Week In Review – 17 Oct 2021

It’s mid-October and looks like the 2021 will follow the last year as the second of the Coronavirus years.  Whether one realizes it or not, the effect of the pandemic seeps deeply into our social fabric. No one is exempted – young and old, healthy and sick, rich and poor.

No surprise, Mother Nature keeps her schedule.  Leaves are turning into colorful pixels for a last moment of glory before saying goodbye.  With the cooler weather ahead, will we fare better or worse than last year? How would the year be remembered? Only time will tell. 

Instead of getting frustrated, I continue to embrace my retirement choice in keeping my life less complicated. This perspective enables me to stay more in tune with my inner child, and not let the politics and other less palatable events bother me too much.

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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Life Under Pandemic

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Nobody asked for the Covid-19. It sorta just happened, at least that is what we know so far. The changes brought on by the pandemic caught people by surprise.  In other words, no crystal ball nor big data predicted how our lives would be impacted. We are figuring it out as the history unfolds.

For instance, who would have thought the Covid-19 would become the deadliest epidemic in the US? Or how vulnerable our society is structured to handle such crisis? The reputation of being the most developed and the wealthiest country in the world did not spare us from the virus’ wrath.  Some would argue that it might have hurt us.

Be that as it may, each one of us has to evaluate on a personal level how best to deal with the unexpected challenges as well as the unfolding events.  Staying at home, wearing mask, vaccination, and booster shot? No textbook solution or established wisdom can shine a light on the path forward.  In fact, lots misinformation are making an uncertain situation more confusing.  

Nevertheless, not all changes are the same or bad. We have an obligation to re-exam our situations and evaluate the available options when called upon.  Be it working from home, business transformation or new development, we hold the key to leading the change we want, especially when it comes to our personal life.

After nearly two years of the Covid-19, how has you life changed? For better or worse? And why?  

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Autumn Leaves

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One of the iconic images of Fall for me here at the Mid-Atlantic is the leaves. The Autumn foliage with its brilliant colors and the piles after piles of them fallen on the ground represent the changing season from Summer to Fall. It is one of Mother Nature’s unmistakable masterpieces.

As beautiful as the images are, equally memorable is the work involved in raking and bagging of these leaves. I used to think it will never end (it does) as the leaves kept on falling from the trees. But now, I know better to leave them alone. Better not only for my back but also for the environment as well. 

You see, as part of the nature’s cycle of life, the leaves if left alone can reduce greenhouse gas (because of our landfills of yard trimmings), serve as natural fertilizer for the lawn, and sources of food for the birds and other animals. Not to mention, they give a brown coat to the bare yard during the cooler months.

So I no longer slave myself over the leaves anymore.  Just run the mulching mower over the leaves to break them down and let the nature does its work to take care of the rest. It’s good for me and the environment.  A win-win. 

Can you think of other win-win solutions to the climate change?

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Covid-19 Impact On Supply Chain

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Southwest Airline canceled over 2,000 flights this past weekend. And the cancellation is continuing.

It was not because a strike due to pilots called in sick as rumor had it, but a genuine lack of staff resulted from the pandemic to meet the demand of travelers. Southwest isn’t the only one. American, Spirit and even the Transportation Security Administration are facing similar problems. Imaging what will happen during the holiday travel seasons.

What happened in the airport is also manifesting in other modes of transportation. Ships are backlogged at anchors due to “terminal yards, overflowing warehouses, rail yards, and truckers are all maxed out.” Our supply chain is coming to a grinding halt, and the impact is felt at the stores where consumers are facing empty store shelves.

If you feel the panic setting in, there is no need to rush to the store and stock up on toilet paper or other essentials.  The US supply system is not broken, juts backed up.  Until the supply and demand catch up with each other, one may have to pay more than usual for certain merchandises.

When will that balance be restored? Your guess is as good as mine. Given the pandemic is on-going, this holiday season will be for sure a tough sale. 

Was Amazon smart to have its Prime Day sale early in June this year?

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What Retirement Means To Me, Part 2

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Retirement is a new chapter.  It has allowed me to accomplish items from  my bucket list. If you don’t know what a bucket list is, let me introduce you to Lesley Carter. You can read all about her adventures.  Here are some of mine: be a leisure class, see the Northern Lights, and visit Machu Picchu.

Being a leisure class: I am more laid-back sans management/ leadership mandates from higher up.  At the same time, I have shed some of my extrovert persona. Which means, I no longer have the urge to speak up in situations, nor push people to meet deadline or adhering to schedule.  Those were the burdens of a manager of people.

With fewer people to fend for, my priorities are simpler.  Any important milestones, tasks, or bucket list items, for example, get handled according to my preferences. As a result, I have more leeway with my time, energy and resource.  And more opportunities avail themselves to me.

Do I miss the people?  To be honest, a little.  Most of relationship at work was task oriented.  I had little interactions with people who had no business to my job.  Sure I volunteered for office picnic or holiday party duty.  But again those were the leadership tasks that I no longer responsible for.

Are you ready to retire?

Part 1, here.

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Our Inner Child

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A purpose driven life sounds productive, but it can actually be the opposite. The assumption is that life must have a purpose.  Which misguides people into assorted of learned behaviors that veered far from our basic nature, our inner child – doing things simply for the joy of doing it.

In other words, no purpose, no goal, and no competition, just pure enjoyment, is our inner child at play. The creative and fun feelings are innate to all of us.  It just that for some the feelings got overtaken by social scripting.

You see, the “fun” defined by adults is much like work to children.  Is there any doubt why our little Johnny or Mary can’t grasp it? To the children, adults try too hard, make things way more complex, and forget how it is really like to be a child.

Enjoying the activity for its own sake – whether it’s playing dirt, climbing tree, or simply spinning around in circle. Everyone went through them growing up.  But calluses grow over time, and those feelings become indistinguishable.

So it’s worth repeating that no purpose, no goal, and no competition and just pure enjoyment is our inner child at play.  And it’s never too late to reconnect with our inner child. How, you ask? 

First, focus on the self and not the others.  What is your heart saying? Second, letting go of social inhibitions that are holding you back. Dance as if no one is watching. And, third, write your worries in the sands, and let the tides wash them away.  Sure you can do it.

What ways do you get in touch with your inner child?

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Peddling In America

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, to ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ~ The Preamble, US Constitution

Do these words ring hollow? Are the ideals by our founders fleeting from the very people these lofty words are supposed to inspire and represent? I hope not.

The fact is this country is so divided, it seems like we are living in two America’s. Polarization is prevalent as such only the extreme voices get heard: rich and poor, vaccinated and anti-vax, Black/Brown and White, Democrat and Republican, us and them, etc. are words commonly featured in the headlines.

Is it even possible to reaching common ground anymore? Or is that a phrase of the bygone days? Republicans say it will not help the Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. Even the pandemic vaccination, a life and death issue, the country is stuck at over half (only 57% of the population is fully vaccinated). What is going on?

Are we too powerful, rich, or complacent that we need something or someone to kick our bottoms in order to see the light in our founders’ words? What worse, the media as well as politicians, are shamelessly peddling this polarization for their self interests. The outcome is a  further divided country.

We the People should reject these schemes and focus on reaching for common grounds before we get knock down on our bottoms for good.  Trust me, plenty of others out there would love to see us fail.

Can you spot the peddling that has been on-going?

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Week In Review – 10 Oct 2021

A recent trip to Alaska has made me appreciate the seasonal change here in the Mid-
Atlantic. Looking around, leaves are on the grass, pavement, everywhere else. They fall like the rain from trees. Right on cue, the natural’s hue is turning from green to yellow to orange-brown.  No mistake, it is Autumn.

And this weekend indicates the Fall marathon season has re-started after being shuttered for two years. Is it a sign that we are turning the corner on the Coronavirus pandemic? Perhaps. The numbers seem to suggest so (albeit not soon enough). Eventually the virus will run out its course.  

But the impact of the pandemic is long to be felt. Supply chain delays from labor, commodity, and transportation shortages will make this holiday season again less merry and store shelves more empty.  Our struggles will continue. Oddly, today is the World Mental Health Day.  I wonder if those self-serving politicians care.

Stay safe and have a nice week.


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Marathon Weekend

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Two big races this weekend, Boston and Chicago marathons.  Both are major races attracting hundreds if not thousands of participants.  Boston is on Monday (Columbus Day), and Chicago is tomorrow.  And the Boston Marathon offers a virtual race option which takes place between the Friday and Sunday prior.

I am not racing in either.  But to all those who are, I give my wholehearted cheer. Training for and running a marathon are no easy tasks.  Let alone during a pandemic and dealing with all the Covid-19 restrictions. Their perseverance and dedication are hallmarks of marathoners everywhere.

To me these folks are the early adapters to a perhaps back-to-normal racing season. Personally I would feel uncomfortable to train and race during the pandemic.  The stress of a marathon training lowers one’s immune system, plus with the Coronavirus,  breakthrough infection happens even for the vaccinated.

Therefore, I don’t know when I will be ready to race.  Nevertheless my hat off to those who are.

Are you ready to race?

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Doubting Self?

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My mom is approaching 90 years old.  It’s a blessing that I still have her in my life.  And in mixed feelings, I get to witness what aging is like for her and possibly a preview for me about the future.

My mom laments often how she no longer can function as she could before: can’t see nor  hear as clear, can’t walk as far, and can’t remember as well.  All normal and age related conditions, I understand.  Nevertheless, these comments frustrate me on several levels.

For one, there is little I can do for her about her declining senses and deteriorating abilities. Other than reminding myself to be more patient and tolerant, I don’t know how to address her predicament. It’s a helpless feeling. And when she starts to doubt herself about her capabilities, it makes me sad.

Seeing my mom’s aging reminds me of what’s awaiting for me. Yes, I consciously try to stay healthy by eating right and exercise regularly.  But in a real sense, I am delaying the inevitable, a fate that all of us will face.

One day, when I start to doubt myself, I will have to figure out how to deal with it.  But for sure that will be the day I loath.

Do you think the definition on quality of life evolves over time?

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