The present and the future

It’s been a while since I blogged.

I think I’ve been in Norway for close to 8 years.  I would have taken up citizenship if it’s not for covid.  I’ve a job that keeps me busy and intrigued. It’s never perfect but I think of all the jobs I’ve taken, I could not think of anything better. I’ve also a life that I thrive in. I’ve time to hone my skiing skills and not the very least, my Norwegian speaking skills as well. There’s always more to improve, but I would like think that I’ve come quite a long way.

I’ve been working in my company for close to 4 years.  Yes, I’m the sole sysadmin.  Even though it can get very busy,  I get the chance to discover and try out things that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance to do so in my previous jobs because politics and power play got in the way. Now that I’m my own boss, I could do whatever I like, whenever I want.

However, being the sole sysadmin as its price too.  I do have helpers, but my area of work is not their main responsibilities. As such, I’m still very much forced to deal with the full weight of my own decisions.  Also, it’s hard for me to take holidays because they can only do so much when shit hits the fan.  Indeed, freedom does have its price. My company did mention that it might get an assistant for me in the future and perhaps that could help.  I had just finished a major infrastructure upgrading project that started late last year and I just took a week’s break as I could see that my work performance was not really satisfactory. I had been sniping at a lot of folks and was likely close to burnout.  Nevertheless, I still got called online in the middle of it because of some problems and my stand-in got covid as well.  But I’m glad to have some time off to do the things I like other than the things I thrive in my job. Too much of a good thing is never a good thing.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had to deal with the full weight of my own decisions. I sort of understand now what high level managers feel when they have to make critical corporate decisions in the face and weight of the responsibility they bear. Sometimes you don’t have anyone else turn to except yourself.  And if I’m still fearful or insecure, I don’t think I would have thrived. Yes, I would make mistakes, but I should not be afraid to make decisions to the best of my knowledge. That, is after all, a learning process.  To be crippled by fear throughout one’s life is therefore better if one is not born.

Fear is an interesting thing. And a long standing old enemy of mine. It’s good to fear at times, because fear gives rise to caution. But when caution and fear gives birth to unnecessary paranoia and worrying, then it’s no longer helpful, but a hindrance.  And it’s really because of this fact, that some people choose to use it to manipulate others, and information is being drafted in a way to incite these feelings to manipulate and sculpt the people’s feelings towards the manipulator. More often than not, people end up also spooking themselves, reducing themselves to a fraction of a brave, confident person they once were.

Fear also goes against progress.  An alternate gender person might want to come out to their loved ones and friends but does not want to do so because of the fear of repercussions. On the other hand, the loved ones and friends fear the unknown and therefore do not want to accept any reality and are against the truth that is about to unfold in front of their eyes. I’ve nothing against the alternate gender, although I’ve made my decision to live life as the gender I’m given to at my birth. There are tons of confusing labels out there and to be frank, these kind of puts me off because the human being is so complex that it is impossible to put a label on everything.

What I only have against this is when this is just done because it is a fad or out of empathy and not of decision about one’s identity. Secondly, I’m also against any form of proselytising of the gender lifestyle one chooses to live such that it should be a universal gospel to be swallowed.  Just like many homosexuals dislike the Abrahamic moral sermon of being binary shoved down their necks, I would also dislike it when it’s the other way around. I believe in respect and both sides should respect and rights should always be given as humans, not because it’s gender specific. Sadly, I still see a lot of laws in many countries (including from the country of my birth) doing the otherwise.

Respect is indeed something of a rare thing nowadays.

Everyone just looks after themselves. The covid pandemic has reared the ugly head of humanity.  The restrictions placed by governments that were initially inspired by health and saving of lives have been morphed into something politically driven. Then there’s vaccination – which is not (and never will be) a cure nor a prevention of getting covid, but rather a hindrance of the fatal symptoms that it can cause. As with every vaccination, there are bound to be side effects. But people (both for and against) still believe that vaccination is means to prevention or a cure. I won’t say much on this, because I’ve already made my point. But it’s quite saddening to see friendships broken over this, folks that you thought would be rational and respectful, only to play the self-styled messiah. Evidently, respect is broken when honesty shines a light and fuelled by fear, it is a stark as it gets.

I’m thankful for living in a country that believes in a person more than being number one in all things. For that, I don’t mind switching my allegiance and being proud to be a citizen and to contribute to the country’s growth and well-being. I may not be young and resourceful as I once was but I know that folks here respect what you do, rather than what you are.  Discrimination is the thing that will always hinder a society’s progress.

On that note, it’s interesting to observe that discrimination by others will eventually lead to self-loathing and self-pity and eventually to the fact the everyone needs to owe them a living.  I sometimes am guilty of self-deprecating humour, but I also know that I need to check myself so that I don’t fall into the same spiral.  A good example is the way Asians (in general) stereotypically view the elderly as:

  • folks are physically and mentally weak
  • folks that need support from their children as a form of filial piety.
  • they need to be cared until the day they die.

But what I’ve seen here proved otherwise. I’ve seen a 100+ year old lady whom I’m so tempted to assist her when she was walking in Eidsvoll. I see her walking every day, along the same 5km route, hobbling, slowly, but progressing. She smiles sometimes, although she could be in pain.  On may the 17th once, she dressed up with the nation’s colours and walked around as if she does not give a shit to her age and so on. I only got to know about her age when the local papers highlighted her and her lifestyle.

When I moved out of Eidsvoll to my current place, my next door neighbour and I wanted to paint the house. His parents in law lived a few houses down and they lived on their own.  I thought he needed help but boy, he was the most spritely and energetic 70 year old I’ve ever met. He helped us carry and lift things, set up the scaffolding all by himself, and of course assisted us in painting. In his free time, he goes on cycling trips with his wife and they go on skiing trips in the winter too. He drives a hot red MG and told me he has plans to renovate his roof and paint his house too this upcoming summer along with his friends (who are retired ex-carpenters).

This is what living is about, this is what living the golden years are and should be.  These folks inspire me, challenge me and encourage me a big deal.  But the way I see my own parents live – is like the total exact depressingly opposite. 

I’m just waiting now. Waiting for the fear and paranoia of my country of birth to subside, waiting for it to see reality so that I can go back and ‘pay a visit to my parents’ without any of the bureaucracy and rules wasting my time. If I have to quarantine for 7 days despite being fully boosted and vaccinated, then I think it’s really not worth my time. Yes, time. It’s much more precious than money. I’d rather have all the time in the world than money that can make me live comfortably like a king. And all this call of duty is just because I have to appear to be filial all because my parents fear life. They fear their path to the grave therefore they need a holding hand. I hope and I aspire that I would dance my way to my grave and live everyday as if I have everything worth living for.

Death is something that not everyone looks forward to. If not, why live? But on the other hand, why act and behave like you are nearly dead when you are still living? 

I want to live a life not without fear but controlling it and using it to navigate life’s portholes, not letting it controlling and manipulating me. And I have done so. There was a time I dreaded skiing, but instead of running away from it, I faced my fears and my age and now I’m proud to be where I am. I’m not an active skier nor am I anywhere near your average Norwegian skier, but I’m at least better than what I was 4-5 years ago. I would like to get better, but I know that this takes time and more fear conquering.  I know I can do so, and I have shown I can do it. So I’m looking to my future and telling myself that I can challenge the limits that are on me and live my life to the maximum.  I have, and only myself to compare and improve. And that itself is already an amazing thing.

Here’s to the future. There’ll be covids, wars and so on that threaten and bring about death, but the best reply to all these is the willingness and the determination to live and celebrate living.

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