Monday, November 25, 2013

Haruki Murakami's 2005 Marathon Time

Haruki Murakami's 2005 New York Marathon Time: 4:10:17

I'm slightly obsessed with celebrities marathon time lately.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

It's getting closer to Christmas. (Yes, I know it's only November - but the decorations are up at the stores. )

Christmas always put me in a strange mood. I get moody, more reflective, and sad. I get nostalgic, and I miss people. Right now I need to remind myself of this - and hope to live a life without these regrets. So I'm posting this here again, as a reminder to myself.

No regrets. 

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Surrender is Not An Option

I earned this Finisher Medal for this year's Great Eastern Women's Run Half Marathon. 21.1 km, or 13.1 miles.

I started my journey as a runner last November. I went out one morning, ran for a while, and was defeated after less than 15 mins. I ended up walking home breathless, with the full awareness of how out of shape I was.

One year later, I find myself finishing my first half marathon. It was a humbling journey. Running is painful, and there were a few injuries along the way. I learnt so much, and yet there's still so much more to learn.

I am still limping a little from my shin splint and IT band sprain (suspected). When I showed up for my half marathon last Sunday, I just told myself to try my best - and finish. I asked myself, what can I do, if surrender is not an option?

I did think about not showing up. Sleep in and rest, I told myself. Rest.

I showed up anyway. I am glad I did.

I am not fast, but I managed to run and walk my way through a half marathon.

What am I capable of, if surrender is not an option?

A lot.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

S. Rajaratnam, on Preserving History

I saw this on Facebook:

"A sense of history is what provides the links to hold together a people who came from the four corners of the earth. Because our history is short and because what is worth preserving from the past are not all that plentiful, we should try to save what is worthwhile from the past from the vandalism of the speculator and the developer, from a government and a bureaucracy which believes that anything that cannot be translated into cold cash is not worth investing in.”

- S. Rajaratnam, “The Uses and the Abuses of the Past”, Seminar on Adaptive Re-use: Integrating Traditional Areas into the Modern | Urban Fabric, (Singapore, April 1984)

S. Rajaratnam was the man who wrote our National Pledge. I wonder what he would say, to how blatantly we are destroying Bukit Brown.