Life According to Me

August 5, 2005 12:01 AM

A lot of ppl go through life according to a plan laid down for or by themselves. Study at this school, go to this university, study that course, get that job at this company. Work your way up until you become somebody. Retire rich with a nice home and family and enjoy your retirement.

Essentially it’s a journey with a timetable and fixed milestones, and a set destination point. Any detours along the way are strongly discouraged and frowned upon. And their emotional well-being revolve around how true they stay to the plan and when and if they hit those milestones – you must have achieved this when you reach the age of xx. This is especially true with Asian societies.

I remember a few years back when I got retrenched and was out of work for a year. I then decided to start a restaurant. Ppl saw me sweating away in the kitchen and asked, “Why are you doing this? Is this really better? Aren’t you wasting your degree?” If I’m living life the way I want and surviving, how am I wasting anything? I can’t and won’t sit on my ass and *wait* for things to land on my lap. I seek things out – not the other way around.

Now I’m back in IT. Am I happy? Yes but I don’t regret my stint with the restaurant. I’ve met different ppl whom I would have never met otherwise and I was exposed to new things and new ideas.

So I do view life differently. I view life as a meandering journey with no mandatory milestones and where the final destination may be a complete surprise to me. What matters more to me is the journey itself and what happens along the way. Where every experience is enriching and enlightening and if they are bad, I’d learn and move on and not repeat myself again.

It is a journey on which I’d meet a lot of different ppl: some of whom I’d love and cherish, some of whom I’d dislike and some of whom I wouldn’t really care about, but most of whom I’d learn from. A journey that is further enhanced because I would have my loved ones around me as I traverse this little thing called “life”. Every person that I end up meeting and knowing adds to the tapestry that is me. Afterall, who we are is as much how we are perceived by others as how we perceive ourselves.

And in the end all that should really matter is that you have enough to eat, you got clothes to wear and you have shelter. You are making ends meet, and you have loved ones in your life. Everything else is just icing. If you have more money than most ppl you know then you are very lucky but achieving status and accumulating wealth should never be the sole purpose in life.

I expanded on the ideas in StarryLuvly’s post about the things we can learn from our pets to arrive at this. Once again, she’s my muse. ๐Ÿ˜‰

12 thoughts on “Life According to Me

  1. Curtis G.

    I’m a classic example of a guy who never really had a path. Or if I did, I kept wandering off it. This may not be completely on-topic, but it’s related:

    The most recent (and maybe most important) lesson I’ve learned along the way is that success is subjective. Success is what YOU define as success. If you have decided what success means to you, and you have achieved that, then you’re successful. Period. No one can tell you you’re not successful if you think you are. My life made a sharp turn for the betterโ€”my attitude improved immensely and I stopped thinking of myself as a loser because I don’t drive an expensive car or make a six-figure incomeโ€”when I realized that.

    I’m continually grateful for the things that I have: I have a smart, funny, beautiful wife and two paid-off cars and a great job, and no one is going to tell me that I’m not a success, because it’s not for them to decide. It’s MY life.

    QED. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ~*Starryluvly*~

    Great post Mooi – it’s way more than an expansion on my post on the lessons we can learn from animals! And much better too!

    Yes, I hear you about the whole having to have milestones. It’s just so deadset in Asian society. And it doesn’t just apply to the material things – like what job you should be after, how much you earn, what kinda house you’re gonna live in…

    It even extends to personal life – like when’s the ideal time to get married. When you should be having kids…

    Personally, I’d like to think of myself as a dreamer. Yes, I have lofty dreams, but I’m not going to torture myself, or conform to peoples’ beliefs just so that I can have them. And I’ll bloody take as long as I want to get to them (as soon as I get off my lazy ass that is!).

    I can’t say I’m fully pleased with what I have now – after all, humans, by nature are mostly insatiable when it comes to better things in life. But I do appreciate that I have at least have the bare minimum for survival =)

  3. mooiness

    curtis: that’s a great point, success is how you define it. Happiness is when you get to live your life the way you want it, and not according to other ppl’s criterion. Salute! ๐Ÿ™‚

    starry: yes the dreaded timetable – if you don’t achieve something by a certain age, ppl ask, “How come? Is there a problem? Do you need our help?” Fuck off! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just because I don’t follow your timetable doesn’t mean I’m not happy right?

  4. Curtis G.

    Well, either you’ll stop hearing them or they’ll stop wasting their breath. I get tired of hearing “When are you having kids?”, but I don’t hear it so much anymore. I imagine there’s more pressure on you culturally.

    I’m the oldest of the four boys in the family (me, my brother, my two cousins). I was the last to finish college, the last to get married, and I’ll be the last to buy a house and have kids (if/when I ever do). By the same token, I’m the only one to have served in the military, the only one to have been a roadie for a rock band, and the only who DIDN’T marry a teacher. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But y’know what? Whatever makes you happy.

  5. mooiness

    Curtis: your life, now that deserves a post of its own. Or a novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You’re right about the culture thing – imagine my situation if you can. My dad is the oldest son, I’m the oldest son in my family, and I’m the oldest grandchild with the family name. Woah. Hahahha…so I’m meant to “carry” on the family name. But credit to my parents ‘cos I don’t feel any pressure at all. I think they realise that today is vastly different from their times.

  6. ~*Starryluvly*~

    Yea, nowadays I just answer tactless aunties with either a joke or sarcasm.

    You put on weight ah??

    Well, this way I have boobs and a butt lady.

    I totally sympathise with you mooi (lucky your parents are cool tho!) – my sis is the eldest grandchild on my dad’s side and the cousins after her are married. So you can imagine how much pressure she gets. Honestly, times like these I feel like telling my rellys off for their lack of manners and sensitivity.

    The next in line for marriage is the one just before me, so I’m gonna be in the firing line soon. tolong…

  7. mooiness

    starry: eh, I tolong you you bake me one of those Death By Chocolate cakes ok? Hahaaaah….nvm lah, you know what – girls have it easier methinks. None of that “carry on the family name” thing.

  8. honeypot

    Yep girls do have it easier.But not much!What I used to say is:

    Kepoh relatives: “Aiya,when you want to get married?You see,your cousins got house (ableit a one-room low cost flat!!),got car(second hand kancil!),got fiancee..”

    Me:Never.Please be prepared to shower me with angpows every chinese new year.

    The thing is, I can easily afford a Rm50,000 mortgage and a car loan for a second hand kancil.Just because I choose to spend all my money on what makes me happy (travelling) does not make me an idiot or any less responsible than my cousins.

    Another bizzare thing. This chinese new year I answered the same question with “I am getting married in December”.

    No one believed me. And they shut up.For those on the line of fire,try this, it might just shut them kepohs up.

  9. mooiness

    honeypot: you’re back! ๐Ÿ™‚

    yeah it’s like I said – ppl impose an abrtitrary timetable with set milestones onto you when it is your life. I like the “give me angpows every year” comment. Hahahah…..during CNY I especially love to go up to my cousins who are around my age and who are married, stick my hand out and say *ahem*. Hahahah….

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