Everyone is talking about Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his health condition. Because he signed the Advanced Medical Directive, we know when the time comes, his family will have to honour his wishes and let him go. Mr Lee achieved many great things in his life and I hope he will go without regrets, because he did his best in helping to build the Singapore I call home. It does not matter if I disagree with some of the policies or methods he deployed, ultimately, this is a man who deserves our respect. Without him, Singapore would not be the country it is today. So please say “Thank you Mr Lee” and wish him a good journey.
The waves and waves of tributes on Facebook about Mr Lee (including this really good one by Bertha Henson) has turned my thoughts to death and the legacy one leaves behind when you die.
I’ve always been afraid of death. Every time I think about death, I feel my insides go cold. I get that fear washing over me when the thought of everything as I know it ending. Some say I should not feel this way. After all, I am a lapsed Catholic who still believes in a God and there being something after death.
However, I can’t help it.
I am not at peace with letting go of the world as I know it yet. There is so much more I want to see, experience and achieve. I was reminded of this yesterday by the conversation I had with my wife over dinner:
Me: 明天就是拜三了，很快啊。(It will be Wednesday tomorrow, that’s fast.)
Wife: 对啊，每个星期很快就过了。你的人生很快就过去了。(Yeah, every week is passing so fast. Your life will be over before you know it.)
She considers herself “a great demotivational speaker. ” and that it is “one of [her] completely useless talents.” She’s not wrong. If I were the kind of negative, depressed person, these daily conversations would really make me even more depressed. Fortunately, my attitude towards life is generally quite positive so such comments don’t affect me in that way. Instead, they serve as a reminder of what I need to do now before I run out of time to do so.
Most people have a bucket list. I call mine the “Some Day” list and I recently realised that on this list is a bunch of stuff I want to write. Maybe I’m really a writer but I didn’t know it til now. It may have taken me 35 years to realise it, but I would like to think it’s not too late.
So in the spirit of Getting Stuff Done #GSD, I am putting into motion 5 writing projects this year. As we say at KPI, Prolific Beats Perfect!
1) My Blog
I started this project just before my birthday. So far so good. Setting achievable goals have helped me maintain this habit. James Clear , author of Transform Your Habits, states you need more than the commonly quoted 21 days to form a new habit. In fact, on average, it takes 66 days but can really be anything between 18 days to 254 days. The good news is I’ve been writing 3 articles a week for 55 days. Just 11 more days and it should become automatic. At the very least, writing this blog has helped me by giving me clarity and helping me rekindle my love of writing. I have also realised that one of the best things about blogging is once I put things down on my blog, it becomes more of a reality for me and inspires me to make it happen. I’m actually enjoying the blogging process and it no longer seems hard. The posts flow quite easily now even though some days I have absolutely no idea what I am going to write about when I first sit down at my laptop.
2) A Business Book
I finished a book pitch earlier this month and it is undergoing review. The working title of my book is “The Unbusy Entrepreneur – How to unlock your time and use it to make more money.” With this book, I intend to use the knowledge and experience I have gained, from working in various small businesses and the multiple business ventures I have started, to help others. Specifically I want to help small business owners and entrepreneurs improve their productivity, unlock time to use on high value activities they enjoy and make more money at the same time. At the end of this month, I will be taking the “30k words in 30 days” writing challenge and hope to have the first draft of my book by the end of April. I know it seems incredibly ambitious and I would never have dared to do this a year ago. But this past year I’ve learnt that is really never a good time to write a book. I’ve witnessed people with way more on their plate get their book done and I know I can do it too.
3) A Children’s Book
This book is tentatively named “The Adventures of Kai Bunny – Family Hunting”. As the first book in the series, it will showcase the many different families Kai Bunny meets when she runs away from home to search for a new family. I’ve started discussion with an illustrator and am meeting her on Friday. Very excited to start working on this project because there are so few good books on the market that deal with alternative family structures. My plan is for this to be published both as an ebook and a physical book. Right now I am working towards publishing it by Children’s Day this year.
4) A Personal/How To Book
I wrote a little bit about in the last blog post. Our fertility journey was a long and winding one. I actually started a blog when we began the journey, but along the way, it became too hard to keep up with it, especially with the multiple failures. I also have short paragraphs of this book written in different formats. It’s one of my abandoned projects that I want to pick up and piece together. What I plan to do is write a book that is a cross between our personal story and a guidebook that can help others who are facing the same journey. This will likely take a bit longer, but my new commitment to it will be at least one chapter a month.
5) A Joke Website/Book
This is inspired by my mother. She really says the most hilarious things. I know there is this website “Shit My Dad Says” that has been turned into a best selling book. I think I can put together an equally good website or book quoting the ROFL moments I’ve experienced with my mom. At the same time, my close friend Liz has a bunch of really good stories about her mom that she wants to contribute. I’m now using this blog post to hold her accountable to starting this project. Babe, we have to do it! Let’s call it “Stuff Our Frigging Hilarious Asian Mothers Say!” or SOFHAMS for short. Ok… we can brainstorm for a better name later, but my point is we need to do it!
Perhaps these 5 projects are nothing compared to the legacy Mr Lee leaves behind. Yet, I hope by crossing them off my list, when it comes to the day it’s my turn to go, I can look back with less regrets.
So even though my wife is the world’s worst demotivational speaker, she’s actually quite a good motivational one. Her timely reminder about how short life is has kick started my motivation to continue doing instead of just dreaming.
What’s on your bucket list? What can you begin today that will help you stop dreaming and start doing?