So earlier today there was this "majlis persaraan" thing for a teacher at my school. The usual stuff ensued (cue sad music, sad-sounding MC, the life-story of retiree). The retiree couldn't make it to the assembly, but we held it anyway, in memory of his long service to the school.
What caught me about the whole thing was the life-story bit. The person on the mic started with something clichéd like "dilahirkan pada bla bla bla di bla bla bla didalam keluarga yang bla bla ba" and I zoned out to have a little swim with my thoughts.
It's usually the same old same old when it comes to majlis-majlis persaraan in schools. Through my 10 years spent as a student in Malaysian schools and couple of years in school as a teacher, it's more or less like what I mentioned above. The template doesn't vary very much. And there'll always be the listing down of the retiree's life achievements while they were in the work force. And when I thought about this, I asked myself "when people read out your life highlights in your majlis persaraan, how many points will they have to talk about? Will it be something like: lahir, belajar, kerja, kawen, bersara then tunggu mati? What am I going to do with my time here while I'm still young and able? How is my life story going to inspire others? What will be my legacy?"
These questions are all ambitious ones, and I think that reveals me to be somewhat of an ambitious person. I can only attribute that to my surroundings and the people I have been exposed to and that have inspired me. I aspire to be somewhat like them in a sense that I want to work towards making this world a better place and help other people feel like they can achieve things if they really put their minds to it and work hard towards achieving their goals.
And I do understand that some people find that the lahir-belajar-kawen-kerja-bersara-mati lifestyle to be the one they are most comfortable with, and to that I say more power to them. Different people look for different things in life, and no one's inherently better than anyone else in that regard. As long as we strive to contribute positive things to our surroundings, that's a massive thumbs-up already.
May we all find what we are looking for.