Monday, January 19, 2009

A piece of heaven...on earth

I received an email from Winnie.

It's been a long time that I've heard from her. I've worked with her at Otsuka for two years before her family migrated to the United States. The proverbial search for greener pastures. And it goes without saying, that among the friends I've made in the company, I miss her a lot.

The last year was a decisive year. I was offered to join the company full time. Which meant more perks and a hefty salary increase. Then came the offer to join a regional company, which meant relocating. Another tempting offer. I would be an expat. Then there were emails from various head hunters. It took me a few months to mull on these offers, which came left and right. It came at a good time - when the global economic crisis was just starting. For many, this would be the best time to secure ones future.

But I had come from the academe and private practice and I had just retired from the academe. And I was pondering - at 50, what would I do? I was at the peak of everything. From career to practice, from speaking engagements to the perks that came with free-lancing. What was I looking for?

It took me quite some time to decide. And I've never regretted any decision I had made. Whether it was made 10 years ago or 10 days ago. I knew that all I wanted is a piece of heaven, on earth. I needed the freedom to do what I did best. And be happy at doing it. Coming home, seeing my family, being with Bubba, being with my friends, eating out, imparting knowledge, seeing patients, curing them...they may not be the freedom that we search for. Bubba once told me that financial security is tantamount to freedom. I agree. But I had started from scratch. Dirt poor. And I had my own stories of failures and successes in life. Each failure etched a deep wound on my spirit, leaving me with scars to remember the road less traveled. Each success was a crowning glory, but the scars also left me remembering that humility was a virtue and that life was like a wheel. One day you're up, one day you're down.

These little stories in my life kept me at bay with my decisions on moving on as I work harder to achieve my piece of heaven on earth.

In all honesty, I am on that road towards my goal. I believe that there will be a stumbling block along that thorny path. But if I stay focused, and learn to accept that the only thing permanent in this world is change, I will reach that dream.

We only have one life. And when I leave this world, I will always remember that I took the path to finding a piece of heaven...on earth...

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