Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lifestyle Kesihatan - Start Your New Mission, Life This New Year

EVERY year begins and ends the same. "See the world in green and blue, see China right in front of you, see the canyons broken by cloud, see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out."

Every year begins and ends with the promise of leaving the old behind, in resetting, in starting anew. Fresh. It is uncharacteristically temerarious. It is unreasonably adventurous. It is rooted in the conviction that somehow, someway, things will get better. In the fervent faith that the progress of time, that simply putting one step in front of the other in an effort to keep moving forward, will somehow wash away all of our previous sins.

Jan 1, more so than any other time of year, is about the future. Birthdays and anniversaries are rooted in nostalgia; in celebrating the past. The new year, however, is about all those things to come. It is, if anything, about forgetting the past.

So we make plans and resolutions, with great purpose, with determination. But most of all, with a sense of optimism. Where for the briefest of moments, we ignore just how difficult it all is. To teach our children. To cure the ailing. To fix our politics. To save the world. Because every year begins and ends with hope, with promise.

Alas, they are both feelings too often short-lived. For it isn't long before the confidence and good cheer that January proffers makes way to the usual frustration and fear, of Armageddon, of plague, of nuclear war, of one of a million violent and irregular convulsions that threaten to leave us for dead. For it isn't long before we are left shattered by the reality of everyday. By high-magnitude telluric waves that shatter the ground beneath our feet -- killing 300,000 people in under 40 seconds.

By massive indiscriminate mudslides that leave tens of millions displaced. By economic uncertainty. By the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship. By a carnival of violence, of lawlessness, of horror.

It is always the end of the world as we know it. We are always on crisis watch. The planet is dying. We're running out of food and water. And if the swine flu doesn't kill us, the bird flu eventually will.

These are the kind of presumptuous postulations and harried hypotheses that we have come to expect from those doomsayers among us. From Nostradamus to Paul Ehrlich to Glenn Beck. From communists and Republicans alike.

They are predictions that rely solely on the motivating force of fear. That the only way to call us to action is to threaten everything we hold dear. Our lives. Our religious doctrines. Our philosophies. Our freedoms. But more often than not, they only serve to leave us angry and scared, bitter and disgruntled. The leave us worse for wear. With little or no progress in sight.

Hope, on the other hand, is far more potent a motivator. Because it is rooted in the one crucial constant: the unyielding ingenuity of the human spirit. It is the singular reason why no doomsday scenario has ever come to pass. It is why they never do. Because in the aggregate, we are always improving.

Whenever we are inflicted with a new disease, we come together, we pool our information, we spare no expense in trying to find a cure.

Whenever a particular resource is wanting, its price increases, thus creating an incentive for us to discover more of it, to ration it, and to eventually develop alternatives.

Whenever our fellow man is left bruised and battered by mother nature, we do not, for even a second, flinch before sending our aid. Because it is as former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt said: "If your neighbour's house is on fire, you don't haggle over the price of your garden hose."

Human beings are the inexhaustible resource. We have tremendous capacity, to invent and to innovate, to adapt and to accommodate. This does not, however, imply that we should simply languish in some strangely serene sangfroid and await inspiration. We haven't yet discovered the panacea to our current crunch, to everything that troubles us, but until we do, we can all play our parts.

People will always remain the most common denominator for change. And the only way to affect great change in the world around us is to face it with great expectations. With that very same confidence by which we bring in the new year, ever year.

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