Thursday, May 12, 2011

If Only ...

It would be a lie to deny we never wish things were different, that somehow we could have been a better or different person than we are today. This inner dissatisfaction would claw our hearts when we think of missed chances, wrong decisions and delayed actions. If only ...

I sometimes wonder if I could have been someone else if I have had some of my prayers answered. As a youth three things shaped my growing years. My pimples, my lack of musical talents and my weak physique. My pimples would condition my public confidence and shy me away from making friends of the opposite sex. It however made me more aware of my academic talents so I did quite well in public exams. Maybe being engrossed in books spoiled my eyesight. I never deny old folks tale that reading in low lights can weaken your eye muscles.

Perhaps, because of staying away from parties and other social gatherings I turned towards music as an outlet to express my feelings and moods. I learned to sing in the early 1960s and I was able to pitch my notes accurately although I could not hit very high notes. I had a good rhythm and learn songs quite fast. Sadly I was unable to skill myself in playing a popular musical instrument nor know how to dance. I tried hard to learn guitar, in fact I owned 3 guitars in my life, but never acquired the discipline to play beyond strumming the basic keys. Lastly I wasn't born to be an athletic person so never excel in sports. In fact I dislike strenuous exercises and once nearly fainted while on a cross country endurance run. The only exercise I did well but since stopped playing is badminton.

What if I have had a better complexion, skillful in playing a range of musical equipment, can dance and have better physical health? Would they mold my outlook towards life in general? Would I choose a different lifestyle, mix with different companies, enter a different career, choose a different wife, have a different family? I guess all these are possible and likely but I have to give some credit to what you call destiny because what you have (and don't have) steer you towards certain options in life. You guide yourself towards whatever you feel confident in and therefore narrow down your options. Each choice directs you towards another set of sub-options from which you make your next choice, often unplanned and subconsciously done. In the process, as your personality, character and maturity grow, your outlook change and so will your range of options.

I chose an academic path towards my career which led me to meet my wife and together we built our family. My business has to be due to my choice of Chemistry for my degree major. I'm sure if part of the equation of my life had been modified, everything thereafter would have been completely different.

We cannot take full credit for the way our lives turn out. We can plan our lives but often opportunities, timing and luck would steer them to a different direction. You cannot have the cake and eat it. I realize that it is wishful thinking to become a guitarist and pursue a musical career because it would lead me towards a totally different life from what I have today. A life I would not be able to accept. If a time machine were to take me back 45 years to make changes I would hesitate getting in because I am afraid to be someone I don't know.

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