10 November 2004

The call of family

In the matter of discovering calls, one voice that resounds clearly is the call to family. I've sacrificed relationships for far too long over the past 12 years of medical studies. Throughout my academic llife, meetings with family and friends had to be planned way ahead of time. Scheduled, fitted in to my diary. Time for hanging out was scarce and rationed.

It's a terrible way to live when time for people have to give way to exams and work. It's a tragedy that most of us have to 'earn' the privilege of having time for others. It's a worse tragedy if even having arrived at a point in life when you HAVE the time you decide to squander it chasing after the next thing, the next rung in the ladder of wealth, fame and power.

It has to end somewhere. It's time to say NO, to STOP the endless spiral and choose people.

Returning to KL has given me and Joan a lot more time with our parents than we've spent in the last 10 years or so. We're making up for all the time lost. Sure, there's the adjustment problems - parents need to revise their chronological assessment of us - we're not the 18yr olds we were when we left home anymore. And we need to adjust too - they are no longer tyrants whose every word is a commandment to be obeyed but beautiful people who need our love and companionship as much as we need their guidance and affirmation of our adulthood.

I look forward to every visit home to either of our parents. And it's not just the lip-smackingly good food our mothers unfailingly whip up. It's just being with them. The moments are precious. I am constantly reminded that we don't have our parents forever, and each day with them is to be treasured. So little food-hunting trips, visits to the park together, and lots of time lounging around at home has been heart-warming and refreshing for us. I wish we had more time!

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