There was something in the June 2010 issue of Marie Claire Malaysia that struck a very loud chord with me. An article called’ Global Energy’ by Tan Lee Kuen talked about what six women from around the world do to stay healthy and preserve their well-being. One of the women is a nutritional therapist Alia Almoayed from Bahrain, who said something that stuck with me although I only glanced through the article at the time.

On the topic of exercise, the yoga enthusiast said:

“I’ve noticed over time that as life got more hectic with work, kids and duties, exercise was always the first thing to be dropped out of the daily schedule. So I decided to work my life around my yoga routine.”

You can download and read the article over at Alia’s blog.

Do you see how she makes perfectly good sense here? The kind of sense that smacks you in the middle of the forehead with the truth that most of us refuse to acknowledge?

We all have one or to important things in life. For most of us, it’s work. Not family, health or personal development. A lot of people thinks they can’t even afford any of the above without drawing a stable income.

Admitting that work is not your top priority in life makes you sound unreliable and undesirable as an employee. I imagine that most traditional employers feel more comfortable hiring someone who’d swear up and down that they will live and breath their job for ever and ever until they die regretting that they couldn’t have spent more time at work.

What kind of life is that?

I think the reason why I can relate to Alia’s exercise philosophy is because I’m kinda already doing it. Putting fitness above expected priorities like work.

Three times a week, which is pretty amazing because I was a very sedentary creature and happy about it until last year.

Crazy Monkey Defense (CMD) is on Monday, which is the day we all agreed on. I ended up being irregular a month in because of work, but after talking to my immediate boss, he doesn’t give me night functions on Monday any more. I usually get early ones instead, but it’s fair enough.

Kettlebell on Wednesday. There’s only two of us regulars in the class, so both of us feel obligated to show up so the other doesn’t have to suffer alone! No night functions coz Thursday is my day off.

And ballet on Friday, also a day off. This is the last month of class. I might replace it with something later on.

I make it a policy not to talk about work on my blog, because people who did that in the past usually find themselves awkwardly inconvenienced and/or unemployed, but I’ll bend it a little here for context.

Around June, I found myself thinking about work and where it is going. I didn’t feel challenged. I get a lot of assignments that I felt was inconsequential and plain boring. I knew that I could easily change that by having a quick work with my immediate boss, but I held back for some reason I couldn’t identify at the time.

I asked myself some key questions. Do I want to do the hard stuff at work so that I can go home feeling like my article might change things and people, maybe win recognition from my peers or even awards from Shell Kenyalang or Petronas?

No, I don’t. I’ll leave the real work to people who know this is their calling, and the awards to people who need the recognition or prize money to validate their existence. I just want to go home with time and energy for family, friends and me. Especially me.

Having easy things to do means that I’m not creatively exhausted at the end of the day. This is important because I’m trying to work my way back to a place I’ve lost and have been fighting to get back to since I started this job. I think I finally got there, but that’s a story for another day.

I am not and don’t want to be the best reporter in town. I want to be the person I can look back on with no regrets, no matter what I happen to work as.

After all, nobody lies on their deathbed and wishes they spent more time in the office.

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