Yesterday, while I was in the office, I read an email from a middle-high school classmate of mine. It is about another classmate of mine who passed away early this year. I was shocked at the news. I quickly replied to all,
“It is very shocking, to the point that I had to stop everything to re-read it, making sure I was not mis-reading. Though I have never tried to get in touch with him since I left Tianjin over 40 years ago, I still retain the vivid memory of him sitting just in front of me, every gesture and whisper just like yesterday. The news of his passing simply doesn’t fit the healthy image that I have of him back in our teenage years.”
I still cannot believe folks of our generation start to drop off the road so early…
Value what we have today. Nothing matters as much as health.
During last weekend, 2/22-23, I happened to bump into the whereabouts of a college classmate, whom we last met in 1987. We were good friends at that time. She has been living in one place since 1996, the year she got her PhD.
In 1996, I was in Indiana, where my daughter was born. From there, I moved to Virginia, then to Kansas till now. I have changed jobs from a sociology instructor to a database developer, then to my current position with research team. I am still trying to initial a change at this point.
I am sure life would be a lot easy if I had stayed on one job at one place all these years, less moving, less turbulence and less vicissitudes of life. I might have more time writing and be more productive. However, I am not sure if I were better off this way or that way.
One thing I am sure, that is, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I would not stop writing and I would always pursue some goals, be it realistic or not. And whichever way I choose to spend my life, I would still be what I am.
Every time I prepare my lunch veggies, normally carol or celery, I think of the time when I prepare them for my children. They always say “Thanks, mom” and with a smile on their faces when I bring to them the prepared carrots or celery or fruits. Those are the moments that I miss most.
They always say thank-you to show their appreciation for what I do for them, even if I think I am just doing something every mother would do. It warms my heart when they do it and when they don’t take for granted the services that I willingly render at home.
I wrote the following to my son prior to Valentine’s Day.
“There are many things in life that we take for granted, things we don’t appreciate when we have them.
On Valentine’s day and everyday, remember to appreciate the person who is willing to accompany you in your life’s journey, who accepts you as what you are or who might idealize you, who is there for you everyday when you are back to your quiet quarter, tired from work. For whatever reasons you can think of, appreciate that person for your mutual happiness.”
If your boss makes a mistake, should you point it out in private? The answer is NO, not even in private, unless you have evidence that something illegal is going on. Here are the reasons.
(1) It is not part of your job description to point out your boss’ work mistake. Your job is to do your job well, not to watch how your boss does his/her job.
(2) Nobody asks your opinion. It’s a different story if your advice is sought for.
(3) Watch out the subtle difference between offering your advice in the name of work and showing off to your boss how smart you are. Your advice in the name of work could be perceived as a mere show-off, depending on whose ears your words go into.
(4) At work and at home, always keep in mind
–> nobody cares how smart you are (nobody but your mom, dad occasionally);
–> no normal person likes to be shown how stupid he/she is;
–> your boss is like all of us.
If, in case, you have a hard time suppressing the urge to show off your trophies, keep a book of high achievers on your desk. When you flip through their achievements, you will realize how insignificant yours are. And you should blush with shame for even thinking about it.
It is a cold Sunday morning. I have not gone out for a walk for a long time, first due to time crunch of last few weeks, then due to record high snow fall. I feel like in a real polar style winter hibernation. Not a good thing, I know.
My son called early this morning to ask if we have time to go on Skype and chat a little bit there. That we did and had a wonderful start for the day.
One of their college friends will get married in April in Hong Kong, so both of them will go there for the event. From there, they will go to some other places in Asia, including Shanghai, her parents’ house.
Finally Friday came. It has been a rather long and rough week. By the end of weekday I felt more than ready to enjoy the weekend.
Yesterday evening I spent many hours watching the opening ceremony of the 2014 winter Olympics. I don’t normally spend this much time on sports, but Olympic games are different, especially opening ceremonies. They are often spectacular shows and I really expect this from Russian opening ceremony. Indeed, it has not failed me.
Olympic games provide an opportunity for a world level gathering of the best athletes from all nations in the world. It fills me with enthusiasm watching these young athletes parading around, reminding me of the pursuits of the honor and glory through competitions, which is as ancient as these games.
I feel I need something like this to re-energize me after a rather depressing week. I feel a lot better now. I am going to watch more of the games in the days to come — going to have a good time.
What are our default activities? They are the ones that we start doing by default, without thinking. We do it when we allow ourselves to follow our habits down the path of least resistance, when we follow our daily auto-pilot to automatically reach our default location, wherever it may be.
Day after day, year after year, following the same process, same pattern, people become the end products of their habits. There is no miracle if people succeed or fail. They succeed or fail by default, depending on the habits that drive their days and that dictate where they spend their time and energy.
A serious person should examine his/her default activities at least on a biweekly basis to avoid the formation of any examined default behavior. Catch yourself when you start drifting aimlessly, before you are seized by unsuccessful habits.
Yesterday, 2/3, while I was at our west clinic, I saw an infusion nurse, in her early 40s, at break room. I met her at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. Other people were on their devices, she was reading a thick book, which looked like a textbook. While chatting with her, I learned she is trying to get her master degree in nursing and later to become an NP. “Awesome! Go for it!” I said.
Immediately I felt a respect for her. It’s not easy to make me respect someone nowadays. Of course, I respect everybody as a human being. But there is more to that. There are many nurses around here, but this is the first time that I meet someone who is willing to make efforts to advance her career. Why not?
With two young girls and a full-time job, plus she is not young any more, she certainly will have a bumpy road ahead. I have no doubt she will make it.
Three of the best colleagues of mine left our department last December. Two others left last month, one leaving for retirement, the other for another company.
During our last department meeting on 1/30/2014, when I saw these two outgoing colleagues, I said to myself “This is their last meeting with the company. I hope this will be my last one with them, too.” You could feel an easy feeling going around the meeting, too much discontent. I was sitting there reading my own stuffs, unwilling to waste time listening to these useless complaints.
I can’t believe the department is shrinking so rapidly–with only 9 people holding the team, one project manager, one manager, 7 scattering in the 5 clinics. Everybody knows the reasons behind the decline, even though nobody talks about it openly–my first-hand experience of true democracy.
Today is 2/2/2014. It looks like a lucky number. I can’t believe it’s already February. When I look back just a month ago, it seems like yesterday when my children were still home, filling the house with joys and laughing.
Yes, it’s true. Before I had time following my New Year Resolution, the first month of the year 2014, 1/12 part of the year, has rushed by unbelievably fast. It seems so crazy.
The last weekend when my daughter was home was 1/18-19. I used the following one, 1/25-26 on getting ready for two job interviews, and then this weekend on online tests, three of them, which I am going to take in the afternoon. This way I will still have time for android course work, which is due today.
It seems I always have something to keep me occupied. Still, I must find time to work on my resolution, before the year end is dawning on me.
Last weekend saw me chained to the desk with my head buried in papers and books. I was brushing up my SQL skills to prepare for the two job interviews the following Monday and Tuesday, 1/27 and 28. I thought I’d kept almost nothing in my brain after over a decade of non-IT environment. I guess I still retain some after last weekend’s review.
Last Friday, 1/31, I received an email from the hiring company requesting me to take three online tests over this weekend. This means I have advanced to the next step on the selection process. A good thing, of course.
Oh boy, there goes another weekend, just like last one.
Yes, it is today, the beginning of Chinese lunar year, the year of horse.
My son called home to say happy spring festival. My daughter texted it to me. It gives me a warm feeling when the children think of you on occasions like this. Of course, I have received many good wishes from friends all over the states. They are another source of great joys in my life. Now I feel warm in my heart even in this freezing weather.
Like most of Chinese here in America, I work today as it is not an official holiday here. Nothing much to say for that now.
I have the following in my note collection for a few months or even longer. Here they are, finally.
Read about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
Martin Luther–“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.”
Also by Goethe
“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that”
“What is my life if I am no longer useful to others.”
“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.”
Carl Buechner–“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
I was going to add this part to the title — “and at what stage of life.” It is not difficult to have beautiful dreams when you are young, knowing a bright future is waiting for you. And realistically speaking, your dream can come true at a younger stage of life.
Yet, other than motivating you to work hard toward some goal, dreams have many other functions in life. It represents something beautiful and idealistic. Without dreams, life would be a sad, boring and even depressing experience.
After half a century has passed when you are over the hill, you might often hear people around you saying things like dawdling away your life or in Chinese “hun-ri-zi,” the word I hear literally everyday, etc.
I have to keep reminding myself — hold on to your dreams, even if it’s rainbow in the sky, ’cause dream gives joys, beauty, meanings, hope, pillar, and everything to your existence. Imagine how depressing it is to go through days and years without them. Not me.
The thought came to me when a colleague of mine asked me when I would write again and also my children asked me not to stop writing.
Yeah right, as if they were interested in reading them. Well, I know that’s not their point. The point is, at least from my children’s point of view, writing is good to me, even though they don’t have the time to read them now. I got it.
I plan to get back to writing after I have moved to a new position and after the dust has settled. Right now, I am too unsettled in my mind to diverge my time to other things.
I feel like heavily indebted to many parties, for not giving them enough attention. That is, I should have written more but I let it lapse. I promise I will make my first payment as soon as I move to another level of my career.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The office closed, which meant day off for us.
Yesterday morning my daughter needed to catch a 5:30 AM bus from New York City to her school. It was awfully early. I was afraid they might not be able to get up this early when they were too tired to hear the alarm clock.
I set the alarm at 4 in the morning, which is 5 New York time. I called and texted my daughter, hoping she was already at Port Authority. When I didn’t hear from her, I contacted my son, who told me he just dropped her off there. He might be on the way back to his apartment.
She called me half way through in her sleepy voice. I told her to go back to sleep and let me know when she got there at around 10:30 AM. She finally texted me around noon, “I’m back! Everything’s good. We can skype tonight.”
I wrote back, “Good, as long as I know you got back safe and sound. If you are busy, no need to skype tonight. Enjoy getting back to your friends…” I can even see her joyful face when she is among her friends again. So glad for her.
Things are so different with her away from home.
Yesterday we got up around 4:30 AM, leaving home at 5, trying to catch the 6:30 flight for my daughter. She got the boarding pass, then passing through security check before 6. After watching her disappear behind security check, we left for home.
All the way, I kept myself busy with the thought about my daughter’s activities, so that I gave myself no time to feel sad. I kept saying, “She will be very busy this semester, looking for paid summer intern, trying to transfer to other schools, etc..”
It is a challenge for the first-year college student to land an intern, let alone a paid one. Plus, she needs the skills. What skills does she have that make company pay her?
An unpaid intern position not only cost money in terms of living expenses in a big city, but more importantly, it smells cheap and insignificant, and doesn’t worth the time.
Plus, I don’t like the idea that some companies exploit those college kids who seem so desperate in getting work experience, even to the point of selling their time/life for free.
In high school, people call it volunteer work, which is okay when they live with their parents. In college, it is called intern, which is supposed to be related to their major and supposed to be compensated. But as economy goes downward and unemployment goes upward, some companies keep to the minimum the staffs on their payroll by exploiting unpaid interns. On the other hand, many college graduates, unable to get a paid job, become permanent interns, supported by their parents. I don’t want my daughter to even start on that track…
The house was dark and empty when we got back home. I knew my daughter was on the way to Denver. I told her to call or text me at every stop, so that I would know she is okay. She called around 8:30 AM when she was waiting in Denver, at the gate leaving for New York. She called again at around 3:30 PM when she arrived in New York and had brought the shuttle ticket from the airport to Port Authority. Around 5:30 PM, I heard her excited voice calling from my son’s place.
I am so glad she arrived safe and sound. I miss her and need to concentrate on what her challenges ahead.
My daughter is going back to school tomorrow, 1/19, early Sunday morning. She will fly to New York and stay there overnight at my son’s apartment, then take a bus to her school the next Monday morning.
I have already begun missing her now. I feel the emptiness that her leaving will create just at the thought of her leaving and being so far away once again.
You may say I need time to get over it. Still, life will never be the same with the children’s leaving for college. I will forever need time to get used to it until I move closer to them someday, hopefully soon.
During the last holiday season when I was chatting with the young folks at my home, I was further convinced of the factors that are crucial in career development, that is, your skills, network and experience.
To certain extent, having a marketable skill, a wide network and related work experience help you far effectively than a degree from a top ranking college.
Yesterday my daughter and I talked about this and the value of a college education. It is true that these key factors work better for you than a college degree, considering the exorbitant cost of college education now. In the long run, however, I told my daughter, it is better to have a college degree, expensive as it is.
On the other hand, if you go to college just for an education without building your network and gaining certain work experience, you are pretty much limited in your career development.
Keep in mind learning is a lifetime endeavor. You can always learn in or out of school. But network helps you build a wide career base. I hope young people today can understand this key point.
What I read recently once again confirms what we all know about success, that is success always entails hard work — “The Big Secret to A Successful Career
“there’s one trait that always comes through among the highly successful: Hard work.” “In fact, I’d agree with the statement above: ‘Hard Work Beats Talent.’”
“six simple things that help in your quest to be a success.
#1. Get up early.
#2. Focus on what matters. Each day.
#3. Pay attention to detail.
#4. Do more listening, less talking.
#5. Develop yourself. Learn to use the tools around you.
#6. Practice mental toughness.
Final thought. Have fun. Then hard work is easy!”
I have kept reminding my children of their New Year Resolutions. I even asked the young relative of mine here to work on his. It will benefit them if they can expect something bigger from themselves.
Here are some thoughts for you to consider if you decide to work on yours.
–find out specific ways of moving out of your comfort zone
–challenge yourself to think differently from yourself
–challenge yourself to find something new in your old way of life
–challenge yourself to learn something new everyday, be it a new word or a new skill, as long as you keep doing it everyday
–count one blessing a day and keep a record of your counting everyday
–if you set a goal for yourself, also break it into small feasible pieces, set specific deadlines for you to reach.
One final thought: refuse to be the same, day in day out, year in year out…
I read this article today, “8 New Year’s Resolutions All Parents Should Make in 2014.” I wish I could relive those years when my children were small, enjoy the time spent with them, and be a much more caring and wiser parent to them. Too bad time simply flies by before I have the time to appreciate what precious things that life has to offer. Hence, share with the readers.
#1. Slow down
This year I’ll take more deep breaths before raising my voice. I’ll stop telling him to hurry up and go faster. (Life goes fast enough.) I’ll slow everything – from my patience to my schedule to my outlook on life. This year I’ll slow down.
#2. Stop comparing yourself
This year I’ll stop comparing myself to strangers on the Internet, scripted characters on television, and whatever image I created in my head for a “good mom.” This year I’ll keep my eyes on my own life and stop letting assumptions and half truths cloud my perception.
#3. Shake off the “shoulds” and the scripts
This year I’ll shake off the “shoulds” that society imposes on us and take control of my own life.
#4. Be the person you want your child to be
This year I’ll frame my resolutions differently. I’ll think of the top 3 things I hope my son learns and embodies (authenticity, honesty, and kindness), and I’ll work on modeling those values. Because kids aren’t listening to what we’re telling them to do as much as they’re watching what we’re showing them to be.
#5. Focus on your health, not your appearance.
This year I’ll take a healthy approach to my resolutions. Instead of resolving to lose 10 lbs., I’ll resolve to exercise for my mood, eat healthy foods for the nutrients, and prioritize my health because there’s a little person who needs me to be healthy. Instead of looking in the mirror, grabbing my stomach skin and letting out a sigh, I’ll resolve to love my body in 2014.
#6. Make time for down-time.
This year I’ll stop looking at down-time as wasted time. This year I’ll shed the “work work work” mentality and prioritize things like sleeping, relaxing, and cuddling. Because I know that at the end of 2014, I’ll be glad I did.
#7. Live in the present more often.
This year I’ll consciously focus on living in the present moment and tuning into what’s happening right NOW. Too often we’re stuck on the hamster wheel of stress (future tense) and regret (past tense), but the real memories are happening right now.
#8. Take more photos and videos.
This year I’ll record more of the ordinary, non-filtered, non-styled moments. I’ll take photos for myself, not for Instagram. I’ll take more photos and videos to remind me of what life was really like in 2014.
Happy New Year to all!
The New Year’s Day of 2014 falls on Wednesday, giving me a nice break in the middle of the week. Still I don’t feel as joyful as I should be for this occasion. My head is still full of the sounds and faces of last week.
It seems like yesterday when my house was alive with people and now just three of us. I told my daughter, “How strange it’s like old times before you left for college, just three of us.” Meanwhile, I know clearly it is also very temporary. She will be leaving before I prepare for it.
My daughter has been working on her New Year Resolutions. We have exchanged some ideas on what we will put in our resolutions. I told her exercise was still on top of the list. I am going to add two new items this year. That is, (1) learning something new everyday, be it new words, new skills or a fraction of a new skill, anything that is new to me; (2) challenge myself to see and think differently from myself.
For now, enjoy the snow.
It is Saturday, 12/28/2013, near the end of the holiday week, the end of my vacation week, and also the end of the year.
The week went by with some parties, gathering with friends and, most of all, time spent with the children.
Now the children are leaving one after another, with one already left on the day after Christmas, one leaving tomorrow, one next Tuesday, and the last one still having two weeks before leaving.
I am so grateful that they all have come and have filled my days with joys and laughter that no occasion can replicate. I am so happy to see them happy and having a good time here.
I have learned to enjoy and appreciate the good times that I spend with the children because I know too well that good times are never long enough and are gone too fast. And all that’s left is the memories of the good times. In fact, I have already started relishing the jokes they cracked at each other. And instead of laughing with them, now I laugh alone.
Now, no more jokes. Get serious, get ready for another new year and another beginning!
I read this article by Alex Kecskes on 12/13.
“If you’ve been working at a job for several years and seem to be going nowhere—no promotion, no challenging tasks, feeling like a drone—it’s time to re-evaluate your situation and get out of your rut. Being stuck in job limbo can happen to even the best employees. And the sooner you take steps to move beyond this career roadblock the better.”
Being trapped and stuck in a dead end job. This is exactly how I feel now. He offers some suggestions.
(1) Don’t stop at job descriptions
Many workers fall into the job description rut. They get so used to performing the perfunctory tasks outlined in their job description that they never “go for gold.” …
(2) Don’t stop “connecting”
This one can be particularly tough for introverts. If you are one, break out of your shell and talk to more people—people outside your “drone zone.”
(3) Don’t stop being creative
Offering creative solutions to problems at work can be a real career booster. …Focus your creativity on solutions that improve productivity using existing resources. To improve your creativity, check out Start Being More Creative at Work.
A few weeks ago, I read this article “To calm body and mind, get moving.” Too bad I forgot and have not saved where I read it, though I saved part of it.
“A burst of physical activity after the stress response is triggered — let’s say by sprinting away from an oncoming bus — burns off stress hormones just as nature intended.
But you don’t need an imminent physical threat to use exercise as a way to take the edge off every day stress. Just about any form of motion helps relieve pent-up muscle tension. And certain activities, such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, and rhythmic, repetitive exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and rowing, elicit the relaxation response, too. All of these things are especially helpful if you do them regularly.
To boost the stress-relief rewards that come from being physically active, it helps to increase your awareness — what and how you’re feeling, your environment, etc. — during exercise. This small shift in focus can leave you feeling calmer and more centered.
This approach is as effective during strength training as it is when you’re on a nature walk. As you lift and plant each foot, or as you raise and lower the weights, coordinate your breathing with your movements, keeping mindful attention on the sensations in your body.
Once you get under way, become aware of how your breathing complements the activity. Breathe rhythmically. If you have a focus word, phrase, or prayer that you use when meditating, use that word now as you breathe. When disruptive thoughts intrude, gently turn your mind away from them and focus on moving and breathing.”
I often hear people talking about winter gloom or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), that is, when winter brings the blues, with the dark affecting their moods as well as their days.
According to Harvard Medical School newsletter, SAD is one form of depression affecting about 1% to 2% of the population with more women than men being that impacted and more young folks are more than older ones.
There is legitimate reason for people suffering SAD when the days get shorter and we stay indoors and are not exposed to daylight as much as we do during summer season. This lack of sun and light, of course, causes changes in the chemical makeup in our bodies.
The symptoms include “lethargy, loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, interpersonal problems, irritability, inability to concentrate, and changes in sleeping patterns, appetite, or both.”
For me, on the contrary, winter is the best season. For one thing, nothing stops me from venturing out. For another, as the year end draws near, the climax of the year is coming.
It is the season of joy and festival, all because of the children’s homecoming.
I was at the office today, Friday the 13th, supposedly working on something that was piling on my desk. But I kept thinking what I would need to buy after work and what I needed to do this weekend, the last weekend before the children get back home.
I left office at 3 pm today and headed for Costco directly. The store was not as crowded as I expected. I guess not many people are expecting four grown-up children like I am. Good for me!
I brought back some junk foods, nuts and cakes, chips and dips, and some frozen dessert kind of foods. I remember my son and his girlfriend go to bed late, which means they will need to have some snacks late at night.
While I was shopping at the store, for some reason, scenes from my childhood came back, scenes when we were busy preparing for Spring Festival, Chinese guo-nian, the busy atmosphere when my grandmother and my mother were busy with cooking. Of course, shopping was never part of this.
I know this is the meaning of guo-nian for me. This is the eve of my festival when I am expecting and getting ready for the children’s homecoming.
Other people call December holiday season. I call it a festival in line with what Chinese people call jie or festival.
I have been in a festive mood ever since I learn of the exact dates when my children will be back. My daughter will be home next Tuesday, my son and his girlfriend next Thursday. My sister’s son will visit us next week, too. The four children will certainly bring home lively laughter and immense amount of joy, boosting the festive mood to the highest level of the year!
I was happily cleaning the rooms, towels and sheets, preparing for their arrival. This weekend I will do some shopping, making sure there are plenty foods and snacks around the house.
Excited and looking forward… I told my son, “I can’t wait…”
Here’s a short list, easy to remember and to follow.
1. consume a little bit of caffeine and chocolate
2. sleep on it. Got a good night sleep.
3. work it out, aerobic exercise improve memory
4. eat the right food for brain power, omega-3 fatty acid
5. challenge your brain
If you can run, don’t walk;
If you can walk, don’t stand;
If you can stand, don’t sit;
If you can sit, don’t lay down.
If you face two choices, always take the harder one.
In life as in everything, the best defense is offense.
That’s the way to get ahead and go above and beyond.
I read this article long ago. In fact, I am sure I would not let it go without posting it here, which means most likely I have already posted it before. Still, it doesn’t hurt to read it again just to remind people: How Being a Jerk Shortens Your Life by John Cloud, Feb. 28, 2011.
I hope it works this way. Here’s an excerpt from the article.
“Beware jocks and mean girls: you may be more popular in high school, but according to a new academic paper, it is the smart kids and conscientious glee-club types who will live longer. Not only that, they will suffer fewer diseases before they die. Only the good die young? Guess again.
The paper, which was published recently in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, summarizes data from millions of people studied in dozens of academic articles. The bottom line is that people who are smarter and more conscientious acquire fewer illnesses and die later than those who have the opposite traits.”
It is an interesting read.
It seems more like a lifetime nightmare than a bunch of tasteless jokes when Jofi Joseph, former White House Official on national security, lost his plum job — after it was discovered where these sarcasm and snark tweeted out.
Jofi Joseph spit out whatever in his mind like an idiot when he thought he was anonymous under the name of @NatSecWonk, when he had no clue that nobody can truly hide his true identity on this seemingly innocent cyber world.
It really doesn’t take much effort to dig him out. Now that his identity is revealed, “it’s fair to say Joseph has pretty much burned bridges with everyone in Washington.”
For the rest of us, it’s lesson to be learned.
I share this article with my children a few weeks ago. “New study reveals fastest-growing occupations through 2017” by By Susan Ricker. I want them to notice the pay difference between the highest and the lowest among the list:
The lowest is food prep and serving — $8.75,
The highest is software developers — $47.64
While the field that will see the highest growth is personal care and home health aides, but sadly to say, their pay is so indecent.
The following list, adapted from the report, spotlights the fastest-growing occupations that are projected to see at least 8 percent growth and 30,000 jobs added from 2013 through 2017.
1. Personal care and home health aides
Projected growth: 21 percent
New jobs: 473,965
Median hourly earnings: $9.77
2. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 60,889
Median hourly earnings: $29.10
3. Medical secretaries
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 76,386
Median hourly earnings: $15.17
4. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Projected growth: 13 percent
New jobs: 30,234
Median hourly earnings: $15.28
5. Software developers (systems and applications)
Projected growth: 11 percent
New jobs: 110,049
Median hourly earnings: $47.64 (This must be entry level pay for)
6. Medical assistants
Projected growth: 10 percent
New jobs: 60,109
Median hourly earnings: $14.35
7. Registered nurses
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 256,703
Median hourly earnings: $32.04
8. Network and computer systems administrators
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,825
Median hourly earnings: $35.14
9. Pharmacy technicians
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 31,975
Median hourly earnings: $14.29
10. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 111,444
Median hourly earnings: $11.07
11. Social and human service assistants
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,411
Median hourly earnings: $14.02
12. Computer systems analysts
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 40,462
Median hourly earnings: $37.98
13. Management analysts
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 60,157
Median hourly earnings: $35.80
14. Cooks, restaurant
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 79,364
Median hourly earnings: $10.63
15. Insurance sales agents
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 52,565
Median hourly earnings: $23.20
16. Nursing assistants
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 117,400
Median hourly earnings: $12.01
17. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 63,320
Median hourly earnings: $20.33
18. Combined food prep and serving, incl. fast food
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 237,192
Median hourly earnings: $8.75
19. Receptionists and information clerks
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 85,035
Median hourly earnings: $12.64
Harvard Medical School newsletter lists these factors that you should consider when you take vitamin D.
1. Where you live.
The further away from the Equator you live, the less vitamin D–producing UVB light reaches the earth’s surface during the winter. Residents of Boston, for example, make little if any of the vitamin from November through February. Short days and clothing that covers legs and arms also limit UVB exposure.
2. Air quality.
Carbon particles in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production. In contrast, ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so pollution-caused holes in the ozone layer could end up enhancing vitamin D levels.
3. Use of sunscreen.
Sunscreen prevents sunburn by blocking UVB light. Theoretically, that means sunscreen use lowers vitamin D levels. But as a practical matter, very few people put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB light, or they use sunscreen irregularly, so sunscreen’s effects on vitamin D might not be that important. An Australian study that’s often cited showed no difference in vitamin D between adults randomly assigned to use sunscreen one summer and those assigned a placebo cream.
4. Skin color.
Melanin is the substance in skin that makes it dark. It “competes” for UVB with the substance in the skin that kick-starts the body’s vitamin D production. As a result, dark-skinned people tend to require more UVB exposure than light-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
Body fat sops up vitamin D, so it’s been proposed that it might provide a vitamin D rainy-day fund: a source of the vitamin when intake is low or production is reduced. But studies have also shown that being obese is correlated with low vitamin D levels and that being overweight may affect the bioavailability of vitamin D.
Compared with younger people, older people have lower levels of the substance in the skin that UVB light converts into the vitamin D precursor. There’s also experimental evidence that older people are less efficient vitamin D producers than younger people.
As I continue plodding on house-cleaning, for some reasons, I thought of an article that I read long ago “How Much Money Is Your Clutter Costing You?”
And then, I read this piece recently “10 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs.” As I read it, I couldn’t help asking, “Why do we have so much junks and we need so much space?”
Perhaps because I saw in my house something stored in boxes or piled in a corner, unused and untouched for many years and will remain so until we move out of this space. “What shall I do with them?” I don’t know how many times I have asked myself. Yet, this question always comes to my mind when I clean the house and see the piles of unused and untouched stuffs.
I know they are burdens but I never think of the cost of the stuffs that I am not using, nor intend to use. It actually cost more than the space they occupy. It cost my time to think about them. Yes, I have to think hard about how to dispose them without committing the crime of being wasteful.
I never thought of this when I bought them. Now I have to deal with the consequence of thoughtless shopping. Another cost.
According to a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, it is better to keep to a minimum these foods because “Research suggests that eating these foods regularly (and to the exclusion of healthier choices) can set the stage for life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some cancers.”
Whether it’s white granulated sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, or honey, sugar contains almost no nutrients and is pure carbohydrate. When you eat a lot of sugar you are filling up on empty calories, causing your blood sugar to rise and fall like a roller coaster, and can keep you from eating foods that with important nutrients and fiber.
Eat real food
That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it.
Ice cream, whole milk, and cheese are full of saturated fat and some naturally occurring trans fat and therefore can increase the risk of the health problems, notably heart disease. The healthiest milk and milk products are low-fat versions, such as skim milk, milk with 1% fat, and reduced-fat cheeses.
Cookies, snack cakes, doughnuts, pastries, and many other treats are hard to pass up, but these commercially prepared versions are packed with processed carbohydrates, added sugar, unhealthy fats, and often salt.
Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cookies, cake, or pancakes — if you enjoy these foods, opt for whole-grain versions. Yes, you can find or make whole-grain pancake mix. Whole-wheat pastas and breads are luckily easy to find. And you can always make your own homemade cookies or bars using grains such as oatmeal, and less sugar and unhealthy fats.
Processed and high-fat meats
Shun the cold cuts and “pigs in a blanket.” Despite some conflicting reports, the balance of the evidence confirms that processed meats like bacon, ham, pepperoni, hot dogs, and many lunch meats are less healthy than protein from fish, skinless chicken, nuts, beans, soy, and whole grains. Fresh red meat should be eaten sparingly and the leanest cuts selected.
Current dietary guide lines and the American Heart Association recommend reducing sodium to 1,500 mg per day and not exceeding 2,300 mg per day. But most of us get 1 ½ teaspoons (or 8,500 mg) of salt daily. That translates to about 3,400 mg of daily sodium. Your body needs a certain amount of sodium, but too much can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
I used to tell this to my son. Pretty soon, I will have to constantly pound this idea on my daughter when she lands on her first job.
Always keep in mind this — increase your wealth not just your money. Wealth is more valuable than money.
Money does not always equal to wealth. Money comes and go monthly, a rather transient object. Without wealth, you constantly have to sell your time, your life and skill for money in order to have food and shelter.
Wealth include your skills, your connections, your social status, and many intangible and tangible assets that you can amass.
Without money, a CEO of a big company or president Clinton or his wife, even after white house stay, can still generate tons of money to buy a mansion of their dream.
The former manager of our research department left us in 2011. In less than three years, she changed job four times. She has this luxury and the freedom of hopping from one position to another because of her wealth — network. I wish I could have one of the jobs that she left behind, of course I am over-qualified for that but still cannot get it!
When we go to work everyday, most of us think we go to make money, on the surface at least. That’s it. But this is not what the higher level people think everyday. They think of increasing their wealth, making connection, achieving larger goals for their record, and how to make small potatoes like us serve their needs and help them toward achieving their goals.
It is such a shame that we spend our lives helping others realize their dreams, like an IOWA — an idiot out wandering aimlessly. Don’t just being instrumental to people above you. Don’t just be a small dispensable cog in the larger machine.
Make it your high priority everyday to increase your wealth, your intangible value, skills and connections, in whatever way you can think of, and get ready to fly higher. Seek opportunities to grow everyday and let go of nothing that you encounter in your daily life.
On the matter of children leaving home, most likely this is something that parents cannot change. But that does not mean parents can do nothing about it. Parents can either move closer to the children and change themselves to adapt to their children’s needs or try to be a more understanding parents to their adult children, so that they can form a good relationship with their children.
In fact, our relationship with the children has to evolve as the children grow up and the parents age. From what I can see the relationship with the children is very crucial to our happiness.
The comfort for the parents is they might sever the tie with their past, their childhood, their high school friends, etc. but their ties to their parents will survive everything.
I forgot where I copied this, but here’s what I read about our inner strengths — “built-in capacities for certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Everyone has these capacities to one degree or another. Your particular pattern of strengths is part of what makes you unique.”
“When you play from your strengths, you are likely to feel more energetic and perform better than when you are trying to use a capacity that comes less naturally.
Leveraging your strengths can help you accomplish many goals. Making your strengths work for you, especially when the task at hand is well-aligned with your personal values, can leave you feeling more competent and connected.”
This reminds me of a Chinese saying — yang-chang-bi-duan.
Sometimes it will hurt you when it comes back. This happened to a high school senior.
“Perhaps she hadn’t realized that colleges keep track of their social media mentions.
“It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that,” Scott A. Meiklejohn, Bowdoin’s dean of admissions and financial aid, told me last week. The college ultimately denied the student admission, he said, because her academic record wasn’t competitive. But had her credentials been better, those indiscreet posts could have scuttled her chances.
“We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks,” Mr. Meiklejohn said.
People do make judgement based on what they read about you and your footprint on the internet. So, be careful what you utter or twitter on the supposedly free cyber space. You never know when it will come back and hurt you somewhere some day.
I felt extremely low in spirits after the test ended today, because I knew I didn’t pass it. The time-out screen suddenly screamed out when I still had about 10 more to go. The result confirmed my fear.
Either I didn’t manage my time well or I was too slow to go through this 100-question test in 120 minutes. Most of them are cases or scenarios that need resolution, which I couldn’t resolve in that time frame. Surely, I wasn’t able to read and think as fast as I was required to. Another big factor, I think it didn’t test what I have prepared.
I checked my cell phone after I got home and found some unanswered calls. My daughter called. I texted to my daughter and some friends about the result.
My daughter texted back. “I’m sorry you didn’t pass :(( Will you try again? At least you tried though! The time you spent studying wasn’t wasted either, because you learned something in the end.” A friend of mine also asked if I would try again.
Now I felt a lot better now. At least I tried, even though I didn’t pass it. Of course I have learned a lot.
That’s the end of all the efforts I made in the past few months. Now I need to shift gears and get myself in the mood for the coming holiday.
Yesterday, my son emailed me his itinerary for the incoming holiday. I was delighted to learn that he will be home from 12/19 to 12/29/2013, 10 days in all. Last year he came back for 6 days, 12/20-26/2012. My daughter will arrive two days before him.
This year more than any time in the past, I am eagerly looking forward to the joyful holiday season when both of my children will be home and when my house is once again filled with lively laughter. My heart already jumps with warmth and excitement at the thought. My sister’s son will come over, too.
Busy as I am right now as I am getting ready for next Friday’s exam, I still find time thinking and planning for their homecoming.
Yesterday was Veterans Day. It was rather dark, wet and gloomy, discomfort not just to the body but to the soul. I was groping up and down for some good news to cheer me up, but none ever came at the office during the day.
As I drove home in the late afternoon, I heard radio talking about Veterans Day. My mind was dragged to that topic. From there, I thought of army life, the hardship and the sacrifice, the bitterness, desperateness and the hopelessness with the dead threat like a dagger hanging around their necks. The more I thought about it, the more dreadful I was of that kind of life.
No wonder there is a high suicide rate among soldiers in service. I don’t know how I would survive that kind of life. I don’t know which way to look at this issue. All I know is I should count my blessing on this Veterans Day.
Finally, on the last day of this October, I decided I must impose a deadline on myself for this CPHIMS exam. I told myself I would always feel not ready if I kept telling myself so and kept postponing it or if there is no deadline.
Right now I poured most of my off-work time on the preparation, putting aside everything else, like getting the house really ready for the children to come back home during Christmas holiday, like starting the project or art craft that I am so anxious to, like experimenting with plant propagation, like reading the books that I cannot put down, like contacting some friends, like writing here and other places, like getting myself healthier, etc.
Finally, on 10/31/2013, I took my courage in both hands and registered and paid for this exam, a hefty amount. Well, still not courageous enough when I gave myself three weeks to get ready and scheduled it on 11/22/2013, six days before Thanksgiving.
I have to get it behind me before Thanksgiving as I need time and the state of mind to get house ready for some friends to come over for that day.
The strange thing is after footing the bill and have a target day, I find myself more productive than before. Certainly knowing a deadline forces me to be more focused and productive.
No, I have not forgotten this site. It is not that I don’t have anything to write about, but I simply don’t have the time to put them out.
Yesterday at office, I was listening to something while working on something else. I caught this part,
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they quit playing.”
It is Friday again. I can’t believe a whole week is passing since my visit to my daughter’s college last Friday. It all seems literally like yesterday! I am not going to sigh and whine about the passing of time. On the contrary, I am so grateful that I had this visit.
Ever since we left my daughter on 8/29/2013, I was occasionally wondering if she ever felt lonely, when she was suddenly separated from the people and place that she has lived with. When I was at her school during this parent weekend, I asked her if she ever for a moment felt bad, lonely or homesick. “No, I miss you but I know why I am here and I’ve been busy with stuffs here.”
I felt a lot better after hearing this. Indeed, in less than two months after she started school here, she has become a lot mature, independent, and are better at self-management. I am not sure if she could have experienced so much change if she stayed close-by, like in our state university.
We also talked a lot of college transfer. She wants to go for something better than her current school. I admire her courage to move out of her new-found comfort zone and get into an entirely unfamiliar environment. If she is so determined to challenge herself, I am totally behind her.
To my delight and comfort, she remains the same sweet little girl. That has not changed.
We did many things on Saturday, had lunch at my daughter’s school, dinner at a Japanese restaurant outside school, played a game of chess at the common room in her dorm, talked about school work, etc. My daughter had some pre-arranged activity at 3 PM. I tried to take a nap at her room while she was at this activity.
My flight back home was at 5:45 AM on Sunday. I needed to head out really early that morning, giving me enough time to cover the long distance drive, to recover in case I got lost on the way, to fill up gas and to return rental car, etc.
So I didn’t book a hotel for Saturday evening. Instead, I spent that part of evening at my daughter’s dorm. She set alarm at 3 AM and planned to go out to my car and watch me drive away. I wasn’t able to really fall asleep. So I got up at 2, got things ready, and planned to leave at 2:30.
She woke up at the noise. I told her I was leaving and she’d better not get up and see me off. She wanted to get up but I insisted on her stay in bed. She gave me a big hug and would not let me go, saying “Mommy, be safe, love you.”
Quietly, I left her dorm and went to the car. As I drove in dark at this early dark hours, I was overwhelmed by an unspeakable feeling of sadness, totally different from the way I felt when I drove to her school on Friday. I tried hard to focus on driving, still rather disturbed by this sad feeling. I still feel sad when I think of that early morning. I wish I could stay longer at my daughter’s place, but I know she still has work to do and she can get more things done this way.
By the time I reached the rental car return gate, it was 3:40 AM. The place did not open until 4 AM.
I left KS on Friday morning at 6 AM, 10/8/2013, made a transfer at Cleveland, Ohio, arrived in Hartford, CT at 3 PM, picked up a rental car and drove for my daughter’s college. It was nearly 4 PM when I finally made it there.
Both of us were excited and very delighted. She took me to her dorm, where we sat and chatted and put things in places. Then we drove to the mall to do some shopping and to have dinner. She had a work schedule on Friday evening. At first I didn’t ask her to find a substitute for that shift. I thought I could sit around and wait for her. Later we thought it better that she found a substitute that evening. Luckily she found one at the last moment when we were at the mall. Still we needed to get back to her school to complete a form.
By the time we decided to head for the hotel from her school, it was nearly 10 PM. I got lost driving in dark and in a strange town. I was not scared because my daughter was with me. We tried to find a convenience store where we could ask for directions.
Finally, we found one but the guy there was no help at all. As luck would have it, there was a kind-hearted customer who offered to help us. He drove slowly and we followed his truck. After a few twists and turns, he led us to the front of the hotel. We offered to pay for his service, he would not accept.
Both of us were tired and had no other thought than heading for the bed. It was a long and exciting day for me.
Thought of the day.
When you are waiting for something to happen, you practically pin your hope on the whims of others, like job hunting which depends on the hiring manager who will turn you down simply because she doesn’t like you.
Having others control your life is too risky and unreliable.
Try to have some control over your own life, and try not to subject your happiness to the whims of others.
Most importantly, don’t wait for things to happen. Make it happen.
Severe sleep deprivation kills. On 8/21/2013, I read a sad piece of news about the death of a 21-year-old intern. Bank intern’s death spotlights workaholic culture. I personally know some people working at the IBD of a top investment bank. They throw in more than two third of the day to their work. This is definitely not life but torture or even suicide.
“The 21-year-old German intern allegedly worked for 72 hours without sleep for the Bank of America’s investment banking division in London before he was found dead.
Moritz Erhardt, 21, who died while working as an intern for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investment bank division in London.
LONDON — The death of an intern working at the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch has prompted calls for city firms to take more responsibility for the ambitious graduates who push themselves to the limit to secure jobs at the world’s top banks.
Attracted to the glass towers of finance in London, New York and Singapore by the prospect of securing a full-time job and hefty wage, future “masters of the universe” often face 20-hour days in some of the most adrenaline-soaked offices on Earth.
Weekends at work and meals in the office are par for the course with anecdotal reports of the “magic roundabout” where interns get a taxi home after dawn and leave it waiting while they have a quick shower and then return to work.”
A young relative of mine told me a few weeks ago that his girl friend jilted him when she found another one. To say he was upset is too much an understatement. I know whatever I say would not alleviate the pain that he has to endure.
With experience like this, people are very much tempted to have negative thoughts toward the other party or even toward people in general.
I am sure there are mountains of writings on this subject. After covering over a half century’s life journey, I have come to terms with some of realities in life that are beyond my control.
First of all, sometimes people make decisions based on their feelings, sometimes on other matters. No matter what justification that they can think out, it’s their decision. Live and let live.
Secondly, you are judged not by how other people treat you but how you treat others. Be kind, always.
I read this article –A Question That Can Change Your Life by Peter Bregman — on August 12, 2013. Again, I was thinking of sharing it here but didn’t have the time. Wait. I might have posted it but I forgot. Still, here it is.
“So here’s the question I’d like to propose you ask yourself throughout your day: What can I do, right now, that would be the most powerful use of this moment? What can I say? What action can I take? What question can I ask? What issue can I bring up? What decision can I make that would have the greatest impact?
Asking these questions — and answering them honestly — is the path to choosing new actions that could bring better outcomes. The hard part is following through on the answers and taking the risks to reap the full benefits of each moment. That takes courage. But it’s also what brings the payoff.”
Woody Allen famously said that 80% of success is showing up. Maybe that’s true. But, if it is, then I’d say the other 20% is the most important. Simply showing up and watching TV on a treadmill — that’s not enough. Your greatest opportunity is to use your time in a way that will garner the most productive return. To take risks that will shake things up.
What can you do, right now, that would be the most powerful use of this moment?“
During last weekend, I bumped into an article that discusses the good and bad of various master degrees. This reminds me of the question that many of my friends asked, “Is your son going to graduate school?” I believe you have to have some good reasons to invest another two years and plenty of money for that gain. I am glad to read this part below.
“Bardaro says there are three good reasons to obtain a master’s degree (not including those required for a given career path).
One is the desire to increase your knowledge in a given field, which includes obtaining new skills not taught in many undergraduate educations;
the second is to make valuable alumni connections that can prove useful in today’s tough job market;
and third, to set yourself apart from those with only a bachelor’s degree.
‘However, more education can sometimes hinder you more than help you with certain job openings. In lean economic times, some companies may prefer the less educated cheaper employee than the more educated more expensive one.’”
Last weekend I spent most of the time preparing for the exam that I am so eager to pass. I set a rule for myself when I am reading or writing at home. I know my energy will be at a low ebb and I will be less efficient if I keep reading for hours without a break. So I use a timer to give myself a 10-minute-break after 30 minutes. By alternating between reading and other activities, I find myself more focused.
Of course, during breaks, I continue the endless task of room cleaning. Last weekend, at one point, I was holding another reading note, taken in 6/2010. It is from Psychology Today. I am not sure if I have ever written anything on this. Here’s a bit of it.
“In the brain, pleasure areas are intimately linked with social areas.”
“Giving others gives us pleasure because it involves in paying attention to the thoughts and emotions of other people.”
Yesterday, my daughter texted me “Mom, I want to start piano lessons again.” I was delighted to hear that.
I told her “It gives me great pleasure to know this. Music gives so much joy to one’s life. I can’t imagine life without it. You know I sing all the time, but not after you left, because it always reminds me of you and that makes me feel sad.”
I remember how in the past she always asked me to sing a song when I was driving or when we were together and how she always praised my singing, which encouraged me to sing more, even though I truly believe it is mostly daughterly bias. The joy of singing has never come back since she left.
Yesterday my son called home, which is always a very delightful event in my life. I learned that he has made some real progress in his start-up project.
I told him, “At this time of my life, my greatest hope is both of you reach your goals… Of course, my greatest joy is to hear good new from you. There is not much for me to achieve, as I am getting old.”
He strongly disagrees. “Don’t say this, mom,” he said. “You can always work and accomplish something. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”
It is so heartening to hear his encouraging words. I need this encouragement as I have heard so many negative feedback so far.
I read this one during this past summer when my daughter was home and I tried to spend some quality time with her while she was home. It was written by Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer of his company.
1) Systematizing Repeat Tasks –Entrepreneurship, by definition, is the art of creating systems that generate more value for less effort. Startups realize that the opportunity cost of doing mundane tasks adds up quickly, preventing them from doing the high-impact work they have set out to do.
2) Great Storytelling –Those who tell the stories rule the world.”
3) Carving Out “Heads Down” Time — Interruptions eat up a huge amount of the average person’s work time. Great startups have the habit of finding ways to protect their people from needless distractions. And smart managers block off swaths of their calendars for “productivity time.”
4) Split Testing And Iterating — A hallmark of the Lean Startup movement, entrepreneurs are wont to constantly pit two or more approaches against one another and let data inform their decisions. What should the home page call-to-action say? Split test two different sentences and see which gets more clicks. How do I get more people to respond to my emails? Test different subject lines, lengths, and endings like “Thanks for your help in advance” versus “Warm regards.” What kind of outfit makes me look more professional? Try two different styles and keep track of the compliments.
5) Looking For 80/20s — There’s a strange phenomenon in work that almost always holds true: if you examine your life, you’ll often see that only 20% of the things you do account for 80% of the results you get. Being productive and being busy are two different things. If you want to quadruple your productivity, focus on the 20% first, and if you can, cut the other 80% that just makes you busy.
6) Rather Than Planning, Doing — Too many of us have meetings about meetings, and end meetings with lists of follow-up conversations to be had later. But startups, for which every second counts, have a habit of taking on-the-spot action. Instead of promising to email an introduction for you, a startup founder will pull out her phone and write the email while you sit there. Then the issue doesn’t have to take up future brain- or calendar-space.
7) Ditching Meetings… But Taking Every Networking Meeting —Most meetings are worthless. They usually have too many people, who feel obligated to talk because they are there, and they’re almost always too long.
8) Asking “Why” Like A Five-Year-Old –Entrepreneurs aren’t satisfied with the status quo. They ask “why” over and over again until they get to the bottom of things, rather than ascribing superficial blame on people, or worst of all, accepting the explanation, “That’s just the way it is.”
9) Seeing Every “It Can’t Be Done” As An Opportunity–This is the mindset from which innovation springs. To an entrepreneur, convention means average, and impossible means profit potential. People who see the opportunities in the can’ts in their work—and seize them—create positive change, get promoted, and work happier.
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When I cleaned my old documents lately, I dug out an email that I sent to a friend of mine on 3/11/1999. I remember she just gave up her teaching job in order to join her husband. She was feeling rather depressed when she couldn’t find another teaching job in her new home. Here’s part of what I wrote to her,
“Glad to talk to you yesterday, though we didn’t finish what we were talking about…
I feel deeply that it’s difficult for us Chinese in America to be happy. We work extremely hard and we are not afraid of hardships. We live comfortably, yet, we are not as happy as we should be and we feel depressed easily. Why? …
1. We never have a sense of home here. It seems any place can be home for us, but we cannot form emotional attachments to any place, no matter how long we live there… People call it ‘sense of rootlessness.’
2. We are cut off from our family, the one we were born into, where we are related by blood and, cut off from an important source of social and emotional support…
3. Because of this, we rely heavily on our small family, the one formed by marriage. This form of family is the weakest one in a sense, the most easily broken one, considering one in two marriages in America ends up in divorce, and thus the least reliable one. We expect greatly from this small family. Yet, no matter how much we try, we still don’t feel happy.
4. Perhaps we can never feel as happy as we wish just from our small family. Perhaps it is still not enough to make us happy when we are so isolated socially and sometimes emotionally… Or perhaps the real happiness is found within each of us, no matter where we are, … and we shouldn’t expect it from outside…”
This friend of mine doesn’t have children. I further told her that “I have two lovely children who are very much attached to me and are the greatest sources of happiness. So I feel completely blessed and happy when I’m with my little ones… I’m not thinking of anything else, just enjoy what I have now. Let future takes care of itself.” I probably shouldn’t tell her this when I already knew how much she longed to have a child.
I ended the email with these words for her–
–We come to this earth to enjoy, not to suffer.
–Enjoy to the fullest what we have today, because we only have one life to live.
–Life is so short that we don’t even have enough time to enjoy. Why waste time feeling depressed.”
I can’t believe I wrote this 14 years ago and I still need to be reminded of these words today! Also, I have found how true these words are from my experience with other Chinese living in America.