Week In Review – 16 Jan 2022

Next Thursday will mark President Biden’s first anniversary in the office. Already, critics are commenting on whether he has made a difference in a year’s time. Specifically, they mean a “positive” difference. Defenders of Biden claim anyone from Trump is positive. Detractors point to the Covid-19 cases as proof of the contrary.

An obvious strategy between each side is controlling the narrative for the upcoming mid-term elections. Painting Biden as ineffective gives the opposing party an opportunity to takeover both houses of the Congress. And they do so by douse fuel on voters’ impatience. Which side wins has a lot to do with the Biden’s administration’s progress in the next few months.

While the pundits can debate all they want, one thing is certain – it is cold in Washington DC. Snow, sleet, and gusty wind are posing serious road hazard for commuters. Last snow storm left hundreds stuck in traffic over night. Luckily, Monday is the MLK holiday for some. Less likely for the history to repeat. The real winners belong to those who already had a winter escape.

Lastly, change and growth maybe our best hope for human kind.  But a lot of that outcome depend on whether the people in the trenches can persist and not giving up. I am bullish on that faith.  How about you? 

Stay safe and have a nice week

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Winter Escape?

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It’s nineteen degree (Fahrenheit) outside in Washington DC. And today’s high (28) will stay well below freezing. Not sure if it is the coldest day of the year, but certainly feels that way. And yes, the snow is coming tomorrow. Too late to plan an escape? Not at all. Tennis’ Australian Open is two days away in Melbourne (17 -30 Jan). Tickets are still available.

Even if Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and number 1 ranked player, does not get to play due to his Covid-19 scandal, the weather alone would be worth it. It’s summer over there with boasting temperatures in the 70 to 80’s. No time to fly? One can settle for the televised coverage and soak up the Aussie sunshine.

If tennis is not your thing, how about Hawaii? It has similar temperatures as the Australia but only less than half of the traveling time (from DC). The famed Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and other local attractions bound to offer something for everyone to the paradise. If nothing else, a refuge from the winter chill.

If Covid-19 restrictions have you wondering, there is always Florida. Governor DeSantis and Mickey will welcome you with open arms.

As for myself, I am going back to bed.

What’s your ideal winter escape?

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The Storm Is Coming!

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The wind outside is kicking up and howling. An impending winter storm is coming. Just in time to spoil this MLK holiday weekend. People are however carrying on with their lives as if the meteorological warning is for somewhere else. After all, this is Washington DC.

For me, I have been trying to shake off this nagging cough in the past few days. The coughs bother my wife perhaps more than me. Except, I don’t look forward to the inclement weather on top of it. I get a chill in my core whenever the wind howls. It reminds me to get more hot teas to keep my throat moist and myself toasty.

Armed with Netflix, HBO, and the likes, I am content to be stowed away and not deal with the nasty conditions outside. But there are folks whose jobs involve interacting outdoors such as delivery or mail person, police, and real estate agents. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

Just a word of advice – be prepared if you must venture out.  Last time when it snowed here, hundred of commuters got stuck on the Interstate overnight for many hours. What a miserable way to spend the holiday.

Are you ready for the  weekend?

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No one likes to be kept waiting. 

Certainly not I.

Because that feels wrong on so many levels:

inefficiency, disrespect, piss poor planning, etc, etc.

My patience gets tested whenever I’m kept waiting. 

But I know that waiting is sometime inevitable

as in flight delay, Covid testing, acts of nature.

That’s why I like to control my impatience.

So, should I:

a. shift my perspective – it’s not all about me

b. try to relax and/ or meditate

c. pause & reflect?

Which one do you believe will work?




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Change & Growth

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Here is the thought experiment: change could lead to growth, provided the change is positive.

Technology is typical of these examples. Car, commerce, and computer, just to name a few, have enhanced our lives and increased our growths by leaps and bounds.

But what if the change is not positive?  Say it’s negative. What happen then? Would it lead to decline? Modern day cases include the climate, corruption, and Covid-19. What then?

My hope is somehow we manage to find silver lining from even the worst of changes.  Learn and grow from these experiences.  In other words turning the negative into positive.

Am I being too optimistic?

What do you think? 

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What’s the point when no one seems to care? Am I just wasting my time or effort?

What’s the point where all my efforts barely move the needle? Is it a lost cause and time to give up?

What’s the point? Many life situations reminisce these doubts.  Many outcomes may seem  winning the battle but losing the war.  Or vice versa. Temping us to quit.

That is life’s unpredictable truth and our challenge of being human. 

In moments like these, persist. 

By taking the road less traveled, the different, unfamiliar stuffs test our own beliefs and values. And if kept an open mind, chances are we can truly learn and grow from these experiences.   ~ Terry Shen

And that is the point. 

Do you believe that doing the hard stuffs and you shall be rewarded?

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Making A “Positive” Difference

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When I visited this topic back in 2017, pandemic was a dictionary term for me.  Now, the Choronavirus pandemic is entering its third year.  Time to revisit this topic.  Is “making a difference” still relevant or even possible? Have I just been getting by or doing something else?

Safe to say that given the context of the pandemic, life in general has been miserable, or at least unpleasant. Therefore, not only that making a difference is still relevant, I feel a “positive” difference would be important. Because we need it. And below are my dialogue questions:

  1. What are my ends in mind? Not going to lie. The first year was terrifying for me.  Hoping to get through it was about all I wished for.  The second year I wanted to learn about the virus along with how to deal with it.  This year, I am going to master it.
  2. How do I know if I am getting there? The first year was a sacrifice. We passed the holiday family gathering to be cautious.  The second year we got together with limited family members for the holidays. This year, we will carry our “normal” activities to the extent possible.
  3. Are my time spent worthwhile?  A qualified maybe for the first year (lots of trials and errors as information about the Choronavirus was sketchy); a qualified yes for the second year; and shooting for a definite yes this year.
  4. Are my family needs being served?  Under the pandemic, relational needs have taken a backseat.  In many instances, it has been sacrificed in place of safety concerns. Speaking for myself, a definite maybe. 
  5. Are my health indicators (weight, blood pressures, etc.) on target? Interesting enough, my health indicators have stayed within their normal ranges.  This is without my marathon training for the past two years. Does that mean I have been able to adapt my life style?

This much I know: the Covid-19 will still be with us for a long while. In fact, all around as its variants continue to wreak havoc. Wherever I go, it’s there. Only difference is the severity. Be that as it may, my positive difference is that I will not only survive but thrive in spite of it.  

What difference has your life been under the pandemic?

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Week In Review – 9 Jan 2022

It’s a chilly week after the New Year, and the snow is finally melting here at Washington DC area. Who would have thought the snow caused a snow emergency. Luckily no one lost their life in the emergency, unlike a similar weather story that happened in Pakistan.

While our individual situations and circumstances are unique, living within any society means we must learn to adapt to the the larger context. Simply put there are rules we must follow. How much to change is best guided by our conscience.

That is why politicians have the unenviable job of finding common ground among their constituents. Because given a choice, people tend not to agree.  The case is exemplified by our less than stellar Choronavirus response in the US.  The pandemic is unrelenting going into its third years despite mass vaccinations.

And once again, the virus is putting our healthcare infrastructures at risk. Yes, different world leaders have tried different tact. China poses an interesting case.  With its sweeping lockdown and zero tolerance policy, will it be ready to host the Winter Olympics less than a month away?

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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To Change Or Not

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People like familiarity.  It is a safe choice that provides them reassurance. This applies to people, places and things we come into contact. By and large our everyday routine is mostly a repeat of what we did from the days before. If you are looking for growth, repeating same experience adds some efficiency to your routines but little learning.

Moreover, the familiarity can trap us in our own cocoons. Every time I take a trip, I look forward to coming home. The comforts of home offer a nice resting spot. But I would not hesitate to pack my bags and go back out again. Because travel brings change, and change is what brings growth. As long as I can, I want to learn and grow. 

Say, even if you are of the opposite – craving for stability – there may be little choice. Whether you recognized it or not, the only constant in life is change. Time waits for no one. While it can feel uncomfortable or scary even, it’s better to get in front of it.  How you prepare for the change matters.  

To begin, 1) start small.  Incremental change is much easier to adapt. You’re not swallowing more than you can chew.  2) Leverage the familiars. Your friends or family may have already taken the leap.  What are their lessons learned? Any advice? Lastly, 3) tie the experience back to your emotional truth , something you cared deeply. This way will ensure these bite-size or baby steps the most probability of adaption.

Not ready to sit back and watch the world goes by?  Why not give change a try?

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Let Conscience Be Your Guide

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Vaccinate or not? Do or don’t send a child to school? Storm the Capital? What’s the risk in taking the path?

Faced with life’s dilemmas, if someone would tell me what is right versus wrong will make my  decision easier. That someone, be it parents, teachers or role models, takes part in our maturing years and shapes our conscience over time. But as I grew older, I realized that “someone” really has to be no other than me. Specifically, my conscience.

It was Winston Churchill who said, “Rules were made for fools to follow and wise men to be guided by.”  Sir Churchill was not encouraging folks to break the laws but only to suggest that no one can tell you what is right or wrong.  Only you, yourself knows. “Following the rules” is a cop out to avoid thinking for yourself.

After all, the prize of being an adult is recognizing that we alone are responsible for our behaviors.

What would you do if no one is watching? Does that even matter?  Our behaviors are guided by our consciences. While ready-made answer does not exist for every situation, the process of working through the details/ steps to reach an answer, however painstakingly, gives us the confidence that we can be in control of our lives.

Trust it, use it, and let conscience be your guide.

Has your conscience been tested lately?

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