In Reflection of 2011

In ten days the year of 2011 will become history – like any other year. Before I close this year, I decided to spend this time as a post mortem to pen some of my thoughts on how the year went.  Unlike any other year, the first thought that cropped in my mind was how uncharacteristically and incredibly fast the year has passed by. It sort of felt like I have been transported from a time machine in which I skipped several months throughout the year.

Now, this got me started thinking more about this fundamental notion on ‘progress.’ In many respects, 2011 have represented a monumental year for me. First, it is the year I turned 25. Granted, it boggles my mind when I come to the realization that I have roughly lived one third of my life. I suppose when you look through this 30,000 foot level, life seems way too short. Rick Warren is right when he says that life on earth “a parenthesis of eternity.” The prospect of dying has not been a major concern of mine thus far, but I am beginning to seriously understand the utmost importance of living a purpose-driven life always thinking the end in mind. With this big picture on the back of my mind, I felt on one hand that I have achieved nothing significant; on the other hand, I have been always striving for something.

Another key factor differentiating in 2011 is the fact that it marks my first journey into post-school life where academic theories are not safeguarded from the ivory tower, but where real-world application trumps it all. My initial disillusionment with work has disoriented and discouraged me, but as everyone does, I was compelled to either quickly adjust or opt out. Idealistic expectations nurtured from school were eclipsed by how things actually work in real life. Most important, I have witnessed the power of surroundings and its impact into my very own life. However, I know with utmost certainty that all of these realizations and lessons will prepare, hone, and shape me for the better.

The respective changing circumstances in 2011 thus have been inherently poised to become a year of progress. But not so much, I initially thought. Why, you may ask..? As I really probe into the underlying reason for this lack of progress, it originated from my unquenchable yearning for knowledge. Progress, in my perspective, was measured by how much books I read and tangible achievements from work and certifications etc. Thus far, this was how I narrowly defined “progress” and in all these time, I have strived to achieve excellence in this. However, with this definition, I will confess that 2011 was devoid of much progress. In fact, I probably regressed instead of making a progression in life.

The breakthrough moment, the light-bulb moment came to me with the emergence of a special relationship. I am indebted to the special lady in so many ways. My narrow focus in life was radically exposed to something larger than career. I am not dismissing the importance of career by any means, but life was designed by God to become more holistic than just career. With this special relationship, this served as an opportunity to divulge my true self and understand people in a very intimate manner. 2011 was a time of cultivating my character as a more loving, generous, caring, and authentic person. Thus, my core values were tested and reinforced through the development of this relationship.

My one-dimensional notion of progress has been dispelled by this breakthrough experience in my life. With this narrow definition, I certainly did not read 30 books for the year, how many times I read the WSJ on a daily basis, but I believe the time spent elsewhere in building relationships honed my character as a holistic, balanced person.

As 2012 emerges, I must regain balance how I perceive progress. On one hand I cannot afford to not develop myself professionally through readings and learning, but at the same time, I must expand my horizons into something more than quenching my professional ambition. This healthy balance comes from when my relationship in Jesus Christ takes precedence over all worldly things. As the year-end approached, I felt this was where I felt I could have done a better job. Instilling a strong sense of discipline in how I manage life is a task that needs to be mastered throughout 2012 and beyond. 

The balance between the two are critical. The following is the highlights of my 2011: