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Get up your courage

Immuno compromised, being a cancer patient, I avoid crowded places. We had lunch at Alexis Bistro, Great Eastern Mall. Far from the maddening crowd.

I ordered my favourite dish at this restaurant. Sarawak Laksa. My friend looked at the menu, hesitated for a few minutes and then she ordered the same.

I picked up where we left off in our conversation before we were interrupted by the waiter who came to take our orders.

“The question you asked me, you probably know what my answer is, or you already know the answer in your heart,” I said.

She looked worried, “But I have no idea what on earth a market research company actually does.”

My friend who recently divorced from her ex husband has never worked a day in her life.

Married straight out of college and then becoming a mother at a young age, she had decided to become a housewife. A rich one nonetheless.

After 10 years of marriage and living a privileged lifestyle, she found herself so much poorer after her divorce. Her husband had left her for his mistress.

Abandoned by her sole provider to fend for herself and her son. Now she needed to find a job. For the first time in her life.

I assured her, “Just do the job and you will know. Just like marriage, childbirth and divorce. Which of these did you know before you went into it?

It’s all about learning as you experience it. All these matters, work, vacation, renovation. The hardest is when you start. Once you take the first step you’re actually already in the middle of the whole process, and the hardest part is already over.”

Our meals arrived, steaming hot and the aroma was tempting.

Her eyes on our meals, she said, “Let’s eat. When you’re having a meal, you should just focus on having your meal. When you’re sleeping, just focus on sleeping.”

I reminded her, “Right now, both work and life move at such a fast pace. If you focus all your attention on eating at each meal, that would be a luxury.”

Being in corporate life, time is a luxury to me. I often find myself eating as I go. Life had been a rat race. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I slowed down my pace to allow myself to heal.

“Of course, every once in a while you can treat a meal like an opportunity to recuperate. Then, you can eat your meal slowly and deliberately,” I said.

I gazed into her eyes, and said, “But I hope you will use the rest of your time productively. Three extra hours of learning every day will accumulate to one extra day per week. Then you will find yourself much ahead, compared to everyone else.”

She nodded, and smiled.

I know she wanted to protest. But I wanted her to know that being her close friend, I have her interest in mind.

“Also about sleep. If you’re in deep thought right before you sleep, your brain will continue thinking after you fall asleep and be hard at work,” I said, as I remembered reading a research on that.

To which she defended herself, “I don’t think I’m too busy to the extend that I need to maximise the usage of every second of every minute.”

I gently gazed into her eyes and said, “There are times when we meet problems and they seem like the biggest challenges, but they are not always impossible to solve. It could be because we think that we are not capable enough.”

Those who are close to you and willing to lend a listening ear, sincerely giving you their view point. This is already giving you a great honour.

The remaining storms of life is one where you walk alone.

Such being the case, it is better to think about it again, and then start walking.

“Hold your head up, and get up your courage, my friend,” I urged her as I took her hands in mind.