Thursday, January 3, 2008

Freedom : Live Free, Run Free

Today is my first day of achieving freedom. I don't need to wake up...rushing to run at Permaisuri, rushing to come home to shower, rush for breakfast and rush to work.
Yet, work or no work, I still can't break from the routine of getting up as early as 5am. Perhaps from a very young age, I had been trained to rise before the sun shine. It's a good exercise provided one is not too tired.
Anyway, I dream more than I sleep! This morning, I had the luxury of taking my own sweet time to jog leisurely and after that, drove home slowly, had breakfast with John before he goes to work. Then I shower, do the laundry and stuff. What's the rush?
I have no proper itinerary today except to clear some old junks from my cupboard, from June's cupboard, from my mom's cupboard and lastly, John's magazines. Now there's really no reason for me to rush and finish everything in a day like I used to. Therefore, I would like to share a very meaningful commencement speech made by novelist, columnist and non-fiction author Anna Quindlen. She has inspired me to think deep enough and later helped me made my decision to quit my job. Listen carefully...

"It's a great honour for me to be third member to my family to receive an honorary doctorate from this great university (at Villanova). I have no specialized field of interest or expertise, which puts me at a disadvantage talking to you today. I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't confuse the two - your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.

Don't forget what a friend once wrote when the Senator Paul Tsongas decided not to run for reelection because he had been diagnosed with cancer:"No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office."

Don't forget the words of my father sent to me on a postcard :"If you win the rat race, you're still a rat."

John Lennon wrote before he was gunned down in the driveway of Dakota:"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

You will walk out here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or in a car, or at a computer. Not just the life of your mind, but life of your heart. Not just your bank account but your soul.

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume:
I am a good mother to three children. I have never tried to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.

I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my fiends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch.

I would be rotten, or at best mediore at my job, if those other things were not true. You can't be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.

to be continued...

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