Monday, January 01, 2007

Year of the Boar

The year 2006 was full of "first ever" things in my work and private life.

I started my new job as a consultant psychiatrist. This is the first "permanent" post in my career. (I could have got a "first bonus" were I working in Japan!) With this demanding job, I have been expected to learn quite a lot, including how to be a trustworthy senior clinician, excellent speaker or tough negotiator, in some of which I was not successful yet. Thanks to my lovely colleagues, I have enjoyed working in this job, and think I have been growing gradually.

This time last year, I never imagined that I would become a yoga freak. During the first half of the year, I was really into practicing "hot yoga", attending 3-4 classes per week. Several months into it, I realised that yoga is not good for your health: the harder you push yourself, the worse your physical condition gets. Apparently I should not have used yoga sessions for satisfying my competitiveness! So I just quit in early autumn. As an alternative, I started cycling to work. Again, I could not have imagined myself cycling on the busy streets of London 6 months ago, but here I am. It is satisfying when I manage to make the right turn in a huge crossing ahead of buses or taxis, or to go through a complex roundabout without stopping in the middle. In the coming year, I am planning to do inline skating more seriously.

I started my blog this March. Despite my worries that I would not be able to continue, I am still updating it. About half of my blog entries are work-related, and the remaining half are on some other things such as life in London, strang(!) British habits, etc. I made one of the purposes of this blog to introduce the British medical and mental health system to my former colleagues in Japan. As I continued, I have come to realise that perhaps I benefit more than my Japanese colleagues from writing about this complicated, but excellent (at least in some areas) system. My knowledge and understanding of and insight into various systems surrounding the health system and somewhat political issues have deepened because I had to make a conscious effort to learn and investigate a lot before writing. I am glad that I am still carrying on writing this blog, and my ambition is to start writing both in Japanese and English, to also target people who unfortunately cannot read Japanese. At present I am not brave enough to put this as one of my New Year resolutions for 2007, though.

I turned forty this December. In the Verse 4 of Analects Chapter 2, Confucius said that at the age of forty he had reached a stage in which he had no more "doubts". Interestingly, another translator interpreted "no doubts" as "no delusions". There exist a few different interpretations of this part by different translators. Here are some examples of the Verse 4, Chapter 2:

The Master said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
"At thirty, I stood firm.
"At forty, I had no doubts.
"At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
"At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
"At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right."

Translation by James Legge

Confucius said,
"At fifteen, I aspired to learning.
"At thirty, I established my stand.
"At forty, I had no delusions.
"At fifty, I knew my destiny.
"At sixty, I knew truth in all I heard.
"At seventy, I could follow the wishes of my heart without doing wrong."

Translation commissioned by William Cheung

Whether doubts or delusions, I still have both at forty. Perhaps this is because I could not clear the earlier passing stages successfully, or because I am not good enough to achieve any in the first place. Whatever the reason is, I will continue doubting and deluding day by day until I turn fifty, when I hope I will be able to touch the very edge of the passing stage for fifty, either my own destiny or the decrees of Heaven.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year time and peace and joy throughout the coming year!

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