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Monday, July 18, 2005


I received an email from the National University of Singapore today, officially offering me a job to join their research team at the Department of Ophthalmology in Singapore. I don't know whether I was feeling excited or nervous or both. Sure, I expected it. But to see it in paper, and having the outlines of administrative procedures there in print...reality kinda hit home.

I could be leaving Australia soon. This could be in a matter of 2 months.

Suddenly it feels like gravity taking effect, everything accelerating in velocity. My mind started to race and burst with hundreds of ideas. Who to contact first? What arrangements need to be made? Plane tickets, accomodation, reference from the boss!

I always dreamt of jetting away, so I could face newer challenges and adventures. Yet that moment when I saw the email, I found myself questioning why I've been wanting to leave in the first place. It's not the salary, because I earn more money here. It's not improving optometric skills, because there is a wider scope of optometry working here in Australia. I would like to think that I didn't just want to go because I wanted to get away from my current life. I have it pretty good here, comfortable, familiar, friends, family...

Then I thought perhaps I want to see what's out there. Do something different. Challenge myself, make mistakes, become independent and learn. Dad shaked his head and told me the old adage, "grass is always greener on the other side". But hey, unless you get to the other side, how do you know that it's actually greener? Or not any better off?

I think I'm going to take the gamble this time. Hell, I'm only 22. I can afford to explore and learn a thing or 2. I get so many different feedbacks from people on this whole issue, how am I supposed to find out what it's really like unless I try it myself?

*****

During my lunch break today, while basking in the sunshine, an elderly lady came and sat next to me. I smiled at her, and from that I initiated a conversation that later revealed her entire life's story. I don't know how I can make people open up to me just like that, but it's cool I suppose.

She told me that she's doing VCE at the moment. Proudly she revealed her study scores for English, History and French and then went on telling me that she is doing it purely out of curiosity. "You're not going to make a career out of it?" I asked amazed, and she shook her head, "Nope, ever since I've retired I've been trying to find things to do, this is just part of my list I guess." The lady looked about 50, you can tell she had grey hair by the roots beneath the colored parts. I was further amazed when she revealed that she had 4 kids (1 died), 10 grandchildren and that she is in fact 68 years old!

The thought of going back to the stress of year 12 at the age of 68 is unthinkable. But she's doing it, out of leisure! I wish I can still retain the mental sharpness like her by the time I'm 68 (if I'm still around that is). She told me that she came from a family of 10 siblings, so her father did not send her to school. By the time she was 21 years of age, she already had 2 kids (imagine that! *shudder*). By the time she migrated to Australia, she had to struggle to find a job and feed the family. After working in the labor force all those years, her kids grew up and she was finally able to retire. "I think I did everything the other way around," she reflected, "ever since I retired, I started to live. I went travelling, I learnt how to swim and started learning again..."

I guess there is no age limit in seeking your dreams. You are as old as you think.

Now that's inspiring.

xiao ying @ 7:42 PM.

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