I turned 52 earlier this year.
Nothing really special about the occasion nor anything significant attached to the numbers.
But like all other milestones that I encounter in my life, these moments do elicit certain thoughts and feelings like no other.
For one, a birthday always reminds me of how time flies and waits for no one.
To me, it always seems only so recent that I was still in the midst of the various unforgettable stages of my life: serving my NS as a combat medic, dating my sweetheart while in Uni, starting a career as a P.E. teacher in a public school, taking the plunge to be a private fitness professional en route, tying the knot and starting a family later along the way etc. etc.
All these and more still seem so fresh and recent, and are indeed wonderful memories and moments that I like to fall back on during periods of quiet reflection.
Currently, against the backdrop of an on-going pandemic and a raging war, I am indeed extremely grateful and feeling very blessed to have made it so far in life - still relatively unscathed and in one piece - when so many around the world have seemingly suffered some form of misery and/or misfortune due to the above as well as other calamities.
Indeed, life is so unpredictable, so unexpected, that no one truly knows what tomorrow may bring.
This brings me to the realization that we should truly cherish and celebrate each and every moment of our life, whenever we can, to the best of our abilities.
As such, I will try to use this post as an opportunity to do some self-reflection and personal re-evaluation about my life, and how I should make the most of it going forward.
Following are some of my personal thoughts as well as life lessons I've learnt. Hopefully, they'll be of help to you in your life journey as well.
Learn To Let Go
Many of us - including myself - are unnecessarily clinging on to past hurts and regrets. To move on and forward in life, I have since learnt to make the conscious decision to let go of past events and let GOD take charge instead. Only then do I feel free to embrace the present, look to the future and be a BETTER me!
Majority May NOT Always Be Right
As one gets on in years, we often realize that what the vast majority believes in may not always be right or even true - from common everyday perceptions to world events, from social media news to even exercise trends!
Indeed, and especially with regards to my pet topics: exercise and fitness, I have always held to the belief that NOT every single one of the current fitness trends or practices that we see and hear about every day - from the use of high-tech fitness trackers and other wearable technology to engaging in all-out, no-holds-barred, high-intensity exercises - are necessarily useful, practical, or even suitable for everyone!
Oftentimes, we have to look DEEP within to decide what's BEST for ourselves - whether it is a particular exercise approach, or a certain fitness philosophy - rather than simply follow the crowd blindly!
Whatever it is, I've long learnt NOT to align myself blindly with the masses or the popular vote in almost anything and everything; while constantly reminding myself that just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean it's necessarily right for ME!!
In life, relationships are EVERYTHING!
From my personal as well as professional experiences, I have realized that the more heavily I invest into my relationships with others, the more favorable and positive the outcomes will be - for all parties involved!
For instance, I have lost count of the number of times I have received unexpected business referrals and out-of-the-blue references from current or even long-ago fitness clients and customers - many of whom I have forged deep and meaningful relationships with over the years - and who I can gladly say still cherish my services and contributions up to this day!
Without these valuable relationships, I would not be where I am today.
As the popular saying goes: "Change Is The New Constant".
Without change, we would stagnate and be stuck in the same old rut - day in, day out.
On the other hand, daring to embrace change allows us to evolve with the times and become more adaptable and flexible in all areas of our lives.
Even my own career in the Singapore fitness industry attest to the above.
If I have NOT embraced change and simply stayed with the status quo, I would still very much be one of your typical, everyday trainers out there today - working predominantly with the general adult population, while adopting a conventional in-gym, equipment-heavy approach.
Instead, when I made the conscious choice to follow my instincts and intuition, and to embrace the changes that came along, not only did I manage to carve out for myself specialized niches within the fitness industry, such as being one of the first in Singapore to provide body-weight training and outdoor fitness workouts since the early 2000s, I also found my personal calling and mission in the senior/older adult/medical fitness domain!
Basically, what I've learnt so far is: change may be painful and difficult at first, but it often comes with a sweet aftertaste!
Be REAL. Be Yourself.
Being real and authentic have actually helped to open more doors of opportunity for me than I could ever imagine.
In fact, whenever others see that I'm comfortable in my own skin and honest about my own flaws, imperfections and weaknesses, and totally open about my personal and family life, they tend not only to be more accepting of me as their trainer/coach/mentor/associate, but also more willing to share about their own problems and challenges with me too.
As such, our communication often becomes deeper, more genuine and more meaningful, with greater understanding and appreciation growing between us with each interaction.
Practicing gratitude has not always come naturally to me.
It was only much later in adulthood that I started making a conscious effort to be thankful and grateful for ALL the blessings that come my way - big or small.
Consequently, this has also brought greater peace, joy and success into my life.
More importantly, by being grateful and thankful for the people, things and even circumstances in my life have truly helped me to grow and develop as a person.
Life is not always a bed of roses.
However, we can learn to make the BEST out of it, by growing and evolving along the way.
May the above life lessons help you too in re-thinking your life and transforming your future - starting today!