April 22, 2015


Recently in a casual chat with fellow players after our weekly badminton games, someone asked me … “Shiek, why you stopped working so early lah, now you have nothing to do … how do you past time ah?” From the tone and manner, I guess he thinks that my life is pretty boring and very mundane day in day out. Anyway, I played along his notion and said to him … “Ya lor, Mondays to Fridays, I do nothing … Saturday and Sundays, I rest”.

But really, it is not like that.

I don’t know why many assumed that people like me, who have stopped working permanently have NOTHING to do … like we are all sitting at home rotting away, slowly dying uselessly.

Look, there are many people like me who left the working world early because we have had enough of the rat race. We stopped before we start to trade away our mental and physical health in the relentless chase for career, success and recognition … we quitted chasing for more than what we needed.

We don’t work ... so, on one hand we don’t get the frustration of long traffic jams every morning, we don’t have to agonize over ridiculous deadlines every day, we don’t have to stay back for tedious assignments every so often, we don’t have to backstab anyone in ‘blame storming’ meetings every week, we don't have to type long reports every month, we don’t have to worry about budgets, profits and loss every quarter and we don’t have to get caught in scheming office politics with everyone.

But on the other hand, we also don’t get to enjoy the perks … we don’t get paid to sit in a nice office, we don’t get to hang out in stylish cafes to see and to be seen during breaks, we don’t get treated to fancy restaurants every other day, we don’t get to go entertain and be entertained in posh clubs every now and then, we don’t get to be invited to glamorous social gatherings every week, we don’t get to fly business class to meetings every month and we don’t get to go on grand incentive trips every year.

BUT … that doesn’t mean that we have NOTHING to do.

There is a lot to do … depending on your mental and physical well being … some can be as exciting as hiking the Himalayans, while others are more adventurous like backpacking to see the world or maybe just trek some smaller local mountains and jungles.

At other times maybe one can engage in those less physical endeavors. How about traveling to see places? How about enrolling in home-stay programs to learn different cultures and experience diverse traditions?

Maybe get involved in social and community projects … one can keep themselves active and occupied by helping out in the many soup kitchens and charity homes in their areas or make visitations to orphanages and old folks’ homes.

And keep on learning … spend time on self improvement activities. Read, study and write subjects of interest, try 'self-taught' social dances, exercise routines or even music … maybe learn handyman or arts and crafts skills. And after that, teach what you have learned to others who are interested.

Last but not least, one important thing that people (who did not give much thought to in their pursuit of success and recognition) can do when they decide to quit the working world … put more time and effort on building strong values among family, relatives and friends … spend quality time with wife and children, provide care for aged parents, create activities together with loved ones and invite or visit relatives and friends to build close relationships and meaningful friendships. 

Yes, for those like me ... there is plenty to do and plenty of time to do it. Not just a list of physical and adventurous challenges that are fun and exciting but also a variety of things that can improve ourselves morally, add depth to our knowledge, builds closeness with those around us and in the meantime, maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Let me make a point here … for people like me … it is not that we don’t have things to do, we just don’t have work to do.