Archive for July, 2012

Busy? Got a minute…

July 9, 2012

o there I was sitting at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV), waiting for our number to be called, with my 18-year old nephew Pax: he needs a State id. I should have brought my e-book, not knowing there were lots of people waiting for their turn.

I was sitting beside a gentleman who was busy reading his newspaper. I looked at our number and the number currently being serviced; this is going to be long wait. My nephew was deeply focused with is his cellphone playing games without care to his surroundings. Not much of a conversation there, besides, have you ever had a conversation with teenager. Somehow the only vocabulary they seem to know is “yes”, “no”, or “I don’t know.”

So I turned to the gentleman beside me:

“Excuse me, are you finished reading the other sections of your paper? Can I borrow them?”

I was saved from the long wait. Thank you. It was the opinion section of the New York Times Sunday edition. That’s cool. What caught my attention was the essay by Tim Kreider “The Busy Trap” and I want to share this with you. It is a well written article on the trap we create for ourselves: We are always busy. Even our children, we load up their schedule with soccer, band practice, art classes, ballet, etc., that they are also always busy at an early stage.

Busy is like a badge of honor worn proudly by some. The author summarized it well:

“The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen….”

During my medical absence from work, I made a commitment to prioritize what is important: life, family, and friends. Since returning to work, I see reflections of my former self in others of committing long hours to work. I understand it is a new business environment out there but since being reminded of my mortality by cancer, I have a different perspective now. Simply put, I love my work but not more than my love for life.

Some religions believe that the life we have now is the life we have in heaven. It can be true. It is the choice we make that brings out heaven or true happiness as we see it. Get out of the trap.


P.S.  Still training hard and trying to cool off.

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My cousin Manuel.

July 1, 2012

o the family he is known as Noli. I call him Kuya (Elder) Noleng and he is the oldest of my cousins on my father’s side. He passed away this morning after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer six-months ago.

It brought back memories of my recent visit to him.  It was last week, Monday (June 25), when I was in the NY area on business.  I really took the time to see him because I knew he was not doing well (see my previous post June 7).  Besides he was supportive of me when I was first diagnosed in March 2008 and I wanted to see while he still recognizes me.

Upon seeing me, he recognized me right away but was unable to talk much. I told him I brought the greetings of my mom and all the family back home, and he smiled.  It was hard seeing him frail but he is still the same Kuya Noleng to me. He gave instructions to prepare a room for me to stay, thinking I was there to stay for a while. I told him I could not stay since I have business meetings to attend to the next day. He understood.

Among the cousins, it was only him and I who were touched by cancer. His life was taken away by cancer while mine is still to be decided. We inherited the cancer gene, Kuya. I have long accepted this disease and have learn to savor each day that is given to me. It me me aware of the importance of family and the true meaning of life. While you have moved on, I am left to carry-on your legacy fundamental to our family: respect, hard-work, and love of family.

I still remember the last words you spoke to me:

“Thank you for coming to visit me. I apologize for not being able to speak longer.”

My heart broke when you told me that for it is I who have to be thankful for your guidance when I first came to America. It is I who have to be thankful for the moments we spent together at you house. And, it is I who have to be thankful for paying it forward for me. I am still here but you are not. You will be miss, Kuya. Thanks.


P.S. This November 4 at the NYC marathon, I will dedicate my run for you, Kuya.

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