Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bareno Run 2011

I must admit that I was never an athlete during my younger years. The only medal I won was a 4x400m run during my form 3's sports day back when I was in SAKTI. Oh you have no idea how proud I am of that trophy, it was the only one I possessed and actually won!

My parents are non-athletes, they always find it weird that me and my siblings are up into outdoors and adventures because them themselves are not like that. Even in our family, we don't have athlete's genetics running in our blood. I guess my ancestors are non-active bunch of people. :p

Running a marathon was always something that I must crossed out from my "to-do" list. Can you believe it that I never knew that marathon is actually 40km? I never thought it was that far of a distance, that's why when I told people that I wanna run a marathon, they will look at me with amaze and said, "You sure you wanna run a marathon?". And I answered enthusiastically, "Of course!".

But I have to take baby steps of course, 40km is quite a distance I must say.
So I decided to join a pre-marathon run called Bareno Run organized by The Running Club Bukit Jalil. They open 5km, 10km and 21km categories, and I signed up for 10km, which I glad I did, cause initially I planned to do 21km, which after trying to do 10km in the gym I feel it was kind of impossible for me.

So as usual, I dragged MHB into the party and believe me I have no idea if he can actually withstand a 10km run as I never saw him run before. Though I must admit that he has more stamina than I was remembering back how we survived the Kinabalu climb, I am strongly believe that he can do this too.

I did my training twice a week, 5km run everytime in the office gym and that 5km was so difficult until I feel that I should have registered for the 5km instead. But I told myself this isn't about winning the race, it's about making it to the finish line. As long as I can make it to the finish line, it means that I have won already, I have won against myself. My time record for 10km in the gym was 90mins, so if I could beat that time in the real 10km run, I would have been even prouder.

I never thought that there would be so much crowd as I never think that Malaysian are a bunch of active nationals (generalizations are bad, I know, pardon me!). But as I was standing side by side with other thousands of runners, preparing for the starting gun shot to fire, I was indeed proud of myself and for the others. They took the effort to wake up at 4am in the morning and geared up for the run.

I observed that there's so many kind of people joining the run, whoever said the run is only for fit people? I saw an old grandpa running pass me for 21km run, I saw an overweight girl running steadily in front of me, I even saw a down syndrome girl running bravily (is that a word?) alone and keep on going. They definitely motivated me to do more, to push myself harder. I did learn something out of the run. For you out there, who never challenged yourselves for anything, I say get up from your bed on a lazy weekend and do something about it.

Trust me, running on the streets are far more fun and interesting than running in the gym. I hardly feel the distance at all as when I was reaching the finish line, I heard MHB said to me, "This was it? We finally made it!"

And guess what? I did beat my own record! I made it to the finish line at 75mins. Though I wasn't in the top 300 for women category, but I was proud of myself. ~give myself a pat at the back~

Now I'm hungrier for more run. Let's just see if I can actually manage to complete a full 40km run. ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Marriage : love, culture, or obligation?

I must admit that a girl's greatest goal and dream of her life is all about marriage. All of her younger life has been spent on preparing her for one, like learning the house chores, learning how to cook, how to treat the husband and kids by observing their mothers, aunts and other married women's life.

Somehow this has become the life cycle of a women, it's not a written law that this cycle has to be followed, but most of people will expect us to continue this cycle, if not, you'll be charged as not normal or people might accuse that there must be something wrong with you. I know this cause I've been there.

I used to believe in true love, I used to believe in marriage, I used to believe in sharing life with the Beloved one and produce cute youngsters to protect and to love them. But as grow older, as I watched the married life of others around me, as I tried to imagine how my perfect married life would be, I started to realize that my reality is just too different from others or probably I'm hoping for something far more unrealistic than others.

Sometimes I asked myself, is it a must to get married?
Why people get married?
What is a marriage?
Is it as simple as finding a partner and vow to stay loyal to that person for the rest of your life, through thick and thin forever?

From Islamic point of view:

Nikah is an Arabic term used for marriage. It means "contract". ("Aqd in Arabic). The Quran specifically refers to marriage as "mithaqun Ghalithun,". Which means "a strong covenant".

As a meaningful institution, marriage has two main purposes:
 1. To ensure preservation of the human species and continuation of the human race
 2. To provide spiritual and legal foundation of the family

Through Marriage, the conjugal relationship between a man and a woman becomes lawful. It provides a legitimate outlet for recreation as well as procreation. Islam regards sex as natural and good, but restricts it to the partners of marriage so as to ensure the responsibility for its consequences.

Marriage provides spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological companionship. This companionship generates and sustains love, kindness, compassion, mutual confidence, solace and succor. It lays a spiritual and legal foundation for raising a family. The children born of the matrimonial union become legitimate and mutual rights of inheritance are established.

--> so summed up marriage is about having companionship, legitimating sex, producing legal breeds and expanding generations.

Still not a strong reason why I should get married ~though I wanted babies of my own and a partner for life. But I'm sure there's a bigger objective about marriage not only what is stated above.
Let's dig a little deeper, what marriage is about? What do we have to compromise in a marriage? Are we ready for a commitment? This is what you have to ask yourself before you tie up your wedding vows with another person.


I loved an article from Abdul Baha which explains on Marriage and Love. It's a bit too long but it's worth a read --> Marriage and Love by Abdul Baha;

According to Abdul Baha, in marriage, love needs to be manifested in a cooperative and sharing manner and it is directly related to the maturity level of the husband and wife.

The love in marriage is not straight forward, it's a feeling developed after undergoing few levels of maturity, explained below;

Level 1: Finding Mutual Point of Attraction
The first dimension of love between a man and a woman is attraction. The beauty of an individual attracts the attention of another, encourages an approach, and prepares the way for a response on the part of the attractive individual. If there is considerable mutual attraction a love relationship begins.
Physical attraction, however, is only the first dimension of love in any marriage. Once an individual falls in love, the beloved becomes a constant companion in the lover's mind and heart.
Gradually other attractive aspects of the person, such as thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations assume greater significance. This process leads to a higher level of closeness and intimacy between the husband and wife and results, not infrequently, in each choosing the other as the point of attraction. Here, "point of attraction" refers to a state in which all of the interest, attention, and yearning, in short, all of a person's love, is directed towards one object, person, or idea.

Level 2: From Mutual Need Gratification to Mutual Purpose
Next to mutual attraction, the first common dimension of what couples usually call love is mutual need gratification. Every human being has diverse needs which can best be fulfilled in the context of an intimate relationship. Some of these needs may be due to a deprived or troubled life history of either or both persons involved in the relationship, while other needs are basic requirements for the overall growth and quality of life of any individual.
The second category of needs relating to the direction and quality of life are also of considerable importance with respect to individual growth. Human conditions and functions such as intimacy, sharing, giving and receiving, encouraging and being encouraged, desiring and being desirable, helping and being helped, as well as caring and being cared for, all require the existence of a meaningful, trusting relationship which is best achieved in the context of a healthy marriage.
Many couples marry as a direct response to one or both of these categories of needs. The combination of mutual attraction and mutual need gratification creates an overcharged emotional bond and fosters an illusion of eternal, romantic, and unconditional love.

According to Abdul Baha too, it is very important that couple understands and respects each own's personal plans. It is natural for human beings to pursue goals and make plans. In fact, when a person is without plans and goals, he becomes disheartened, depressed, and disinterested in life and all that it entails. Due to this fundamental need, there must be opportunities in the context of marriage for both husband and wife to pursue plans and goals both individually and as a couple.

Individual goals and projects shape our life processes, giving direction and meaning, as well as creating motivation for further achievement with a consequent sense of satisfaction and pride. Every human being needs such experiences on an ongoing basis. Through these experiences, the individual gains a sense of identity and worth and contributes to his own and society's progress and growth.

Returning to the theme of personal goals and plans, it is obvious that both husband and wife must create opportunities in their marriage for the achievement of their personal objectives and projects. In a healthy marriage, these objectives and projects need to be in harmony and coordination with the goals and plans of the marriage. Some of the most obvious prevalent goals in contemporary marriage are: the accumulation of wealth, social advancement, bearing and educating children, and finally providing for retirement. Many couples spend all their efforts and time in the pursuit of these goals.

Hence Marriage is a natural, extremely effective milieu for the development of love, provided that the husband and wife are aware of the dynamics of the development of love in human relationships and make conscious, enlightened efforts to facilitate the development and refinement of their love. Such a process requires willingness on the part of the husband and wife to assist each other in their attempts at growth, to choose meaningful mutual purpose and direction, to be willing to suffer the pain of love and growth, and to sacrifice, whenever necessary, their material pursuits for spiritual objectives.

~ From my opinion, Marriage is never a culture, never an obligation. It is what is nurtured from pure love and willingness to share your life, goals and dreams with someone and help them to grow. It strengthened the relationship, develop loyalness to one another and it creates a sense of belonging.

In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love. It's the nature of human to love and wants to be loved.

The objective to get married --> strongly because of LOVE.
For those happily married couples, I envy you cause you are blessed with someone who will love you until the end of time. Love them back unconditionally and appreciate their presence as for some of us we are still searching and waiting.

I fight for what I believe in. And I believe in LOVE & MONEY. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mid-life crisis : isn't it too early for me?

First of all, what is midlife crisis? I'm sure you're all wondering what it means.

Have you watched Julia Robert in Eat-Pray-Love? That is how a midlife crisis would look like (that's my ideal way of midlife crisis, most women would undergo this kinda process, don't worry).
It happens during the stage of life where people would assume that you have already settled down and reached your highest peak or the best time of your life, but instead of continuing the good thing you have been doing for years, you suddenly turned your back on it and start fresh of a completely new thing.

I'm surrounded with lotsa middle aged people around me, and from my observation, midlife crisis is not something which is not expected. One day this one person is the hottest women in office who loves her job, and next thing we know she resigned and planned to join a missionary (volunteery) work in Africa. When I asked, why? She's having a great life now, why quit? And people told me, She's just having her midlife crisis. So I said to myself, Oh this midlife crisis is so cool. Or probably it's just a cooler way of saying that we're quitting our current life and wanna start over.

Should I have my midlife crisis too? (ignore the fact that I just reached my quarter life par, if I lived up to 100 years that is :p)

Let's try to understand, what is a midlife crisis?

Nothing is so cliche about a midlife crisis. If you talk to middle-aged men and women who have experienced divorce, you will find that many of them will tell you their spouse changed overnight and became someone who discarded all that was once important to him for a new life that was all about what he wanted.

A midlife crisis is experienced between the ages of 40 and 60. It was first identified by the psychologist Carl Jung and is a normal part of the maturing process. Most people will experience some form of emotional transition during that time of life. A transition that might cause you to take stock in where you are in life and make some needed adjustments to the way you live your life. Most seem to come through the process smoothly without making major life changes.

For some, a midlife crisis is more complicated. It can be an uncomfortable time emotionally which can lead to depression and the need for psychotherapy. Those who have a hard time with this transitional stage might experience a range of feelings such as:
- Unhappiness with life and the lifestyle that may have provided them with happiness for many years.
- Boredom with people and things that may have been of interest to them before.
- Feeling a need for adventure and change.
- Questioning the choices, they have made in their lives and the validity of decisions they made years before.
- Confusion about who they are and where they are going.
- Anger at their spouse and blame for feeling tied down.
- Unable to make decisions about where they want to go with their life.
- Doubt that they ever loved their spouse and resentment over the marriage.
- A desire for a new and passionate, intimate relationship.

Most people who have a difficult time during midlife and go into crisis mode do so because of external factors. They may be experiencing stress in their life that makes the transition more difficult or they may have childhood issue that were never dealt with that come to the surface during this time. Some external factors that may cause this time in life to be problematic are:
  • Debt: It is easier to accumulate debt due to the availability of credit cards and loans. We are bombarded by credit card companies and it is easy to find yourself with large balances owed. We live in a society where it is commonplace to be living above our means. Finding yourself middle aged, in debt and facing retirement can add stress to an already stressful time in life. A normal reaction would be to seek help from a debt management company or consolidate your loans. A person who is finding it difficult emotionally during midlife might find it easier to walk away from their family in order to rid himself of what he feels is the cause of all the debt.
  • Significant Loss: The death of a parent or family member can cause grief, which is difficult enough to come to terms with, without having to also cope with the feelings of a midlife transition. Put the loss of a loved one with the feelings that accompany midlife and the whole process becomes bewildering and overwhelming.
  • Avoidant Personality: If a person has a tendency to avoid conflict in their personal relationships, suffers from feelings of inadequacy, are emotionally distant and has low self – esteem they will find midlife transition harder to navigate. This personality type has a deep fear of feeling shame and rejection. Such feelings will keep them from seeking help should their emotions become overwhelming. More than likely, they will run from their problems instead of trying to find solutions to them. It’s this personality type that normal ends up in divorce court during midlife.
Whether there are external factors that make the process more difficult or not, there is an internal process that is gone through. If a person lacks understanding of the process, she may find himself making irrational decisions she may later regret such as leaving a job, getting a divorce and throwing away the security that she built during the first part of her life.

However some people manage to navigate a midlife crisis, learn from it and move on to a more rewarding life. I hope when my midlife crisis finally came, I would be able to lift myself further up and get as much support as I can from my loved ones.