Thursday, February 28, 2013


My friend just shared this on Facebook
and the timing is perfect.

I had to put this up as a reminder.

Pic from FB

One year already!

I made it through the first year!

Pic from here

Just wanted to mark the end of my first year of being retired.  It's been a fantastic journey of adapting and adjusting to a life without rules and regulations.

Did I miss any of it?  Yes.  To say that I don't miss anything would not be truthful.

Do I want it back?  No.  To say that I do would mean I retired too soon.

So I'm right where I want to be.  

I'm looking forward to the next 365 days of new challenges and opportunities to be even better than I am.  

Tomorrow I'll write more about my thoughts and what's going on in my mind.  Stay tuned!!!!

God bless you!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rushing, Resting and Retiring

Pic from FB

Rushing through life is what we do automatically.  We wake up and immediately we get on the treadmill of life and we don't stop until we get to bed.  We do it unconsciously and think that this is real life.

I did that automatically for years.  Well, there were moments when I didn't feel the rush.  It would have been the days when I wasn't well and I was stuck at home, in bed and resting.  Isn't it amazing how our bodies can force us to take a break when we need it?

More than ever before, I am now grateful that I have learnt to slow down.  Before, I had the notion that if I slowed down, I would lose the momentum.  I was afraid that if I didn't keep on rushing, I'd reach the end of the day with unfinished tasks.  So this spurred me on when I was studying and then working.  Yet, I found that the more I did, the more there was to be done.

I realise that it is not a good thing to always be rushing around.  What did I hope to accomplish?  Was I expecting approval from those around me?

I guess it's easier for me to say all this now that I am retired but I really wish I had known earlier.

Many people want to have the best out of life and rush about hoping to get it.

The funny thing is that if you want to get the best out of life, you have to slow down.  Now I get it!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Going Green

Pic from FB
Okay, the title is misleading.  This is nothing about being environmentally friendly.  

It's about people who weren't happy and went looking for it elsewhere.  When I saw this picture, I wondered about myself.  

Am I now on the other side because I was unhappy?  I don't remember being unhappy.  I think this doesn't apply to me because 'the other side' for me was where my heart belonged.

It was not easy to make a decision to move.  The grass was green where I was but I think it had to do with me.  Now that I am here, the grass is also green and it also has to do with me.

There lies the secret to where the grass is greener.  It's where YOU give it your love and attention.  

Some left their homeland for the children's education and I think I understand that.  

Some left for political reason and unwillingly, I would imagine.

Some really just wanted a change.  It's not a totally bad thing either.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of reasons why people move away.  Yet, the longing for home remains unabated.  No matter how much they rant and rave about their new location, the ties can't be cut completely.

Rarely do we see or hear of anyone who moves on and never looks back.  Everybody looks back, even if it's once in a while.  The only time that they don't do this, is when it was all bad.  But life is never really all bad.  The good times in our memory usually override the bad ones.  At least, this is true in my case.

Everyone tells me I have a good memory.  I think I do.  Of late, I realise that I am consciously keeping only good memories.  Letting go and forgetting about the sad or bad ones is an ongoing challenge.

Some people say they left for greener pastures.  Really?  Why didn't they go for the greenest pasture?  Green, greener and greenest are all relative, in this case.

Besides, I have a feeling that some people who moved on to greener pastures are green with envy at those who stayed.

And before you clobber me, you shouldn't feel anything if you left your homeland, not for greener pastures but for the right reason.

That's what I did.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wander and wonder...

Pic from FB

Since I arrived to Singapore almost a year ago, I have found myself in the unique position of feeling at home but in unfamiliar territory.  Other than the area where I live in, all other places have made me feel like a tourist.  Too often, I couldn't find my bearing and didn't know which way to go.  I wandered around but didn't get lost.  I enjoyed it.  Getting lost, I mean.  

However, I am slowly beginning to recognise more landmarks and roads.  Even now, it's still like being in a foreign land.  Well, I am in a foreign land.  Having lived all of my life in Kuala Lumpur where I know most of the roads and lanes, it has been a strange feeling to not know where I am and whether I should go left or right.  While it was disconcerting at the beginning, I have learnt to embrace this uncertainty. 

There is something to be said about being anonymous in a crowd.  I know many like to be known and enjoy being famous but going around incognito gives one a feeling of being 'free'.  I don't really know how to explain this and maybe there isn't any need to. 

Anyway, the one thing that I've appreciated about Singapore is the excellent transport service.  With a little map, one can move around without any difficulty.  

I live almost in the middle of all the MRT lines, between the Braddell (Red Line) and Caldecott (Yellow Line) Stations.  So I have the option to pick whichever will afford me the shortest route.  

Pic from here
Stephen has taught me that getting from one destination to another (via one MRT line) is not necessarily the fastest route.  Now I know  that it may be faster to go from point A to point B and then to point C.   Travel time can be cut in half.  Well, he's a seasoned traveller both here and overseas.  Me?  I've lived almost all my life in one city and I had a car for the last 30 years!  I am learning, though.

The advantage of living in the heart of Singapore is the convenience of getting anywhere so easily. Technically, I live in Toa Payoh but physically, I am nearer to the Braddell station.  This only means that  I am just four stations (8 minutes) away from the hustle and bustle of the famous Orchard Road.  If I ever miss the noise and crowd, I can get my fix easily.  Actually I don't even have to travel so far because just one station (2 minutes) away and I can get everything I want or need at Toa Payoh.
Pic from Wikipedia (Red area shows Toa Payoh)

I didn't realise that I have enjoyed wandering around.  When I first arrived to Singapore, I put it on my bucket list that I would visit each station, at least once, and go do a walkabout.  I believe that there are over a hundred stations (MRT and LRT).  I haven't yet been to all of them.  There is just too much to do and see.  It's still on my list of things to finish in 2013.  

Pic from Wikipedia
Meanwhile, I wander and I wonder.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Milestone in my Family

Pic from

There are four us: three sisters and one brother that make up our family.  I acknowledge that I also have two half brothers, but that's another story. 

For most of my childhood, my father was away working in Singapore, Australia and Vietnam.  Hence, it was my mom who took care of us till we were teens.  By that time, we had all already found our own paths.  For this reason, we were rarely together.  

Our early twenties saw us spread all over.  One in Hong Kong, the other in Penang, leaving the two younger ones in different parts of Kuala Lumpur. All of us were married before the twenties were over.

Our thirties were tumultuous.  All of us went through life-changing moments.  If I remember correctly, two were in Penang and two were in Kuala Lumpur.  Despite not meeting often, we stayed close to each other.  We weren't physically in touch but we remained very much involved in each other's lives.

The forties were the years of settling down.  My sisters were up north in Penang and my brother was mostly down south in Johore.  Yet we still stayed connected, thanks to modern technology.  All of us began finding our niches and digging our feet in for the long haul.  Our children were growing up and we watch them interacting with each other as we had done before.  

The fifties!  My sisters are in Penang, my brother is back in Kuala Lumpur and I am in Singapore. It's a milestone because the baby of our family has finally crossed this line on 10 February (the first day of the Lunar New Year) and he now joins his three sisters in the 50s club.  It had always been his joke to call us the "oldies" and claiming he was still in his forties.  Now he's one of us.  *smug look on my face*.

I wonder what it is like for my mom, who will be seventy-eight this year; to see all her children reach this half a century age.  What does she feel? I must ask her.  

I did a quick calculation to see how old I would be when my son turns fifty.  Heh heh heh! It seems to be in the distant future.  However, time flies and just as these last years have gone by so quickly, I know that soon that day will be here.  I must remember to make each day count. 

It is a nice feeling to know that all four of us have reached the mark of half a centenarian.  It makes me happy but a little sad when I think of all those who have lost a sibling.

I spoke to my brother this morning and I plan to call my sisters later.  I am sure it will be a nice surprise.  I just want to let them know that it is a blessing to be in each other's lives. 

I know this post is a little late but with Chinese New Year and all the other stuff going on, I didn't get to finish it.  

Unknowingly, we ushered in the Lunar New year, with a milestone, for this family who are ALL over 50!  Now that we know, it'll make 2013 special for all of us.

For my sisters (Esmeralda and Lourdez) and my brother (Antonio), I send them loving wishes for a year to be filled to abundance with all that their heart desires.

Monday, February 04, 2013

"Why?" or "So lucky"

Pic from FB

When I meet someone for the first time, it's always the same reactions I get when I say that I have just retired.  It's either "Why?" or "So lucky".  

I know that I have not yet reached the age of 55, which is the age that society accepts as the right age for retirement (in Malaysia, at least).  This makes people curious.

For those who asked, "Why?", it seems strange that I would give up working when I could still earn money.

For those that said, "so lucky", it is probably a wishful projection of what they want.

In either instance, I don't know how best to respond.  Usually I smile and nod because I don't know the reasons behind their reaction.  

If I had not been working for the last 30 years, would people still consider it strange that I have retired (early).

What if I had never ever worked before?

What if I was always a housewife or homemaker?  

Would they still have that incredulous look on their faces?

Somehow I get the feeling that if one had been working and one gives it up, something is wrong.  But if one hadn't been working at all then it's all right.

There's some serious stereotyping going on here, methinks.

Why is there this unwritten rule that we have to work until the very last employable date of our life or until we drop dead?

Why is it that if you've never worked at all, no one thinks twice about you being a homemaker?  But the moment you say that you chose to retire early, they either don't get it or they think you're lucky.

We all have different paths to take.

Where should I have gone?  I've not thought about it.

I am just where I am supposed to be.