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This year I have learned a couple of which in my opinion are the most valuable things in life…

“It’s easier to be smart than kind.” When I found out that my eldest sister must undergo another surgery, I was resolute not to help her financially. I was even forcing our parents to leave her alone, so she’d learn to be independent from us, and so she could finally sort her life out. but had I known that it would be her last surgery; that she’d be diagnosed with a progressive cancer; that she only has few precious months to live; I would have viewed her situation in a different light. I would have given her all the support that she needed. I would have been more patient. I would have been the sister that she hoped I was. I would have been kind. if I could only turn back the hands of time, I’d replace the harsh words with love and kindness.

“Don’t do something that you don’t like.” I was an emotional supermarket when I came back from my bereavement leave. I was hoping to bury myself with work just to forget all my regrets and grief, so I am not ready for change that time. But I came back and found another huge project to add on my plate. It was difficult for me to chew. I hate what I am doing. I found myself dragging myself to work to do stuff that no longer interest me. The change was overwhelming and stressful for me. One day I had an epiphany, I am too old to do things that I don’t like doing. I was considering my options. Should I resign? Every single day I try to convince myself that the situation will soon pass. And as though the stars aligned, I got an offer to work on another engineering firm. So, I left, and I got my peace back. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

“Always see the good in everything.” I’m single (literally and figuratively), I live alone, I travel out of the country almost five times in a year, and I still look young. I probably have ticked all the checkboxes for a potential Asian spy that every time I go out of the country I always got “randomly” selected for a more stringent security check. So, it didn’t come as a surprise when I got (again) “randomly” selected for a “QC” when I applied for my citizenship. I had to submit 5-inch thick of documents showing my footprint in Canada. Along with that, I had to deal with the chaos of purchasing a new property earlier in the year as well. Re-asses my financial security. Deal with another broken heart. See my sister suffer and grieve for her death. Be stressed with overwhelming work. And later move to another company. All these happened in the span of 10 months. I probably had a melt-down if I had so little fate. Every single day that I wake up, I look at how blessed I am; I am grateful despite my suffering.

“Carpe diem.” We’re still a few weeks away to a brand-new year. As much as I hope it to be as peaceful and happy as it can be, anything could happen in those remaining days. I wouldn’t label my 2018 as painful, rather it’s a strengthening phase. A cycle I had to go through to learn the most valuable lesson; seize the moment. The last time I talked to my sister, she was crying, and I can feel her pain. She was begging me to come home, but I was waiting for citizenship then. I was selfish and told her to wait for me and we would spend the Christmas together. I didn’t expect that it would be the last time I get to talk to her. Her final words resounding in my ears; to take care of her only daughter. I told her not to worry about it. She died hours after we talked. Although I know for a fact that to myself, I only make the best decisions, I also know that I could have done better. I could have seized the moment, fly home, hug her, comfort her and tell her I’m sorry. This is the possibility to live into; that it really makes a difference what we do or say. So never say or do anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing you ever say or do. Seize the moment and be the best person that you can ever be.

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