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.
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.
I have encouraged both of my children to make friends, form connections, create a home away from home when they are in college. This way they will not feel homesick.
I must say they all did what I told them to, which is a good thing. I bet they miss their college-friend-home when they return to their first home or when they have to say goodbye to them.
It’s always like this — they move on in life, forming new connections or relationship or even homes and naturally their tie to their first home will not be as close as before. Meanwhile we, being left behind, still cling to the old connections with them. Shouldn’t we be happy for them?
Last Thursday or rather Friday morning, 9/27, I dreamed I was in my daughter’s school. I relived the days before I left for home in my dream. I actually re-play what happened during those dreadful days, leaving for Kansas without her and coming back to an empty house, no more joy and laughing as before, just as I had been so afraid of. I was so sad that I couldn’t stop crying.
I don’t know why I had this dream. But it certainly threw me into a bad mood. Perhaps because of what I heard during the day. I had tried to focus on the future whenever I could during the day, but the past crept in during the night when I was off my guard. It’s not an easy task to stay upbeat.
P.S. it’s been exactly one month since we left my daughter’s college on 8/29/2013. One month seems a long time, yet that bye-bye moment seems like yesterday, surfacing right before my eyes once again today.
I read this article last month, Study Shows Millennials Are More Forgetful Than Seniors by Shelley Emling, posted 08/02/2013. The article is short and disturbing.
“Historically, studies have equated forgetfulness with old age. Indeed, when someone misplaces something like their car keys, people generally refer to it as a “senior moment.” But a new survey tells a different story.
A Trending Machine national poll finds that millennials aged 18 to 34 are, in fact, much more likely than those 55 or older to forget what day it is (15 percent vs. seven percent), where they put their keys (14 percent vs. eight percent), forget to bring their lunch (nine percent vs. three percent) or even to take a bath or shower (six percent vs. two percent).
Generally speaking, two-fifths — or 39 percent — of Americans have forgotten or misplaced at least one everyday item in the past week. The
only thing those 55 and older are significantly more likely to forget? Names (23 percent vs. 16 percent).
So what’s behind the phenomenon?
Patricia Gutentag, a family and occupational therapist, pointed the finger at stress in a statement released by The Trending Machine.
“Stress often leads to forgetfulness, depression and poor judgment,” she said. “We find higher rates of ADHD diagnoses in young adults. This is a population that has grown up multitasking using technology, often compounded by lack of sleep, all of which results in high levels of forgetfulness.”
When it comes to gender, The Trending Machine found that women are more likely to forget or misplace everyday items compared with men, (43 percent vs. 31 percent). The reason? The stress of work-life balance issues coupled with increased financial responsibilities have taken a toll.
In addition, regional stress differences can be inferred from the higher level of forgetfulness found in the Northeast compared to those reported in the more relaxed West (51 percent vs. 39 percent).
Despite these findings, memory loss remains a common complaint among the elderly. And ageist stereotypes don’t seem to help. One recent study found that simply telling older people they are forgetful makes their memory worse.”
Once again, below is the note that I wrote while I was in China in 2008.
One evening, my sisters and I talked about life’s journey with the parents. We all start our life’s journey with our parents. As we grow bigger and strong, we gradually move away from them and continue the journey on our own.
Parents’ loving care is very crucial in preparing us to get on our own journey, independent of them. Because parents cannot be with us throughout our lives, unless we tragically terminate our journey ahead of them.
At that time I didn’t think it wise to continue companying children in their life’s journey as long as we live, even after they become adults. I thought a successful parenting meant bringing up independent individuals, that is, children eventually stands on their own without the crutch of the parents. Now, I think it would be nice if parents and children can be together, even after they become independent.
Below is the note that I jotted down on a notepad for my 2008 trip home. I keyed it into computer before the note was discarded.
11/13/2008, left for airport around 6 AM, although the flight departed a little after 9 AM. The first transfer was made in Detroit. From there I got on the plane for Tyokyo Narita airport. Three Chinese youngsters were sitting by my side. They must be students at some college, yet they looked so young and I couldn’t believe they were heading for school at this time of the semester. So I couldn’t help asking them. It turned out that they were seniors at Qing Hua University, having been to MIT for a biology-information technology competition. Now they were heading back home.
I learned from them that the Qing Hua team won bronze while MIT got the gold. They were young, intelligent and eager to learn, which reminded me of something in the past. At first, they thought I was a visiting parent, going back home.
On the long flight home, I watched some movies, which reminded me of my children. I told myself after I got back home I must find some time to watch movie with my children. It’s been a long time since we did that.
11/17/2008, I went to a local hospital to have a physical checkup
11/18, I went to Tong Ren hospital with my mother
11/19, I went to have lunch with the Dong sisters at Xi Dan
11/19-20, my mother went to Guang An Men
11/21, I went to Hao Yu’s apartment
11/22, I went to Xi Dan Bookstore to buy some simplified French novels
11/23, I learned from the Skype that there was a fight between my daughter and another youngster at my house in the U.S.
11/27, I left for the U.S.
I heard some parents complain that children take up too much of their time, that they don’t have the time for themselves, that they demand their right for their own entertainment.
I would not condemn this as being selfish. I would only have this much to say to these parents –
When the children are off for college or out of your home, when your nest is empty, you will have all the time for yourself. Nobody will fight for your time. Happy!
For your own happiness and for that of your children, we parents should always keep in mind that children are with us for only 18 years. And these 18 years flash past very fast. Value the moment when the children are with you. Enrich both your life and your children’s by spending as much time with them as you possibly can.
I am glad I have done that. And because of this, my life has been tremendously enriched by them. This much I cherish dearly.
My sister once told me this, and I totally agree with her.
On the way to Boston when we sent my son in 2007, I had painfully realized that once the children left home, they would no longer view their parents’ house as their permanent home like before.
Any time they come back, it’s always a short visit. That long term stay, month after month, with their parents is gone forever. This is just a sad unavoidable reality. It hurts me to think about this. The thought came back when we sent my daughter away, even though I have tried to avoid the thought.
I figure the only way to stay upbeat and healthy is to forget the past and focus on the future. Otherwise, there is no end of misery. And physically and emotionally, the aging parents cannot afford such misery.
One upbeat event that I need to remind myself is: ever since my daughter left for college, my son often calls home, more frequently than before and my daughter Skypes with us at least once a week. A huge comfort to me. I should be content now.
In the past I earnestly looked forward to weekend. Not so any more.
I seldom go out on weekend now. Going out to stores often reminds me of the time when I went out with my daughter. That will surely trigger the sad feeling.
So I prefer staying home, reading and preparing for the test that I intend to take. Do some cleaning around the house when I am tired of reading. Good thing I am seldom tired of reading.
Last Saturday afternoon, I drove a Chinese neighbor of ours to stores. She is going back to China this coming Thursday, first time in 16 years. She wanted me to take her to places where she would do some shopping for the trip. A whole afternoon was thus passed.
“It’s never going to be the same again.”
A friend of mine whose daughter left for college wrote this to me. Very much true. It is so for both sides: the children and the parents.
I told my daughter on the way to the east coast that she was leaving behind her childhood, childhood friends, and the first home with her aging parents that has provided her secure growing environment, and symbolically on the way to be independent. This is her first step to be out on her own without our protection and supervision. We cannot be there for her all the time, so she needs to learn to make her own judgment and decisions.
It’s not going to be easy initially for both sides. It is more like we lose something while they lose and gain something. Very sad process to the parents, indeed.
But in the long run, what is good for the children is also good for the parents. That is, in the end, both parents and children should gain in this forward moving process. It is so easy to figure this out on the paper. The key is parents got to live through the process without losing sight of the large picture.
I read this piece on 8/22, right after we got off from our monthly meeting. 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert The Huffington Post, by Carolyn Gregoire Posted: 08/20/2013. Surprisingly, most of them describe me perfectly, with few exceptions.
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.
2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.
3. You often feel alone in a crowd. [not me]
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony. [not me]
5. You’ve been called “too intense.”
6. You’re easily distracted. [not me]
7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert. [not me]
12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.
13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.
14. You screen all your calls — even from friends. [not me]
15. You notice details that others don’t. [not me]
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.
17. You have low blood pressure.
18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.
19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings.
20. You look at the big picture.
21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”
22. You’re a writer.
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.
When I cleaned the house recently, I dug out many Time magazines. I read one article from July 29, 2013 issue, “The Power of the Bilingual Brain: Learning a second language can produce a nimble mind” by Jeffrey Kluger. Here are some quotes from the article.
“Research is increasingly showing that the brains of people who know two or more languages are different from those who know just one–and those differences are all for the better. Multi-lingual people, studies shows, are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas.”
“They work faster and expend less energy doing so, and as they age, they retain their cognitive faculties longer, delaying the onset of dementia and even full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.”
“A bilingual brain is not necessarily a smarter brain, but it is proving to be a more flexible, more resourceful one.”
‘Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21th century.’
“That exceedingly early start on language only accelerate as it goes along. …the amount of time they spent looking before they got bored and looked away—that indicated their interest and recognition. From 4 to 6 months of age, babies from both monolingual English homes and bilingual French-English homes could tell the difference. But by 8 months, the monolinguals drop out of the race, and only the bilinguals could manage the task.”
For better result, read the article in its entirety.
On Monday, 9/16, a colleague of mine was talking about downsizing her house, selling her big house and moving into a smaller one. It would be easy to maintain, as she explained. I told her I was thinking of the same thing, that is, selling the house.
If both of my children choose east coastal cities, it makes no sense for us to stay here. If we live close by, it will make it easy for them to visit us, too. As it is now, the only time my son and his girlfriend come over is during Christmas holiday. I start looking forward to this day since the beginning of the year!
This is not just a thought. I do plan to move out of this area by the time my daughter graduates from college.
So much needs to be done before that.
When I was in New York in late August, my son told me an unfortunate event of a friend of his.
The boy was also from MIT. A very smart and successful one, he made 6-digit annual salary for a finance company. He quit his job to start his own company. Prior to that, he emailed to himself the file with complicated algorithm codes. To be sure, these codes are company’s property. He knew it was not a proper thing to do, so he changed the name of the file before emailing.
Now, he is facing charges of theft and could face a few years’ jail sentence.
While my son was feeling sad for his friend, I thought of these words from The Dream of Red Chamber.
Do the right thing, as this is the only way to be happy, even though you might not be that rich.
My daughter likes this Tzatziki yogurt dip very much. We got a cup like this from costco. Right after we got back, the sight of this reminds me of my daughter. I found it hard to finish what is left in the cup.
After a week and after it was all comsumed, I washed the cup and have decided to keep it, even though the sight of it still makes me sad. For some reason, I am not ready for throwing it out yet.
On 9/3, I went to the post office directly from work to send graphic calculator to my daughter. She forgot to take it with her and now she needs it for her class there.
On 9/9, I went to the post office again after work to ship out “Microsoft Office 2011 for student for mac” to someone who bought it from me on eBay. I bought this for my daughter. She doesn’t seem to need it. Since it has not been used, I sold it on ebay to recoup some cost.
On both day, I drove past my daughter’s school on the way back from post office. The road looks so familiar as I have been there for so many times throughout the past decade since 2003, painfully reminding me of the time when I picked up my children from this school.
On Monday 9/9, we had pizza from Ciao Down Pizzeria for lunch at our office, kindly provided by two doctors there. The office always gets something like this for us. In the past, I always brought home some to share with my daughter. I remember how she delighted herself over the goodies I brought back.
Yesterday, 9/15, Saturday afternoon, I went to Natural Grocers store on Metcalf and 91st street. I wasn’t able to get the kind of chia seeds when I went to Whole Foods store last Thursday. I remember my daughter got chia seeds here.
My mind was instantly flooded with memories of the past when I was approaching Natural Grocers store. That location used to be Border’s bookstore. After the bookstore closed over two years ago, this grocery store moved in.
Border’s bookstore used to be our family’s favorite place on weekend or in the evening ever since we moved into the area in 1998. I remember vividly when I took both of my children to Border’s, one was 9 years old, the other 3. They could spend hours reading there.
After Border’s closed, I started taking my daughter to Barnes and Noble’s bookstore. No matter where we live, local bookstores are always the place we visit most and spend most time in.
Now that both of my children are not home, I think of those moments but dare not going there again, even on weekend.
The things that I try to avoid at home is going through old stuffs. But this is something I cannot avoid.
First of all, I have promised my daughter that I would clean the house, not her room though, so that she will see a clean house when she gets back. I would like to keep this promise.
Secondly, I cannot read all the time when I am home. Like last weekend, it was rather hot, which forced me to stay inside as much as I could. I read about materials for the certification exam. After an hour or so, I felt tired and decided to take a break.
Naturally, I would use the break to clean the house. But going through old stuffs once again put me in a bad mood. So, I decided to wait till my daughter comes back and we will deal with it together.
For the first time in 24 years, I celebrate my birthday without my children around. Still, to keep up the spirit, I say to myself in front of the mirror,
As a gift to myself, yesterday I went to Whole Foods store to pamper myself with a bag of chia seeds and flax seeds to continue the healthy eating practice that my daughter started this past summer.
My best birthday gift came when son called right after he got up this morning, wishing me happy birthday. And my daughter called shortly after that, another birthday wish. This set me in a bright festive mood in a huge way.
It still seems like a dream. Two weeks ago, on the Thursday morning of 8/29, that we said goodbye to my daughter. For some reason, I still think it so unreal and unbelievable that she is so far away.
I always try to think of some errand to run on my way home as I find it difficult to step into an empty house all by myself.
On Monday I went to post office and then to Walmart to get a giftcard for a neighbor. On Tuesday I went to dentist for dental cleaning. Yesterday, I went to Bank of America ATM to try my daughter’s debit card. But still, like yesterday, I felt overwhelmed with sadness when I got back home. The sadness continued till after dinner.
It will take time to get better but time seems standing still…
This Labor Day saw the celebration of my son’s 4th anniversary of their relationship. As always, I sent them good wishes and blessing. The following is what I sent to my son.
Both of you are rather capable and independent financially. There must be many factors that draw you two together. I want to tell you to always remember that, in the long run, the ultimate factor that keeps the two of you together is you make each other feel good when you are together.
There are something that will surely upset your partner and you should avoid:
When your partner says blue is a good color, don’t say “That’s not necessarily good. Red is a good one.”
When your partner shares something with you, don’t say “I’ve known it already.” Simply say “Thank you.”
Don’t continue your competitive spirit at home. At home, give-in is winning.
Don’t let out steam at home. If you are a coward outside, be the same way at home.
Never let a word of disrespect escape your mouth, no matter how upset you are.
If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.
A friend of mine called me last weekend. She has three children, the first one being the same age as my daughter. She also went to a small east coastal liberal arts college. Because this is the first one going away, she didn’t sound like enduring a huge pain of separation. I might be wrong, though.
After chatting with her on issues related to college life and beyond, like college courses, majors and activities, I began to focus more on what my daughter has to go through, which is equally scary, and which is too important to ignore.
She has a long way to go in her career development. This is just a beginning. Yet, this four-year beginning can pass faster than we expect. Both parents and the children have a lot more important things to focus on than dwelling on the pain of separation. I should know better than this.
8/29 Thur left my daughter’s school
8/30 Fri arrived at KS
8/31-9/2, long weekend with the Labor Day Monday off
9/3 is the first day that I went back to work. The day passed peacefully as I was too busy to think of anything else, having a lot of work piled up for me while I was out.
9/9, today, is the second week that I go back to week after that trip.
So far, the hardest part of the day is getting back home, especially as I entered an empty, quiet, clean house, all by myself. I don’t want this quietness. I don’t want this clean house. I want the messy one, full of life, where I can hear talks and laughing. I want to hear my baby calling me. I want my baby back.
In the past, I looked forward to going back, to seeing my daughter either at home or at school, thinking about her. Now, I’d rather stay in the office.
My daughter walked with me a lot this summer. She insisted on getting up at 5:30am. We normally walked for a little over 30 minutes, about 2 miles. This was normally a good occasion for walk and chat.
It was not hot when we went out so early, almost before sunrise. In fact, most of the time, it was comfortably cool. Each time, on our way back, we were so glad that we got up early and had our outdoor exercise before it was too hot to go out.
I miss these walks with her.
During my recent frenzy cleaning drive, I dug up many hand-written index cards that I once wrote when my son was small. One of them has this.
It goes like this.
We all have two treasures: hands and brain.
With our hands, we can make things.
With our brain, we can think.
On the ond hand, we cannot do a good job of making stuffs if we only use our hands without using our brain; on the other hand, we cannot accomplish everything if we only use our brain without our hands.
Only by using both hands and brain can we achieve whatever we want to.
With the leaving of my daughter, I see myself no longer play the parenting role. And looking ahead, what’s the use of keeping parenting books and reading materials. It especially hurts when I see materials like this one that I used when my son was a little boy. I have chosen to throw away anything of this type so that I can focus on the future.
Last weekend, someone called about collection for donated clothes and other stuffs in the morning of the coming Saturday. Immediately I thought of many clothes that my daughter left behind. I know she would have nothing to do with them when she gets back as she already stopped wearing most of them even when she was home.
Going through old stuffs has never been a pleasant experience for me ever since I was in primary school. I remember clearly how sad and dreadful I felt when I opened school notes of last semester or last school year’s. I always put them away and avoid ever touching them.
The old stuff always leaves me with a sad sentiment because I have long been aware of the fact that the past will never get back. At that time I couldn’t explain why I felt sad about things long gone, but that sentiment has never left me.
I don’t even want to go through my own old stuffs as they always remind me of the past, let alone those of my daughter’s. That’s why I kept delaying digging through hers.
I used to tell myself and some of my friends that I would follow my children to wherever they are. But things are not as easy as I wish. First went my son, now and finally, my daughter. I can’t confront the fact that for the first time in 24 years, I will have to live out days and days without my children around.
When I talked to my sister over Skype, I told her to come with her son if she planned to send her son over. “You don’t want to go through this separation.”
I wish I had this freedom. I wish I could go wherever I want.
The ancient Chinese poem does not help, even though modern technologies have vastly shortened the distance. We can skype, but I don’t want my daughter to see how sad I am now. I don’t trust myself to sound like a normal person over the phone. I would rather text her. I would rather live through this period alone.
When I was cleaning the house, I found a pocket calendar of 2011, with hand-written events. As I went through each month, I remember vividly how I drove her to these lessons. It was only two years ago. My life was happily centered around her.
2/4/2011, skating one hour, payment $120.
2/12, art class
2/17, piano lesson, payment $80
2/18, skating 30 minutes
3/3, piano lesson
3/4, skating lesson one hour
3/5, art lesson
3/12, art lesson
3/17, piano lesson
3/18, skating one hour
3/19, art lesson
3/25, skating 30 minutes
3/26, art lesson, paid $90
4/7, piano lesson
4/14, piano lesson
4/29, skating one hour
5/13, skating one hour
5/14, art lesson
5/28, art lesson
6/2, go to Boston for my son’s graduation
6/4, leave Boston
6/9, piano lesson
6/11, art lesson, paid $60
9/11, art lesson This is the last event on the calendar.
I know my daughter went to a summer camp on 6/25/2011. This was the first time she left home.
How I wish I could go back to these events with my daughter!
On 9/1/2013, I spent nearly the whole morning cleaning the two desks of my daughter’s, both on and under the desks.
Drawing pencils, color pencils, water-color pencils, mechanical pencils, other special pencils, special pens that she particularly likes, drawing brushes, and other drawing tools, … all mixed up and scattered everywhere… Plus, she doesn’t like throwing away stuffs, so all things that are still useful and not useful are piled up on the desks.
I grouped them according to their kind, placing them in their separate pen boxes or pen holders or mooncake boxes or bags. I threw away pieces of paper and notes here and there.
It was rather painful going through her stuffs. I would like to stop this torturing process, but it’s still my job, no matter when I do it. I might get it over as early as possible. It was nearly 1 pm when the desks look decently clean, though my sense of accomplishment has come with its price.
I took a picture to mark the experience.
After we got back from my daughter’s college, I was beside myself with sadness.
I knew I had things to do, tasks to fulfil, promises to keep, errands to run, books I once told myself I would read when I have the time. But I wasn’t able to focus on any of them. With stuffs lying around the house, I went berserk cleaning up the room, throwing away magazines and books that I normally keep.
Since my daughter is not around, I feel it useless to keep many things that I used to keep for her or for parenting or some of the pursuits that I was interested before but have lost interest now, like coupons for art and crafts at Jo-Ann’s, American Eagle Outfitters coupons, high school test preparation books, parenting books, printouts and books on topics that both my daughter and I are interested, cookbooks and health tips that I would use for my daughter, etc.
When I opened my handbag, I saw small bag of kleenex tissues and small mirror that I knew my daughter would use and always save for her. What’s the use of keeping them now?
I picked up a book that I planned to read, Helping Your College Student Succeed: The Parent’s Crash Course in Career Planning. Not in the mood to read right now. I didn’t throw it away, because, sad as I am now, I still care about my daughter’s college success.
No stop now…
Next Page »
Life seems upside down right after I got back from last month’s trip to my daughter’s college. Nothing makes sense now. Day and night, I keep asking why and knows no answer.
I miss my daughter everywhere I go at home as everything reminds me of her.
I miss her when I open the door and see her books and pens laying on the stairs.
I miss her more when she used to call mom as soon as she heard me entering the door.
I miss her when I open refrigerator and see the foods that she likes and I bought just for her.
I miss her when I see her table where she used to sit and now the table is still there but not her.
I miss her when I go to bathroom and see her stuffs there and think of the time when we had endless laughing.
I miss her when I go to laundry room and see her clothes left there.
I miss her when I get her Time magazine from the mail. Now it’s dreadful taking up her magazine.
I miss her when I take her clothes to her room and I can still vividly see her lying in bed or sitting among her stuffs, like before.
I miss her when I sit by dinner table and remember how she prepared her food. Now food tastes tasteless and hard to swallow when she is not sitting in her chair.
I miss her when I think of checking library on-hold books, as if it makes no sense for me to go to library now that she is not around. I am sure I will not go to bookstore any more.
Everything, everywhere, no matter where I turn, there is no escape, the teacup she used, apples and apple cakes that she made, the fish oil that she took, the nuts she ate, the flowers she loved, the stones we carried together in our backyard…
I miss her when I drive the car and think of the numerous times when we drove out together.
I miss her and even dare not go out walking because I cannot bear the thought when, only last week, we went out early in the morning and now she is 1,400 miles away.
I wish her doing well in her new environment. I hope she is not homesick.
For me, I hope time will heal me, just as it did when my son first left home 6 years ago.