In my previous post, I had discussed how life might have been different if I had pursue my academic passions (or my self-perceived passions), and perhaps would end up with a different faculty, career, and ultimately, a different life.
I might be doing something very different right now. Perhaps I am an art curator, in the midst of a meeting discussing on the next exhibition series.
Or perhaps I am the mother of a pair of twins, and a stay at home home, married to someone else.
Ok that sounds totally random.
But it is.
I could be anything that I am not right now.
And the reason for all that is because I will not have met with the same group of people nor the friends that I have made today, and the many acquaintances that I am acquainted with thus far, many of whom I might not be in contact with, and a handful of which that I am still close with till this day. Those encounters are most probably what have shaped me over the years.
Perhaps I would not have met Dave, and I won’t be the mother to these two beautiful kids that I am to now.
And looking back, that is indeed true.
Just a little snippet of our lives. So how did I meet Dave?
Well, a bit cliche but we met through mutual friends at a wedding. I was the bridesmaid and he was the bestman.
The bridesmaid was a classmate from secondary school. We were classmates in lower secondary as well and were also streamed to the same class in upper secondary. We still kept in contact all these years, and she invited me to be her bridesmaid on her special day.
I was thinking, had we not been classmates in upper secondary, would we still had kept in contact?
Highly likely no.
And it is quite unlikely that she would have asked me to be her bridesmaid (but perhaps to her wedding). And it was because of the wedding and our respective roles that Dave and I got to know each other better, and as such, grew to be what we are today.
So if I were to make a fuss over my streaming back in secondary school and wanted to be streamed to a different class and other subjects etc., it is highly likely that I won’t be who I am today, nor typing this right now.
Academics is just one portion of our life. It allows us to be educated, to be skilled up, to be knowledgeable and prepare us for what is out there. But I guess a bigger part of what makes us, and on a larger part, our life, is our encounters, or rather, series of encounters.
I was watching TV yesterday and there was a pretty good commercial that popped up on the Chinese channel. I can’t remember what product it was for but there was a few lines in Chinese that really kept me thinking….
人有两笔。意味着人不只有自己。(“Human” has two brush strokes. It means we never stand alone)
身旁总有着依靠。(There’s always someone by our side)
相互扶持。相惜相依。(To support us, to trust us)
For those who might not be familiar with Chinese, I have included the English translation, hope that helps and makes sense to you.
Basically, what it meant is that the chinese character for “human”, consist of two strokes.
And that itself amplifies all the other meanings out there.
And I find that rather meaningful. And agreeable.
At different stages of our lives, we encounter different things, and different people.
And people, encounters and experience mold us to be what we are today.
For instance, if you have a nasty boss at work, and that made you want to leave your job. You found a new job, and also, that’s where you met your future wife (True encounter of an acquaintance).
Or perhaps, you met a music teacher in your primary school who appreciated your talent, and encouraged you to pursue a career as a concert pianist? That was the beginning of a series of hardwork to reach that goal (Another true story that I read somewhere).
You see, a lot of what we are focusing today is all about academics. How we should work hard to ace the exams, get into university, find a good job, earn a good salary, blah and blah and blah…
But a huge part of the equation that we left out is, what about the people who will help us to achieve all these.
Granted that on a myopic view, perhaps engaging tutors will help us to achieve the good results, and hence a trigger of a domino effect for the rest of the equation.
Or perhaps if you get into a “good” school, and you might have made certain “connections” there that could perhaps propel you in life later.
But is that how life really is?
In a previous post, I mentioned about how I had counselled a young ex-colleague at work. She has done exceptionally well in school, stellar at her job at work but yet, she wasn’t getting the promotion that she wanted.
During then, I had told her that more often than not, a lot of things depend on “天时，地利，人和”, which essentially translates to “the time is right, geographical and social conditions are favorable”. What this means is that sometimes, the flow of things depends not just on oneself, but also the nature of the situation, and whether that situation favours you might unravel an outcome that could be favourable to you. Or not.
Yes, you might have had the good results that might open the doors for you.
But having said that, after which, it takes a lot more than good grades to survive. (Although some might argue that if you are a scholar, you basically have everything set up right for you.)
Sometimes, it might be through certain connections that you got a certain job offer or internship (which I have witnessed too many times, especially for children of clients).
But whatever it is, encounters could be totally random. Or could be created.
And that is what shapes up our experience.
And the life we have today.
So if we might have made certain choices differently then, it could have had a major impact on life later, either benefiting us or not.
But for now, we will never know the path never chosen.
For perhaps, it wasn’t meant to be.