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.