Live life to the fullest

  • Opinion
  • Sunday, 03 Jul 2016

IT has been said that life is like a book. And there are many motivational quotations that revolve around this.

A friend recently posted on her Facebook one that goes, “Life is like a book. There are many chapters and (sometimes) many volumes. It can be sad (or scary) to end a chapter, but also exciting to see what the next chapter entails.”

She has just been given a new position with a different function and I can understand both the anxiety and the excitement over what lies ahead. But she will do well, that I know.

Among the books in my home library is the English version of the Chinese classic Romance of The Three Kingdoms which comes in two volumes. The chapters are short and always end with an interesting statement like,

“Read the next chapter and you will know the fate of Cao Cao.”

I remember in my growing up-years this classic tale being transmitted over Rediffusion and it just went on and on with a new episode every day. It kept us riveted by the speaker, wondering how the story was going to end.

Fast forward to today and the Three Kingdoms has spread far and wide through video games, TV series and hit movies like John Woo’s Red Cliff.

It’s the same with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings classic. The version I bought in the 1980s is a thick book in small print. The version I bought for my sons comes in a box set of three volumes, released after the movie trilogy hit the big screen.

I am glad they read the books from cover to cover, although I must confess I now prefer to watch the trilogy on my widescreen TV.

Life is indeed like a book. In a way, this column is like my life story as I also weave in aspects of my personal journey. It has its ups and downs.

There are many milestones to cross and whatever we may think, we really don’t know what the next chapter will unveil.

I write this on Friday, the morning after my chemotherapy session, which is still an ongoing process.

I have been asked when this will stop and I don’t know the answer. Even my oncologist cannot be sure when.

I have chosen not to focus on my ailment but to persevere in my journey of faith.

I know that if I choose only to see the medical side of things, I will cease to live life to the fullest.

So, as I have written in previous weeks, I am most joyful that milestones like my elder son’s wedding and my wedding anniversary can continue to be celebrated, albeit with some adjustments.

But it is not just happy moments like these that are being written into my journey of life. There have also been many sad moments, too, for instance when some co-sojourners have passed away.

Yet others fight on with hope. I was especially glad that the day before my chemo session, I was able to visit a friend in hospital and we mutually encouraged and prayed for each other.

Not so long ago, when I was up and about, I used to regularly visit the sick and the elderly. Now I find that though my circumstances may be different, I can still connect in different ways.

Like in a story book, the journey of our life will not be complete if it does not include the supporting characters like the heroes and the villains, the wins and the losses, the epic cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.

When I hear people complain about work, I remind them, “Life is more than just work. There is so much more to life and changing your focus will help you keep these problems in perspective.”

Some years back, during a group discussion, a friend was complaining about a strained finger due to playing tennis, not aware that I was going through a cancer journey then.

Another colleague chided him, “You complain about your finger. Our friend here has a bigger problem.” We all had a good laugh.

I have laughed much in my journeys, even in difficult times, for I believe that laughter is indeed good medicine. I have also cried, and I have had my anxious moments.

That’s what life is about, after all, and not just for those going through cancer or some other serious ailment. Whether the day brings sunshine or rain, live life to the fullest and treasure the gems you find along the way.

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