Happy 35 TPY!

Happi Birthdae dearie!

happi happi birthdae.

I. it hasn’t been that straightforward , today.

i woke up to haohao’s sweet smile and feeding.

then as usual, i woke up to prepare breakfast.

then, suddenly, qinzhi had a red pouch in her hand, and daddy is cooing…qinzhi, what must u say…?

and there, i got my present, another omega, but this time, with diamonds, and a pearl face and a substantial bracelet.

daddy says its a month’s worth of his salary, just as he bought me my first omega 14 years back on this very day.

then i made for myself mee sua with 2 eggs. like a tradition of sorts.

we headed out to pray, because its Guan Yin’s birthday on the lunar calendar this sept 19th day.

we then went to real food and ordered what we would have on a usual day. but daddy ordered this chocolate bliss cake, that is vegan, gluten free and diary free.

he sang me a birthday song and kissed me hard.

i loved that.

then we went shopping.

then qinzhi pee-ed her skirt. i felt my heart sank. i felt broken and very worried for my child. when she can’t do something so basic, how is she going to handle life?

qinzhi explained to me that she would much prefer to sit down on the toilet seat and not stand.

i accepted that as an explanation and we carried on.

but on the way to meet my siblings for dinner, qinzhi suddenly changed seats on the bus, and i could see that the seat she has left is wet.

that dealt me with another blow. i was stunned and shocked beyond words.

i totally understand now how parents feel when their kids do something not so right, it was as if the parents had failed.

and the blow would have been amplified, simply just because we were the ones to give our children life.

it hurts us most, most most most.

we carried on with dinner, ah mei ayi baked me a strawberry yuzu cake and my father said happy birthday to me. we had dinner then the cake.

i could feel my feelings in my throat as i ate the cake my sister baked for me.

i think i would remember that .

then we had photos,

yes it was a beautiful wonderful day, i fell thankful and i feel blessed ,equally, i feel heavy in the heart. parenting is to grow up again.

II. But, 35 is such a milestone, TPY. what you have experienced all these years is truly truly amazing.

And you r amazing, the most amazing thing that has happened, my dear!

i can’t help but went to look back at the blog at the time of my birthday last yr. And i found for myself a very meaningful birthday letter, written to myself.

it is still awfully inspiring, there’s still so much to do for myself.

This I wrote:

“Happi Birthdae, My Dear。

i think you really love writing, at different points in your life, writing has helped you understand yourself better, when u had fear, when u had worry, when u had suspect, as well,

when u had love, when u had your baby, when you had bliss.

little wonder you will b writing to yourself now.

so dont give it up. its such a part of u. it is u, really.

happi birthdae 🙂 again.

i wish u love.

i think u learnt alot all this while. i dont think anyone besides you will know how much you have blossomed. but i think u gained alot of strength. alot more insights and alot more wise. i think motherhood changed you , enriched u, strengthened you in ways more than one. i think you r awesome.

and i think you hold right opinion in many ways.

continue to follow your heart in the days ahead, i wish you happiness, i wish you bliss, i wish you to be well n happy. you definitely deserve all that you asked for, nothing less. continue to have high expectations of yourself. continue to better yourself in ways more than one.

continue to remain true to your heart and to speak out what you feel at heart.

you need not need anyone’s approval or agreement. you need not anyone to second you.

go forth in your kind ideas, learn to validate and feel confident with yourself.

you have what it takes.

think seriously about the next step you want to take.

you need to nourish yourself before you can nourish your family. you need to be in balance and at peace before you can let your family and kids feel at peace. make time for yourself, always.

i pray that you have the wisdom to bye away any obsolete ideas and mindsets, i pray that you b able to create new pathways, new ideas, new attitudes and behaviours that will help you and people around you.

i wish you courage, i wish for you determination. i wish you broad-mindedness.

in all of these, do not forget to forgive yourself, learn to be kinder to yourself, learn to b more generous with yourself. learn to take better care of yourself.

learn to be a light upon yourself and upon others.

i know your mommy is so proud of you.

happy sweet 34, dear.”

III. But not all is the same.

蒋勋说:35岁,回来做自己,我永远记得。

今天再看,依然获益无穷。

蔣勳:35而立,就是回來做自己

30歲到35歲,我自己回想起這一段,也覺得好特別。
1976年底,我回到台灣,當時還不滿29歲。我可以去大學教書,但關於藝術的課很少。要當專任教師,必須再教些非藝術的課程,像中國通史、國父思想,我想說完蛋了,怎麼可以接受這樣的工作?所以寧可在好幾個大學跑來跑去兼課,但教我喜歡的東西。

這有點「邊緣」的角色,讓我變得更大膽。比如我曾帶著淡江大學建築系學生做飆車調查,要他們訪問飆車族。剛開始學生覺得很難,因為在體制中順利走上來的人,忽然要跟體制外的人對話,但等到他們報告時,我卻覺得很感動,因為他們看到了不同經驗下成長的另一群人。

我用這種既像在體制內、又像在體制外的方式教學,帶著學生關心的不是將來怎麼做個成功的建築師,而是怎麼思考人跟空間的關係。

30歲上下的我,想的不是自己怎麼進入體制,而是我在體制與非體制之間,能不能拔河得更久。

夢想與體制之間的平衡

當時的我們一無所有,社會也沒有安排好位置要我們坐在上面。一無所有帶來的狂喜是一切從零開始,所以不怕失去。這反而是種生命力,讓我們敢大膽地有各種「非分之想」。

夢想跟體制,就像天平的兩端,怎麼樣讓它微妙平衡,是我在這一代身上看到的兩難。這幾年我常到竹科上課,有點在扮演讓天平搖動的角色。我知道大家要的是體制,但我又要告訴大家,當你在體制內愈成功、愈順利,生命力愈容易被削減。

這是個矛盾,包括我自己也是。35歲時,我受邀去東海大學當美術系的創系主任,這是我一生最大的抉擇。因為是創系,我很開心,但7年後我決定辭職,因為我忽然發現自己已經在體制裡。我的思考是:不能不進去體制,但生命力不能被削減到沒有。

這幾年我出版《孤獨六講》,沒想到是很多30歲左右的人在看。孤跟獨,本來在儒家是非常不好的字,但西方講“solitude”這個字,「孤獨」是因為「唯一」,裡面有自負的含意。個人尊重社群,但不一定非要被社群吃掉。

也因為這樣,你問我對「35而立」的詮釋是什麼?我覺得是回來做自己。35歲以後還不知道做自己是怎麼一回事,會很辛苦,你的榜樣永遠是別人。

兩種態度,找回生命力

首先,競爭最好的對象是自己。200米、400米的短跑,都是跟對手比,但長跑一定是跟自己比賽,因為跑到最後是「前不見古人,後不見來者」,卻要跑出體能的極限。所謂成功,最後一定是在自己喜歡的領域中不斷長跑,像嚴長壽、郭台銘,都是跟自己競賽,不是跟別人比。他們是完成自己。

其次,我們一方面尊重體制,可是體制內每一個人的生命力不能因此流失。流失以後會造成體制的萎縮,它會愈來愈沒有創意。

週休二日你在做什麼?這兩天是讓你回來做自己,是累積生命力的開始。前幾年電影《練習曲》影響很大,有個科技公司的員工跟老闆說要辭職去環島,因為「有些事情現在不做,以後會後悔」。老闆問:「你需要幾天?」他說17天。老闆說,好,放你17天假。回來以後,他表現更好。我想企業中是容許這些對話的,體制中並不是沒有彈性。

我不擔心制度,卻擔心人在制度中的「無感性」,所以,還要找回你的感覺。你有多久沒聞過花香?能否分辨出另一半身上的味道?或是喝得出這家咖啡跟別家不同,寧可繞路去買?有句話說「人不可無癖」,有幾樣怪癖,人會比較快樂,這表示你有所愛,有所選。

記得,不一定要打破體制,但要知道體制不是永遠。一旦生命力消失,即使在體制中也不會保證你的安全,而且會很快流失你原有的創造力。

有一种:真的,是时候了的感觉。

我的感觉是,我也越来越靠近心里所想的了。因此也越来越靠近那个自己。最是自己的自己。还有一些小处,在微调。

去年生日时在facebook上贴的:

“happi birthdae TPY. i wish for u courage, to bye away the old. I wish for u determination, to continue the good u have. i wish for u wisdom, to do good n b a light. i wish for u strength in life. above all, i wish u love on the road to bettering urself. happi sweeet 34, girl!”

i m so proud of myself, these all i really did, in the last 365 days that flew by.

having gone back to work, i didn’t forget that i m first a mother, then a worker.

I fought hard to do what I want: to write. I fought so hard to get the chance to speak to top chefs.
And fighter I m!

i stretched myself, i extended my limits, i took care of my family and of my responsibilities at work, i went deeper and wider. i became wiser. i really tried to the best, best best of my ability. i never did compromised on standards.

and of late, i realised that i may not be important or highly regarded by my workplace, but i m most important to my family and my precious babies.

And i had the newfound sense of courage to voice out my innermost wishes.

and so i have no qualms about letting go of my work when the timing is ripe.

and so i say, happy birthday TPY.

you are awesome. super awesome.

Continue to follow your heart in the days ahead. Continue to discover! Fight for what you believe in. i wish for you great health and mental well being, so you can extend yourself to the service of others. To heal and let heal. I wish for you great wisdom and strength, to be the best of yourself, to believe in yourself and to be just, honestly you. I wish for you freedom and to be you always from the heart. Be like a kid all over again! I wish for you wisdom to let go on  the excesses and to live simply. I wish for you inspiration to light up your own and others. I wish you love and lots to share.

i wish u, Happiness, all over again.

Happy happy birthday my dear!

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One thought on “Happy 35 TPY!

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday, TPY! | Yellownblac's Weblog

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