38 days

Several years ago when I told my friends I wanted to quit, most of them did not believe I was serious. Some thought I was seeking attention. A few closer ones acknowledged my intention but asked me to work out a retirement plan before I leave the resignation letter on the boss’ desk. Of course, I didn’t have one and still haven’t got one yet. They reassured me that my job wasn’t bad; I only needed to look after myself and find time to have fun. These were excellent advice, I thought, but where did I find that sort of time. Honestly, I may not know how to use it even if it were found.

Then, things and people around me seemed to be thrown into chaos after this Easter. This time, having a mixed feeling of inescapable duty and incapability, I had to find time for myself, people close to me and friends who turned to me for help. As I tried, I found myself drifting down a depth where miseries and helplessness were the only things I could hold on to. The world lost its colours and clarity; daily life became a burden; the mind was occupied by doubts and despairs. 

One evening, after 23 years, Eamon’s face suddenly reappeared on my memory screen. I could clearly recognize his rectangular face, small eyes and thin lips – the way he was when I last saw him. This is not a good sign.

I knew Eamon at work. They said he was a sporadic alcoholic and reckoned his drinking would cost his life one day. Most of the year when he was sober, he was gentle and always wore a smile. People liked him as a caring and sentimental guy who was always ready to help.  Later, I learned that when he succumbed to booze, he became tearful and would talk about the miseries of his life. He was put in mental hospitals several times, often after he told others he could not help thinking about suicide. Once he became sober in the hospital, he would be back on anti-depressants and be asked to go home very soon. He told me that the doctors and nurses always said, “Keep dry, take your tablets and don’t come back again. You’ll be fine!” However, he never got better beyond sobriety and bouts of depression kept coming back to haunt him.

A month before a Christmas, he went to a hospital again after two days’ drinking frenzy. He asked for discharge on the twenty second as he rather stayed in his flat for Christmas. He was found dead a day after Boxing Day with cheap wine and pills bottles scattered around his bed where he might have found his eternal rest. People do not have to tell him he will be fine anymore. This memory suddenly became vivid from nowhere and underlined my thoughts and sentiments then. I am amazed how the mind can play tricks to its bearer.

Despite the unexpected surge of pessimism, I committed myself to sending a picture with a text each day to a person who had cancer and was recovering from a major surgery. It was meant to cheer her up but unanticipatedly that became part of my personal journey. I re-found hope and reassurance in that journey and put negativity at bay – guess this is how a man treats himself well. The pictures may have lost their spontaneity but are saved here as a reminder of that brief journey; a reminder that healing can come from within and from a person giving others what they need.

The living force doesn't give up.

Don't feel sorry for being a humble rapeseed flower!

A red light doesn't always mean STOP!

Treasure the moment.

There's always a way out in a dead end road!

The sun is still above the clouds.

Distillation purifies spirits; challenges mature men.

Soup of the day is soothing after twelve hours' labour!

See life through seedlings.

Obscurity only blurs the forwarding road.

Yearn like children for things you desire.

Life is fragile but soul-moving.

Wishing for a small celebration can be the motivation to tie over difficulties.

Nobody can guarantee a blue sky; thunderheads are part of the nature. 

But the modest oxalis, benefiting from the rain, shows others her true beauty.

Isn’t life exciting?

Through hardship we appreciate the value of an ordinary life.

Stand the waves!

Apart from bread, you can have meatballs and soup too.

Many would not think of trying a microwave dinner though some consider it a luxury.
At this moment, enjoy it with a grateful heart.

Feeling alone? But, there are at least three on the same road!

To start a new day with a happy "banana"!

There is a time to worry and a time to indulge!

See, it's all gone!

After the rain, there must be a new scene...

and a beautiful sky.

With the piercing light of a street lamp, the cosmos is only a void.

Though the flowers are withering, the best of life, more gratifying, has yet to come.

Constraints are inevitable, but dreams will never be imprisoned. 

When it comes to pass, we know storms always cease; we learn how to be grateful.

No one can assure a sunny day every day. If it rains, open your umbrella! 

We can always withstand more than others and ourselves believe we can.

The law of the nature - life never stops; door opens at desperation.

Nobody dares to help? You can still rely on yourself.

Outgrowing the darkness, it shows its vigour and beauty.

The sun is out. Don't just sit here!

The trains are always packed with people, but at times you may be on you own.
Nonetheless, all trains stop at the terminus.

Rhodies in the parks blossom in March and wither in April,
why are you showing your rosy cheeks in this May hillside?

There is always someone who can share a bit of your burden.

Keep praying, even though you lose everyone and all your faith.

Those 38 days have gone for months now. But, there can be many more 38 days if I determine to look for them, I believe. Maybe, if your friends run into their dead ends, instead of telling them they will be fine, share with them your 38 days.

If you want these 38 days, they are yours my friends.

14 則留言:

  1. 內容得動人、很感性!是的、懂得放下、積極面對、勇於向前、那就不枉到這個世界走一回矣!

    1. 多謝 Louis Rick 兄的到訪和留言。很認同你的睇法,要懂得放下、積極面對、勇於向前才會好好的走過一趟人生。不容易,但仍要努力!預祝你有一個愉快的週末。

  2. 回覆
    1. Thanks for your visiting. Wish you always have great return!
      Have a great weekend ahead.

  3. My dear friend,

    It's been a while since we last visited each other.

    When I told people that I was retiring, they thought I was not serious and was just kidding ... "You are still so young ... you're a workaholic and you breathe and live the unit ..... You won't just leave the unit behind ...." You know what? I did it, my friend, I really did! You can do it too. Of course, retirement for workaholics is not easy. But I'm tired.

    Life is stressful, work is stressful, there got to be a way out, I believe or is there? Of course, saying "you'll be just fine" is not gonna work, we all know ....

    Again, I don't know what I'm saying anymore.

    Please take care and stay well.

    1. Yes, it's a long time since I read your messages indeed.
      Actually I have been visiting your blog from time to time to see if you have shared anything new with friends.
      Accepting early retirement as a feasible option is actually an important buoy to keep me afloat mentally in recent years at work. Having said that I do feel scared when I look into the days if I stop working, not because of financial insecurity but rather the non-existent of a clear direction of life. I guess I have been imprisoned by work for too long that I will have little left without it. I need a bit of rehabilitation before I'm discharged into the real world!
      Well, I'm taking some holidays in the coming months and hopefully I can start planning for my next page.
      By the way you make perfect sense!
      It's great that you feel good about your decision.
      You take care and stay well too.

  4. Thanks for your positive words! They are encouraging!

    1. Thanks, Master 百了!
      Once again, really glad you are back, at least for now! Hope you are doing well.
      Writing those words seemed to help myself more than the others.I guess encouragement is always needed but seldom offered.

  5. I am encouraged too !
    Mind is exceedingly deceitful so please beware of a deceitful heart,mind and satan playing up in between us ourselves. God bless your kind and persistent heart!

    1. Thanks for your visit!
      Glad that you like the sharing here.
      Yes, it's important to keep our mind sound and pure though it can be difficult sometimes.
      Wish you have a kind and pure heart at all the time and stay well too.

  6. It's been a while since I had the time or inclination to visit the blogger's world but it's wonderful to be able to share your very moving ruminations.
    Yes, life is stranger than we can imagine.
    Oftentimes, it's like a boomerang. We throw out a boomerang of hope in the hope that it may help one of our friends. But it may return right beneath our own feet and rekindle our own dying hopes.
    Perhaps hope is the its own miracle. Somehow, it has a peculiar knack for feeding itself from its own resources, without needing any external help. It regenerates itself and in the very process regenerates whoever it may be who seeks its help, whether for himself or for others.
    Blessed is he who spreads hope.
    Who knows? The benefactor may unwittingly become the benefited too !
    Thanks for this very moving tale of hope.

    1. Thanks El for visiting me here. It's my honor! I have come back here and visited others blogs, including yours from time to time, just haven't got the energy and psychological readiness to type in anything.
      I can't agree more that life is stranger than we can imagine. There have been many things happening in this juncture of my life and many of them I would like to record down for the future, but the action part of the my mind doesn't seem to cooperate with the thinking part. Guess this is a kind of mind-hand "non-coordination". Could it be a sign of senility or dementia? Hahaha!
      Your photos seem to get to a different level lately. Will go back to that later.
      Wish you a great weekend.

  7. I really enjoy your bilingual wise 40, it simply tells what we have or what we will. Thank you Gravel!

    1. Hello ykk,
      Long time no see. Thanks for your visit.
      You are quite right. What we can do is to enjoy the present moment.
      Wish you well and happy.


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