The last few days have been anything but uneventful.

On Sunday, I attended a wake. My uncle-in-law’s father has just passed away.

On Monday, I appeared on the front page of Lianhe Wanbao.

And, today (Tuesday), I met my role model – Anthony Robbins… for the second time. Well, technically, I did not meet him i.e. personally, but I was one of the 5000 people who attended his ‘Unlimited Power’ motivational seminar.

It is amazing how these 3 incidents are so unrelated, yet closely linked.

Let’s start off by talking about the wake.

Last Sunday was the first time I attended a Christian wake. Previously, the only wakes I have attended are of Buddhist and Taoist nature. Lots of chanting and praying. This time, it was actually a church service. We missed the beginning as we were not aware that there was actually a ‘service’. By the time we arrived, the Priest was already half way into his sermon. After his sermon, the Priest invited family members to give ‘testimonials’.

I have actually never met my uncle-in-law’s dad. I have heard of him now and then in snippets of our conversation, but I know nothing of this man whose wake I was then attending.

The first to speak was his daughter. She talked about her father… how he was a traditional father figure when she was a little girl. And how she eventually got to know him in her adulthood. She talked about his compassion for others, especially for the domestic workers in their home, as well as the less fortunates. And even on his death bed, his instructions were clear and simple. “Fuss-free funeral please. So that I do not create too much inconvenience for others.”

The second to speak was his grandson. In his speech, he brought his grandfather back to life. I could imagine what sort of grandfather he was. The type of grandfather that every grandchild would love to have. Doting and loving, and always with words of wisdom to impart.

By the end of the testimonials, I draw a simple but firm conclusion. This is a man who is extremely well-loved by his family, his staff and his friends. And without a doubt, he has lived a full and meaningful life.

It then struck me…

How would I want to be remembered? If I were able to attend my own wake or funeral, what sort of testimonials would I be pleased to hear?

Day and night, we toil. We work hard to achieve our goals and dreams. We want to achieve financial freedom. We strive to attain what we believe would give us happiness. We are chasing after a certain something, which we believe would give us that feeling of elation. And in the midst of it, we often overlook things that are important to us.

It was a rude wakeup call to me. I am chasing after so many goals, so many accomplishments. And sometimes at the expense of time with my family, time with my closest friends.

It forced me to think about my priorities. It forced me to stare hard at my schedule. It forced me to look deep within and ask some hard questions.

To tell you the truth, I do not have all the answers. But I am happy to have started the process of scrutinising my goals, my objectives and my priorities…

Yet, my goals have led me to places I never dreamt were possible. For example… the front page of a national daily…

(to be continued)