Its been almost a year since my last trip out of Singapore. Clearing out my drawers for Chinese new year, I found a stash of foreign currencies. This is because I have a habit of keeping extra currencies after trips in the hope of another trip when I can use it! Sometimes when family or friends travel, I provide an exchange service or make a gift of spending money in these currencies.

Heres a short list of what’s in stock…

  • Hong Kong dollar coins
  • Chinese renminbi
  • Aussie dollars
  • Japan yen
  • Korean won
  • Indian rupees
  • Nepali rupee
  • Pounds Sterling
  • Euro dollar
  • US dollar
  • Malaysian ringgit

There would be a few more if I’d not given them away – Indonesian rupiah, Vietnamese dong, Israeli shekels, Thai baht.

So until my next trip or trips, or until someone i know travels, this stash stays with me.

Setting Goals

It’s already February, so I’m at least a month late, but I do want to talk about “resolutions”.

New Year resolutions are often just a list of behaviours one hopes to comply with in the course of the year, and I have been guilty of making and breaking some of the following…

  • I shall eat wisely
  • I shall be nicer to my mother / brother/ children
  • I shall study harder, save more money, exercise more frequently

For some reason, resolutions tend to be repeated year after year after year. I know.

I wonder if the problem is because a year is too short, and there’s always the next year, and the next… to accomplish what we could not complete this year. Meanwhile, the most important things in our life could be waylaid by resolutions that were not properly thought through. After all, we failed at them because other more important things came up. Say we wanted to eat healthily, but a friend insisted on having a nice meal. Between your friendship, having fun, and your resolution, guess which two won out.

So perhaps the better way of going about it is to figure what is most important to us in the longer term, and aim further down the line to accomplish this. Say, setting goals for 10 years, instead of just one year.

So in my early twenties, the 10 year goal could look like this:

  • pass college
  • get a job with good career prospects as soon as feasible
  • get married and have two children
  • buy a house

So these things should happen in 10 years’ time, or they might be accomplished sooner, in which case, in theory anyway, I can sit back and shake legs until the next 10 year period comes around. That’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? Nothing in there about being a perfect fuddy-duddy and always eating healthily and exuding kindness. You could say healthy eating and kindness are merely means to an end, being essential to the goal of getting married and having two children, so they should be practised anyway, but no need to be perfect.

So now, what would I like to accomplish in the next 10 years? To be honest, I can’t see that far. Somehow, life seems so full of uncertainty and variability right now, so I’m going to modify the technique and consider the next 5 years only.

Very briefly, in the next 5 years, this is what I would like to achieve:

1. To be fabulously fit

2. To travel to places I have never been about once a year

3. To be an expert in a chosen field in my career

Goals are goals because they should be set above the line of what would otherwise ordinarily happen. They must be something more which one aspires to. Hopefully, they are meaningful things one dreams about accomplishing, and would feel happy to achieve. Meanwhile life goes on – seeing to Mom’s needs, enjoying the moments, and taking care of the mortgage, the laundry, the dog.

I find setting a five year target focuses the mind, and gives one stronger purpose. What do you think?


Changing Styles

Mom had taken great care of her hair all her life. She would schedule regular visits to the hairdresser, and also spent time and effort maintaining her hairstyle at home. I remember electric rollers, plastic rollers, foam rollers, small, medium and large. She was fashionable too, and I remember a wardrobe filled with tailored clothes of all the colors of the rainbow. She purchased fabric, remembered what fabric she had, planned designs, and visited the tailor.

Sometime in the last decade or so, all this changed. First mom complained the hairdressers were too expensive, so she kept her haircuts to a minimum, and colored her hair at home. She was worried about the crime rate being high where she lived, and in order not to attract unwelcome attention, she wore old and plain clothes, stopped using make-up, and let her hair go.

Some of this behaviour was prudence, I’m sure. Yet I wonder. Is it a sign of impaired judgement brought on by early dementia? If so, the onset of dementia was insidious and crept up on us many many years earlier!

Yet sometimes the old mom is there. I brought her shopping about a year ago.. Let’s look at shoes, I said, you haven’t had a new pair for some time now. It was in Robinsons, and mom headed for a pair of stilettos such as she might have worn 20 years earlier. I laughed out loud and remember now she didn’t think it so funny.

Yesterday, we were passing some time in the sports section of a department store, and I rifled through the sportswear on the rack. Who are you buying for? mom asked, ever keen to give a helping hand.

Nowadays, mom isn’t so particular over what she wears, and over the last few months, I’ve noticed her efforts at matching clothes is improving. I don’t always think she is most appropriately dressed, but it’s okay, I can make allowance for her taste. Most importantly, I too have to remember what she’s been wearing so I can hint when it’s time to send those pieces to laundry!

And we visit the hairdresser whenever we must! Usually a couple of weeks overdue by the looks of things. I have written before how at the hairdresser, ¬†additional services are imposed on mom, who is gullible and suggestible. This is getting to be a problem. At the last place, when I went to pick mom up, I even found her hyper-excited, talking loudly and making strong protests about what the charges are likely to be. A lady there kept pushing her products and suggested “your good daughter will pay for them”. As soon as we left, mom ¬†updated me excitedly about how she spoke to them about Church and Religion. When I got her to a quiet place, I asked her why in the world was she proselytizing to them, and she said “They Wanted me to Teach Them, so I Did!” Luckily she soon calmed down, and I let it be.

I realise there will be those who prey on the older, weaker, gullible persons, and don’t think it is wrong to do so. I must find a new hairdresser for her, someone I can trust. Else I must schedule to sit there and wait it out with her, because mom behaves in my presence.