him and suppressed the temptation to suck her blood. Realizing the danger that he and his family posed to Bella, Edward ended their relationship and left with his family.

And in the Japanese drama “Proposal Daisakusen”, Ken was stuck in the situation to provide a speech in the wedding as the best friend of the bride Rei, who he loved for a long time. However, Rei was going to marry someone else. After a formal start, Ken could not control his emotion and confessed his love to Rei. Below is part of his touching speech.

“For 14 years, during happy times, difficult times, times of suffering, the one who always spent time with Rei, the one who would be able to make her happy, I seriously thought that I am the only one who could do that. The one who knows her best is me.

But in the end, these are just thoughts inside my heart, because not once have I been able to become honest about it in front of her. Though I always have been near her, the words I thought I would say someday, I haven’t been able to say it after all.

That one thing … never did I say it. I … I was in love with Rei. Honestly, if I say so, even now, I am still in love with Rei … But, she is getting married to someone today. Though it’s excruciating for me, she will get married. Because her place in my heart is so vast, the struggle for me to arrive at these words has taken an extreme amount of time.

Rei. Congratulations on your wedding. Please be happy. If you don’t … I really won’t forgive you.”

Even if it hurts and the ending is not perfect, you have to let the one you love be happy.

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Midlife Crisis

I woke up in the morning, despite the tiredness, I forced myself to get up and get ready for work. The weather outside was fine and it’s a perfect day for a day off. But the project was late and there were too many issues to handle. As I walked to the bathroom, the heel pain still remained from my last run. I looked in the mirror while I was brushing my teeth, one of my eyes was blood red, I thought I got the flu. Time was not kind to us. Especially after you had walked the first half of your life, you may feel lost at some point – a dead-end job, a failing relationship, an unimpressed account balance and the uncertainty of future. And worse, your body is not young anymore.

Feeling lost is fine. Almost everyone had a period of their lives where they had no clue what they were doing. So this is just yours. Being disappointed in yourself just means you know you can do better. If you were never falling short of your own goals, you’d be living your life all wrong. Disappointment means you believe in bigger things for yourself. Hold this belief, it will push you further than you can imagine. You still have time to fail at love, at your career, at your personal goals. You still have the strength and determination to start over again. You can still fall and pick yourself back up, so many more times.

Everyone’s terrified. None of us really knows what’s coming next. No one actually has a foolproof plan. No one is 100% sure of how to get where they want in life and no one has it all figured out. Life is constantly changing. Uncertainty is a key ingredient to the whole shebang. If you had it all figured out right now, the rest of your life would be boring. The ups and downs are just a natural part of what keeps things interesting. And the truth is, it’s never too late to ride out those fluctuations. A period of struggle prepares you for a future of resilience. We all messed up and had made mistakes that we wish we could take back. You’re not alone. We’ve all done some really screwed-up stuff and we’ve all survived it. So you’re probably going to as well. The future still has plenty of time to fall into place.

Fight for a Better Day

I met up with an old friend in a cafe after work. We were colleagues before and usually worked on the same projects. Our relationship was a funny one. We always argued with each other due to our roles.

Me: This is not an issue, you should not test in this way.
Her: This is an issue and you need to fix it.
Me: It will never happen in production.
Her: But you need to handle all the scenarios.

The conversation went on and on. Others in the office had gotten used to our heated discussions. But it’s interesting that we would be united and work together when facing external parties such as customers or other groups in the company. We covered for each other and trusted the other would be there to support when needed. As rivals as friends, we kept this kind of relationship until I changed job a year ago.

After catching up with the latest updates on our work life, she said, “I have a not so good news to tell you.” While I was expecting a joke as a follow-up, she continued, “I was separated from my husband.” I was shocked and asked her what had happened. She bit her lip and said with a sigh, “It’s just not working out.” As this became personal, after ensuring she’s fine, I quickly talked about a different topic. We chatted for an hour and when we left the cafe, she asked, “Do you have 5 minutes to spare? I want a quick smoke.”

So I watched her smoking in the street outside the cafe. In my mind, she’s like a wild horse that is hard to tame. But tonight, I saw a broken soul who tried to blow her despair out to this world. I felt like watching a reflection on myself. We are the same type of person. We won’t share our pain with others. We won’t show our weakness. We won’t ask for others’ mercy. I stood there quietly, a few steps away, I’ll always be here when needed, just like in the old days. I gave her a hug in the train station, I hoped it could cheer her up and show her at least I care. A year from today, she will be fine, just give time some time.

At some point in your life you may have an idea of how your life will turn out, but chances are, it won’t turn out that way. No matter how hard you try to plan your life, there are going to be some curveballs, but along with those curveballs, there are also unexpected blessings. There is a purpose for everyone we meet. They may have made us mad, sad, hurt, heartbroken, angry or annoyed, but they all teach us valuable lessons. No relationship is a waste of time. The wrong ones prepare us for the right ones. Appreciate everyone that enters your life as they are contributing to your growth and happiness. No matter what is happening, when life gets you down, just fight for a better day.

Giving Life A Second Chance

If you’ve ever heard the saying: “you can learn and grow from every experience”, this is indeed true. I always wonder how everything that has happened in my life have led me to the person I become today. When I look back to some of the hardest moments, each of these experience have taught me some of the most important lessons and made me a better person. That love can heal, there are other people out there if you allow them in. Memories of loved ones live on forever. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. You alone are good enough. Words can kill. Friendship is sometimes bitter sweet. You cannot please everyone. Never settle or give up as life is a journey full of roadblocks. The best comes when you refuse to let failures break you down and acknowledge that there is a purpose for everything.

I like to laugh and I also like to make others laugh. Life passes by no matter you cry or laugh. So why wait all life for happiness? People often ask me, “What makes you so positive?” The truth is sometimes you don’t have a choice. When you fall into really bad situations, you cannot waste time in feeling sorry for yourself. You have to survive, build an armor around yourself and push on. My mom passed away 4 years ago. Others might see I’m coping it well. They think I should be over it. But sometimes I’ll stare at the emptiness and think about her. When I was a mess, I felt she’s still around and reminded me to hold on and be strong. Although I am still struggling with grief and uncertainties, mom taught me how to become a responsible person. I am meant to do amazing things, not just because that’s what mom wanted, but because I know what I am capable of.

You may be hitting rock bottom right now, remember that life isn’t all a dark cloud. There is light at the end of every tunnel and sometimes the rainbow you are looking for is just right in front of you. Never ever give up on yourself, there are people out there who care. You are meant to be who you are. All of the hard times you’ve gone through are not what power the stove. They are simply minor parts of the elements on the stove top that allow you to run smoothly. Experiences do not define who you are. Never forget your past or where you came from, but use them as motivation to move forward. Even if the journey so far is not that satisfied, learn the lessons, rebuild your life and set off again. Give life a second chance.

Late Night Thoughts

circularquay

1:30am. Circular Quay. We were updating the system for a production deployment. The deployment window was 12am to 5am. This mean we had to finish the deployment before 5am. We just cleared a major hurdle and were racing with time. Now the service team was working in a good pace. I was checking the readiness of the back end system for the final verification when everything was connected together.

Circular Quay is a harbor in Sydney. We were working in a wharf which is an open area. It’s winter in Australia and the wind was blowing towards us from the harbor. I guessed it’s only 1 or 2°C. My fingers felt like frozen and couldn’t type freely on the keyboard. I should wear more. But I couldn’t care much now, there were too many problems to face.

In the past few weeks, I turned myself to a geek – overworked, under-slept and lots of coffee. Other than sleeping, eating, commuting and showering, the remaining time were all spent at work. I talked more to my colleagues and clients than to my father. Why I need to do this? A number of reasons: a tight project schedule, a fixed delivery deadline, and a promised press conference that couldn’t be postponed.

When I was young, I was always looking forward to the future. I imagined how I will look like when I grow up and what sort of person I will become. The idea of adulthood gave the promises of freedom. I thought I can eventually pursue a career and a particular lifestyle. I thought when I’m older, I can be whoever I want. But when we grow older, we understand that although advantages come with age, so do responsibility. There are commitments and sacrifices to make. Sadly, we don’t know until they come.

I lost count of how many jobs I had worked for. Each time when I changed job, I felt like reinventing myself and experiencing life from a new perspective. Organizations actually are not different from each other that much. People always have their own interests and you simply can’t please everyone. When things go wrong, you learn to stop complaining or blaming others. When life is unfair to you, you learn to avoid letting the little things bother you. You know you don’t need to complete with others but need to give your best in every project. In the end, just enjoy yourself and have an amazing time in the celebration.

You also know when you need to move on. Every turn in life is just a crossroad, not a dead end. We may eventually be an ordinary person who is not rich or famous. But it won’t stop us to have some little dreams in our heart – do what you like, love a person, take a trip, learn a language, run a marathon. I looked up the high rise luxury apartments, all the lights were turned off. People were sleeping comfortably above while someone were struggling to earn a living below, what a contrast!

Embrace the Struggle

No matter what happens, the morning will still come tomorrow. The world keeps spinning, everyday seems the same. Wake up alone, stand up straight, pick up your feet, take it like a man, be nice to others, don’t swear, oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. But little things are changing gradually over time without notice. One day, you will suddenly feel bored with your once favorite song, give up one of your lifelong habits, let go those people and things that you think you will never let go. Time is so tough and all you can do is to adapt and overcome.

Most of us believe happiness is the absence of heartache and struggle. We prefer a life of comfort and ease, void of problems. However, happiness is actually shrouded in struggle and facing challenges that gives us the traction needed to move forward and live a more meaningful life. Changes accompany growth. So don’t be afraid of change and don’t run from challenges. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Avoiding struggle will only doom yourself to a life of mediocrity. Failure is the best way to learn. It makes you think, determine what went wrong, and make you change.

We are just normal people, not superheros. We will sometimes get emotional and complain the world is unfair. Afterwards, some people give up, some persist. It all depends on your choice. There are many ways to live your life. If life is a movie, you are the scriptwriter, director, and the leading actor. You may also be the only audience. But many people simply make their life movies that will be liked by other people. This doesn’t mean they can’t make one that they really like, they just don’t have courage to ignore the ways how others see them.

Life’s inherent challenges are what make it possible to thrive. Pain produces progress. Without challenges and the weight of your own personal load, there will be nothing to overcome, nothing to achieve, nothing that could bring you happiness. You can’t appreciate the good without experiencing the sting of the bad. Bad is what makes “good” good.

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” – Andy Rooney

In Loving Memory

Mom left us 4 years ago. During the time when she was sick, if the weather was fine, I would push her in the wheelchair outside the courtyard to get some sunlight. We didn’t talk much at that time, we both knew the end was near. We normally watched the clouds in the blue sky quietly. I remembered when I was young and still studying, I also liked to lie lazily on the balcony and watch the clouds in those summer holidays, wonder what my future would be. I felt guilty that I didn’t spend more time with her to travel and see the world. And now it was too late. To everything there is a season, the earth revolves as well as life. But only after the loss of your loved ones, you know what you actually need in life.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

I don’t know where you are and how busy your life is. But when we look back, it’s amazed that we had spent so much time to do the same things day after day. We become comfortable with our daily routines. We even make excuses to procrastinate those trips we need to plan; too busy at work, not enough annual leaves, let me save more money first, I may not be capable of doing this … If you don’t take the first step, you will never know the possibilities. If we don’t start the journey now, we may never have the chance to set off. Our next breath is not guaranteed. Everything passed, that’s why life is so beautiful. So break the norms and try something new. The bravery is in moving forward, no matter what.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up … To more than I can be.

I need to walk for 10 minutes from home to the train station. I always hurry to catch the train most of the time. But sometimes when you slow down the pace, you will start enjoying the little things in life – a flock of birds lining up on the overhead wires, a dog looking at you when walking with its owner, people preparing for the day’s business, the aroma of coffee, or even a smile from a stranger. Happiness is not about how much we have, but how we view our life. So stop and take a moment to admire the things and people you take for granted every day. Happiness is in every corner, waiting to be found and embraced. Be happy, you never know how much time you have left.

Lyrics: You Raise Me Up