Adulting

Whuuttt… 13 months since my last post. Atrocious. I told myself that I should write more in this blog but inertia and laziness has won the battle.

I should definitely write more to stimulate my increasingly stagnant mind, probably made so by the quotidian and unimaginative nature of working life as an adult. The thing about writing at work – sure, drafting emails does engage the mind – but the style of writing required is vastly different compared to personal writing, such as now. It almost feels as if the conduits of creativity within my brain have dried and shriveled; as if the previously firing neurons within the gray matter have sizzled out. Perhaps some literary penmanship could jolt some the life back. (New year resolution anyone?)

Writing at work requires concise and succinct writing, none of the superfluous shit you see here. The key is to use efficient and simple English without any hint of ambiguity, based on logical flow. And you have to put it in a way which your boss likes. Not the easiest job as I do not possess a major in mind-reading. However, expressing myself freely in writing, I have realize, seems to have an unshackling effect, almost like activating an “ON” button my mind. I can’t speak for everyone but as an introvert, penning down my thoughts makes me feel alive as opposed to verbalizing them, which drains my energy if they require my musings. On with today’s muse…

Adulting:

1) To do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

2) Being a responsible adult. Used by immature 20-somethings who are proud of themselves for paying a bill.

Source: Urban Dictionary

A term invented and oft used by millennials that “reduces” the inexorable event of growing up to an optional hobby, it tends to receive criticism from the older generation, who enjoy lambasting the younger generation for having it too easy. But then again, wouldn’t they wish their children a better life than themselves? Hmm… then again, I can see their point of view as youths nowadays are definitely not as self-sufficient as compared to earlier generations. However, history has shown time and again that every generation will compare themselves favorably to the next and point out the latter’s shortcomings, even though they were the ones responsible for shaping the next generation. I have no doubt that I will have similar sentiments of my kids next time (if I have kids, that is).

I think I have “adulted” quite a fair bit in 2017. It has been 2.5 years since I’ve graduated and started work; I’ve lost some of my youth (and quite a bit of hair) worrying over work and my mom’s health; I’m paying bills/renovation/expenses for my family; I’ve fretted over insurance coverage for my family; I’ve pondered over money for personal investments; I’ve a better idea of what I look for in a partner; I’ve adopted a silly kid (my dog); and I’m soon to experiencing my first ever job change. In short, if I’m a DOTA hero, I have probably reached Level 6 and learnt my Ultimate. Yes, I think quite a lot has happened in the past year. For better or worse, the verdict is still out, but adulting isn’t as awesome (or fun) as I envisaged it to be as a student.

At times I do miss the student lifestyle of relatively carefree days when the only concerns we had were tests, exams, and looking good to impress our eye-candies. In hindsight, I can’t help but wonder why we treated them as life or death situations in the past when in reality they were just minor stress events. In the grand scheme of things, insignificant and ephemeral  in the long run. “Adult” life certainly throws us more curve-balls, pressure situations, do-or-die scenarios which demand and justify our worrying. As with human nature, it is usually the things we can’t have that we crave for. We can’t rewind and relive our younger days, as the sands of time slip through the cracks of our fingers, leaving us only with the yearning of memories gone by. Adulthood is only going to get tougher.

So look forth I say, with optimism. Optimism is a unique human ability and concept, borne out of our developed prefrontal cortex (the part of our brain that makes us “human”, so to speak). It describes forward thinking and imagination through a positive-biased outlook, believing that the future will be better than the present, regardless of whether it is true or not. Hence, it is only natural that humans are optimistic when we are young. Boundaries are non-existent for work, romance, self-fulfillment and achievements. Physical and mental decline? Setbacks and limitations? Oh please, the skies’ the limit.

The years pass by with the blink of an eye and the countdown begins, not just for life itself, but also for the different phases in life. Career. Marriage. Family. Retirement. Savings. Alas, for some reason, optimism seems to be in shorter supply as we grow older, it seems. Whether self-inflicted, delivered by someone or something, or forced into it by social construct, we all get caught between a rock and a hard place (many times) growing up.  What is also true is that as we age, we all become that little bit more jaded, that little bit less optimistic. I feel it. The torrential bombardment (both figuratively and literally) of negativity reflected in news and media certain do us no favor in reversing this trend, and only serves to reinforce our grim dispositions.

“The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little.”—Mark Twain

It also appears that the more I learn of this world, the more cynical I become of it. Maybe what they say about ignorance being bliss is true. Indeed, how do we maintain our sense of wonder and humor as we age? That is a mystery, which I want to solve, and I hope to solve. If anyone has the answer, do let me know 🙂

ALRIGHT time to sleep.

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Unconditional Love

Weary from my exertions in the gym, I shuffled my feet across the bus stop to plop myself unabashedly onto a vacant bench. Pumping iron is, and always will be a welcome distraction for me. From the doldrums of working life, and from the frustrations which life may present me. My mind drifted off in anticipation of what was lying on the dinner table later when I got home, prompted by my tummy which was rumbling in indignation.

“Tap… Tip… Tap…”

My eyes refocused as I watched a couple in their 30s alight from a bus. They were holding walking sticks and prodded them ahead cautiously as they tried to get a bearing on their surroundings. Their eyes were squinted close and the lady clung close to the man, as if she was afraid of losing him. The man led the way, angling his path ever so slightly whenever his stick hit a curb or a column. The couple slowly but steadily circumvented the obstacles before them, footsteps always in sync and in step. They were blind, I realized. Both of them.

The man had a rather serene expression on his face, one of quiet confidence which seemed to instill confidence in me too as I looked at him. The lady also had an equally tranquil look, but this time she held a faint smile on her lips as she walked with her partner. It was almost as if she had total faith in his stewardship as long as she was beside him. It then occurred to me that I had assumed, or rather, realized that they were a couple based on their expressions.

A wave of profound respect washed over me as the scene registered inside my head. “That’s really amazing,” I thought. “But also kind of sad,” whispered a thought at the back of my head momentarily. I quickly chided myself silently, for this couple did not need my sympathy. No, don’t be condescending dude. The truth of the matter is that either one of them is probably stronger than I will ever be, mentally and psychologically, I told myself. I cannot begin to fathom what it is like to live my life in total darkness, now that I have experienced the gift of sight.

I decided not to stare too long at the couple for it seemed rude if I did. I glanced around and noticed that some people were casting concerned looks at the couple. Although part of me wanted to ask if they needed help, I knew that any worries were unfounded for they were more than capable of taking care of themselves. As long as they held each other close.

Perhaps this is unconditional love, I thought to myself as I closed my eyes. Untainted by the superficiality of this world, untouched by any materialistic wants and needs, undefiled by any negative preconceptions which a seeing person may possess. Living in a world of pitch darkness is much like a defiant disregard of judgement, for what prejudice can there be when you cannot see flaws?

What kind of heartfelt stories might they share with one another? What sweet nothings might they whisper to each other? Or perhaps their relationship is one which transcends beyond speech, almost like a telepathic link that develops after two individuals spend too much time together. Or maybe a knowing touch of the hand is all that it takes to replace verbal communication. What if being unseeing actually uncovers the essence of a true relationship between two individuals – one defined by undistracted listening and genuine touch?

Perhaps this couple would know the answer to that question, of what it really means to have a soulmate. One who literally follows you into the dark and stands by you through thick and thin… albeit out of necessity.

I opened my eyes and turned around. They were already almost out of my sight. I smiled in my heart. As long as they don’t let go.