What A Dead Goose Taught Me

It’s the last day of the year.
And like most people, I tend to get a little reflective as the year ends. It’s a good time to take stock of what I’ve been up to, for the past 12 months.
It’s also time to look forward and be excited about what’s arriving in the next 12 months.
Do you get a little misty-eyed like me too?
Call it my Piscean tendencies but I do love looking back and hugging the memories of the year that had just whittled by.
I always believe that if you’re alive and kicking, you should always contemplate a little and be aware of your actions of the past year. I love doing this because by nicely wrapping up the year, I can be proud of my little achievements and milestones before I head on out to create even bigger, better ones in 2012.
I would feel incomplete and naked if I entered 2012 without doing so. Because as someone said, a life well lived is a life worth journalling about. As you can see, I’m all for shutting chapters properly. (You should see my stack of journals over the years. They’re full of my ups and downs in life. Sometimes I get worried. What if these get into the wrong hands and people make up perceptions of me based on my emotional outpouring?)
As I near my 40s (I still can’t believe I have 2 years before the BIG Four O), I get even more pensive and reflective. Perhaps mortality is getting its foot into my thoughts. Perhaps I need to really get going on the bucket list.
What a dead goose taught me
My “siew ngor peih” (roast goose drumstick) story comes to mind.
Many years ago, Nic and I were in Petaling Street where we decided to buy some “siew ngor” or roast goose. The famous Petaling Street stall doesn’t sell a quarter goose or quarter duck so we had to buy half a goose.
We took this prized half back to our hotel room to savour.
The best in this case was the drumstick portion of the roast goose (after all it was half a goose so it came with its drumstick intact). I grew up with this idea that you always save the best for last.
I told Nic that I must have the best for last so we ate the rest of the roast goose.
Unfortunately it was half a goose – actually it was a LOT of GOOSE so by the time we finished 80% of the fowl, we were both completely full. We couldn’t even bear to look at the fat, juicy drumstick.
Maybe we leave it for tomorrow? I ventured. I was already too full to move, what more eat more goose.
We both decided that was the best plan.
Which turned out to be such a crappy plan because the next morning, I woke up with a slight fever and a sore throat. Which meant, I couldn’t eat the best bit of the goose – its drumstick!
Nic who is strong as a horse didn’t have any sickly symptoms from gorging on goose the day before. He then ate the roast drumstick as his breakfast!
It was pure agony for me (also, being sick made it worse!).
So what exactly did a dead goose teach me?
It taught me that if I really enjoyed/appreciated something, I might as well enjoy and appreciate it at the beginning instead of waiting till the end. The good stuff may be worth waiting for but there’s no cardinal rule saying you HAVE to antagonize yourself with the wait (which can be endless sometimes).
I know most people won’t philosphise over some dead poultry and concoct some rule for living.
But I take life lessons pretty damn seriously so that roast goose drumstick taught me that if I want to live life or do things I wanna do, there’s no better time than right here, right now.
Don’t ever wait for tomorrow for who knows, it may never arrive. (Mortality is no laughing matter these days. I’ve heard of 30-somethings get aneurysm, for god’s sakes.)
I’m not asking you to live with abandon but to live with enthusiasm and take each day as a starting point for the dreams of your life.
Resolutions, promises, commitments – whatever you choose to call it, in the end it is the story of your life. How do you want your life story to be recounted?
Happy New Year to all of you who read this blog. Thank you for reading!

Voltaire quote
Wonderfully sound advice from Voltaire. Taken at MUJI Hong Kong during our trip there in March this year

Catching My Breath

I have been missing. I know. I have been terribly guilty of going AWOL.
The past few weeks have been busy times for me and Nic and the studio. We’ve been involved in so many new things – new clients, consulting work, etc. that it’s been a whirlwind. Who says the year winds down as it nears Christmas? It’s literally revving up for us.
I’ve barely had time to catch my breath but I really look forward to the remaining few weeks of 2010. I’m involved in some personal projects which I’m really excited about and that is always a great reason to look forward to 2011.
This year I’ve gone travelling quite a bit – HK, India and Singapore.
Muz asked me if I am going away for a year-end trip. Nope. I am staying put. I need a break from packing and unpacking. Even Margaret hates it when we go away – she goes off to Dr Sarah for boarding and boy, does she hate being cooped up in a cage after all the freedom she gets in the house.
I was thinking of Korea next year but maybe not. Perhaps we’ll be back in HK before we know it. There’s still so much of HK we haven’t explored. In many ways, travel for us is always about business research and discovery, not so much the touristy stuff. How is business done? Why does a concept or system work in that country? All travel does is stimulate more of our brain juices.
Over the past year, Nic and I have been thinking really hard about where we want to go with this business. While we are tugged in so many directions, I know we can do really well by focusing on what we are good at.
This also means we are moving higher up the value chain. It is great for us in terms of income and satisfaction. It means we are growing up and growing out of a phase. Which for me is truly an exciting time ahead as we challenge ourselves to grow to the next phase of our business. Our roles will change for sure. I remember those days when Nic used to tell me that he’d be happy as a successful freelancer, working from home.
It’s funny to think that we both used to work from home. I never worked in my pajamas but I loved and loathed the work-at-home ethic. I loved the idea of not having to submit to regular work hours but I also loathed that I never had to submit to regular work hours – the work hours just spilled into the rest of my life. Working with Nic meant seeing him all the time. We saw each other at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We shared the same home office. It could grate on my nerves sometimes. Luckily we now have an office we can escape to. When he goes to the office proper, I am in the home office. We get space this way. Odd but it works.
My WomenBizSENSE group is also coming along nicely now – we just capped the year with a very sentimental Xmas Party at the Handicapped Children’s Centre. I am reminded how beautiful it is to contribute to a child’s smile. This year we learnt from the events we undertook and our aim is to get better at this each year. Next year marks our 5th year anniversary for WomenBizSENSE. That’s truly a milestone I am proud of.
But the Xmas Party also reminded me of love and loss – there’s a little boy who won’t have that many days to live. And yet he looks so happy and carefree. The bleakness of this truth hurts and though I don’t know his parents, I somehow feel that it’s never right to lose a child with today’s medical advancements.
Which brings me back to my blog.
I’ve so many posts I wanted to write; some are half-written. My ideas and thoughts flow faster than my fingers can fly over the keyboard. And time, yes, time.
What perfect irony that Time eludes me.
It’s really odd that we all seek more time. But a friend taught me to value my own time. She said that we all have a fair amount of time. And we can’t keep saying yes to everything because these yes-es will rob us of that precious time.
She’s right.
And so these days, if the meetings are a time-waster, I do not attend. If the people aren’t the ones I want to meet, I do not go either. I want to only be with people I like and enjoy.
And I am unapologetic about it. I guess age helps too.
If I am not my own woman at 36 (going on 37), who am I going to be? So I can be brutally honest sometimes if people demand too much of my time. And don’t even talk about weekends either. I need to take back my time if I am to honour and respect myself.
Don’t be surprised that the next time you visit, there’s a new look for this blog. I am a bit tired of this old design too.
I promise not to go too AWOL…. I have way too many stories to blog about!
What do you intend to do more of, and less of, next year? I think resolutions are overrated anyway but I would love to hear what you think of this year. Did you get what you want? Did you learn some lessons of the heart?