“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
— The Buddha
We’ve all been stuck between a hot burning flame and a black hole when it comes to making decisions. At some point, after all that struggle, we’d just look to our instincts.
I would have this compunction or fixed attitude of thinking about my values when I make my decisions and choices. Sometimes, I feel like I constantly need my moral compass to guide my decision-making. This got me question if morals are flexible.
For example, English is my second language. As I’m not a native speaker nor have I ever taken any special English language class, I never take a word lightly. I grew up understanding that is important to have my own opinions. But it is also important to properly use a word so people are not offended when I speak.
Sometimes I still filter myself and make sure that I know the meaning of the words I tend to somewhat exploit in my speech. After all, today, we live in a world where sometimes we don’t realise how hurtful our words can be.
Just a few days ago, I was doing some personal self-evaluation. I’ve always known my flaws, my weaknesses, and my strengths in terms of work. As a person, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a girlfriend.
My mom is 52 this year. All her life, she had to overcome impossible obstacles, but she has astonishing exciting and success stories. One of our recent conversations got me thinking a lot about her willpower. I wish I could disclose and share it here but that’s too personal.
At the same time, I couldn’t help but think how I’m so much like her. And that I have to be stronger than her for her.
It’s beyond doubt that it’s because of her, I became the first person in my family to go to a university and complete my degree with honours. She had to mortgage her jewelry. That was one decision she didn’t hesitate making.
From an early age, I knew my family was different than most. At the age of 2, when we were still staying at kampung with my paternal grandparents, I could feel that our household was hostile and unhappy. This made me realised I had the ability to absorb people’s emotions very easily – probably the moment I was born. And I had my first near-death experience when I was barely 1 year old. My eyes turned white. It scared my mom to death.
At 3, we moved out. We moved to Kuching and my mom was so much happier. That hostel room we stayed in was her happy space. Although at that time, she was a young adult juggling her problems, work and being there for my dad and me at all times. Even though she’s tired, she still managed to go about the day with a smile on her face.
My mom never sugar-coated life, and she never makes promises. She had me when she was 23. Since I was born, she had no choice but always to have faith and believe in me.
Just watching her, observing her, feeling helpless that I couldn’t help her when I was younger, in some such way instilled practical life and surviving skills within me (I was also driven by anger and disappointment).
I owe all of my accomplishments to my mom. Of course, she had a dream for me. I didn’t turn out the way she planned but she’s cool with whatever now. I turned out decent – very ambitious, but not greedy. I mean, no matter what we do, what mistakes we make, what we say, or how much we upset our moms, their love for us will never peter out. It will always be pure and unconditional.
Watching my mom taught me how to work for what I want, rather than expect it for free. I learned that considering the long-term outcome over the short-term is important in decision-making.
At times I feel like she would unknowingly set unrealistic expectations for my sisters. But I know where she’s coming from and all she want is the best for everyone. She would push everyone to do their best. But she does it her way, which may not be in favour of some people. Moms, huh. Let’s face it, they put up with our crap.
My mom is a very simple person. Pride, arrogance, greed and selfishness are rampant today. She doesn’t practice all that. It’s not organic to her. And they are definitely not the right ingredients for happiness.
Every day, there are terrific opportunities to be appreciative and thankful. To humble ourselves which we may overlook. Of course, when shit happens, we can choose to be bitter and resentful. But that’s just really tiring. The best decision is to let it go or start shooting ammo.
My mom is appreciative and grateful. That’s how she go about her day and that’s what makes her different. She is truly an inspiration. At least for me. That one conversation somewhat opened her eyes to look at things from a different perspective.
My mom will never know this blog exist. She pays no heed to technology and I pay very little. But I know she knows that I’m here, there, anywhere and everywhere. And right now, I’m about to make a decision that she would probably not like in the beginning but will be fine with later.
PS: Some people are born appreciative, thankful and humble, while the rest just luxuriate in flattering themselves. I don’t have a servant’s heart. I care for people and I’d put them first. But at the end of the day, I’d die only for my family and friends who truly matters.