Life-changing Experiences

Photo from another water-rafting session in Bali, 2011. 3 years after the fateful near-death one. Yes, I tried it again. Because this one was milder.

In 2008, I almost died while water-rafting in Sabah with my friend when our little rubber dingy capsized in a muddy brown river that churned us like an egg beater on maximum power.

As the rushing river waters swallowed me, my last thoughts were, “I’m going to die here. What a stupid way to die!” and a feeling that there are still so much things in my life unaccomplished and unsaid. But somehow, the ragged life jacket I was wearing started working and I floated to the surface at a more peaceful part of the river downstream.

I thanked all the gods that day for my survival. But did this near-death experience change me? Not really. Because old habits die hard, I still lived life believing that nothing bad will happen to me, and besides swearing off water-rafting in dangerous waters in future, I didn’t change my life fundamentally.

So what really changed my life? Well, my girlfriend and soon-to-be wife, my relationships with my family, and my job.

I think the kind of job that you have, makes a big difference to your life. How far your office is from your home, how many hours you spend working, the kind of work you’re doing, the colleagues you have — all these make a bigger, more lasting impact on your life than a momentary near-death experience.

So that’s my consideration when I take on a new job or leave a workplace. Looking at my work experience: newspaper delivery boy, mover, janitor, kitchen steward, copywriter, scriptwriter, teacher; I think I’ve been enriched by these jobs and the people I meet along the way.

I believe (or I hope) that my next job and workplace will also be fruitful.

If you are also undergoing a change in your life now, I hope that things turn out well for you too.


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