Thursday, 17 December 2009

Taking stock

If there is anything I have learned from my admittedly busy and eventful life this past year, it is that life does not operate according to the principles of quid pro quo. Kindness, honesty and loyalty are not always reciprocated, and wrongdoing often goes unpunished, but that's okay by me.

The Balinese, whose culture I admire so openly, believe in the balance and exquisite tension between good and evil, rather than the defeat of evil by good. Their philosophy and attitude to life is easier for me to come to terms with, than the idea that everything in the Universe works with mechanical precision and reciprocity and everyone lives happily ever after except the Wicked Witch who, with surprising poetic justice, gets baked in her own oven (Hurray for the Brothers Grimm!)

I celebrated the 31st anniversary of my birth a week ago by donating blood, skipping dinner, and working late all by myself until 2230h. I apologise. That is not entirely the truth. I worked until 2130h, and spent the final hour conducting quality control checks on parcels delivered to me, the beneficiaries of which are refugee children, urban disadvantaged households and street children who attend an intervention/outreach centre.

It is not as lighthearted a task as one would expect. For every 10 boxes filled with shiny toys, school supplies and cavity-causing confectionary, there would be at least one or two filled with stained, used toys and clothes and corporate door gifts like ugly name card holders and even uglier ashtrays. I felt much better after sending out an irate e-mail to chastise those who believed that foisting rubbish on needy children was a noble and generous thing to do.

There really isn't a point to this monologue here today.

I am not going to hold forth on any major issue affecting the world, or present a considered opinion, or talk about my recent activities. (The latter can be found in my 'Savoir Vivre In KL' blog, if anyone is interested).

What I do want to record for posterity is that my priorities have changed in the past 12 months. Each year, as December rumbles to an end, I would draft a list of approximately 50 impossible-sounding resolutions for the coming year.

"I will not fall sick and will not take a single day of medical leave all year", one such resolution stoutheartedly declares. I will spend so many hours volunteering for such-and-such a cause each week, spend this particular percentage of my salary on this particular worthy cause every month, and set this particular lofty KPI for myself within this impossible time limit.

But 2009 has been a year of change and evolution for me, and it has challenged my views about many things, not least myself.

And as I walk into my 32nd year of life, I have only one resolution: That I would fear nothing. I trust my resilience and spirit enough to know that I will bounce back from any setback, better and stronger than before. I know that I can ask for help when the need arises and there will always be friends whose love will see me through the darkest days. I know that no burden is too big for me to bear and no sacrifice is too great for me to make.

As I sit here watching the last rays of sun filter reluctantly into my workspace and the grey drizzle kiss the concrete outside, I know that I can take on whatever comes my way. I'm going to be alright.


Cat-from-Sydney said...

CO78 dear,
Is a birthday on the horizon? Very interesting angle of your blood donation pix. Wishing you all the best, mate! purrr....meow!

mamasita said...

Of course you're going to be alright!

Nothing can stop you from moving forward in an excellent manner..

Happy Belated 32nd birthday E.Lynn..

Unknown said...

Hi Ee Lynn, happy 31st!Won't ask you when you're going to get hitched!!!! oops, I just did. Of course you're going to be alright. You never say die:))

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Cat-In-Sydney, my birthday was last week. The photo was taken by putting the camera against my upper arm as the blood was flowing and just clicking as soon as something came into focus. Thank you, Kitties!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Datin Mamasita! I turned 31 last week. My logic is that 31 years have passed, so now I am in my 32nd year. Betul tak?

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Keats, thank you for the birthday wishes! Get hitched, as a horse to a cart? Okay, I can live with that! I've never doubted I was going to be all right until:
(1) I had a life-threatening illness, which remains a mystery until today;
(2) Something shook my ability to provide for myself and my parents.
So, it's time to be grateful, no?

Pat said...

A belated happy birthday, E! And here's to many, many more :)

And you will be just fine!

Hugs and kisses!!!!! Muah!

louis said...

Hello Covert'78~

I am glad I wandered over to this site tonight: you seemed to say in your previous post here that you were abandoning it.

Glad, because it's not too too late to wish you a Happy Birthday, but also because I stumbled over your remark that life is an evolutionary process, a thought that I have been exploring. Everyone realizes that life is full of changes, but mere change is different from evolution. Is that, more or less, your thesis?

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes, Pat. You're probably the only friend in blogosphere who is aware of what is going on in my life and the kind of things I am coping with, so your saying I will be just fine is reassuring indeed.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Louis, it is always an honour to have you over. I feel like pouring you some tea and handing out biscuits. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I had not intended to abandon this blog. I just thought taking a break from this one may be appropriate since all I seem to do is direct readers to specific posts in my Savoir Vivre blog. I have decided to update this blog only if I have something to say other than what is in in Savoir Vivre KL blog. And after Jan 5, I will be posting regularly here again. I agree that evolution is indeed very different from mere change. Evolution to me is at least partially conscious. You are aware of changes occurring and therefore you adapt, improvise and find solutions in order to deal with the new situation. Many things have happened to me in the past year, including some of my greatest fears, and I faced them and found that they were not so scary after all.

louis said...

"I faced them and found that they were not so scary after all."

As Shakespeare observed: "Present fears are less than horrible imaginings."

Yes, that element of consciousness of life's evolution is what makes it very interesting and challenging as we adapt and become changed as we do.

Tea and biscuits (Marie?) sound so inviting on this wet, cold, gray winter day. Thanks for the thought. Matter of fact my regular mid-afternoon delight is tea ( best of all when I still have the remnants of Boh tea I always bring back from Malaysia). Great by the fireplace.