An unhurried journey

After a long teaching day, I left school for dinner with friends. For the first time in a long while, I did not feel compelled to hurry. I have informed fellow diners ahead of time that I would be late due to work commitments and I was near enough to the dinner venue to be able to get there fairly quickly.

Under normal circumstances (in the past) I would have taken the MRT; but for some unfathomable reason, I decided to go by bus today instead. The last time I took a bus on my own to orchard road was during my JC years. The journey was strangely familiar and new at the same time. The landscape has changed beyond recognition but the rhythm of a bus journey feels fairly much the same.

One thing about buses, you can never hurry them for these large doddering creatures have a pace of their own. In some ways, the bus journey mirrors our life journey.

Many of us make the same mistake in our younger days, seeking progression too quickly. We were often taught to work toward success and to attain success as quickly as possible. I think I took this advice a tad to seriously. The longest I ever remained in a position was 3 years and the shortest being 9 months. Each time a promotion was offered to me, I took it. I never paused to think if I truly wanted the promotion and if I was moving in a direction that was aligned to what I hope for in life. Everyone around me was always egging me on and cheering me on, with the best intentions, interpreting my drive at work for ambition. During some of the earlier years, I too made the same mistake, assuming myself to be ambitious.

Looking back during the past 14 years working in the Education Service, if there were something I wish I could have done differently, that would be learning to savour each posting. I wish I could have disciplined myself to stay a bit longer at each posting, to learn what it means to work on maintanence and to savour fruits of my labour, instead of heading off to the next posting the minute I considered my work at one place to be completed. In short, I wished I have put myself on the bus instead of a bullet train. 

In retrospect, there was really no need to hurry along this ladder of career progression because once you reach a certain position, you enter the twilight zone of job rotation till retirement (or till you choose to leave service) and you would not be able to return to junior positions again, which calls for great humility that most do not possess. Wealth, status and fame can only satisfy one up till a point and at the end of the day, only meaning and purpose can sustain one in this journey of life.

As I embark on this journey to find true meaning and purpose in life, I hope to learn this lesson in waiting well and at the same time to enjoy every moment in life, such as enjoying good food with good company. 

Chirashi Zushi @ Fukuichi Japanese Dining

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