I live by only a few rules in life but I faithfully subscribe to the principle of being prepared. So I have a market list when I go to the supermarket, an agenda when I hold a meeting and a detailed itinerary when I go on a trip.

This year, though, I was completely unprepared for many things. I was not prepared for a suspiciously malignant cyst. I was not prepared for surgery. Most of all, I was not prepared for a cancer diagnosis.

I learned a lot this year—mostly stuff I’ve preached in the past. But you know what they say—you preach best what you most need to learn.

No matter how you plan, you can’t thwart God’s plans. You may be Superwoman but your super powers come from the divine. So when God deems it fit to clip your wings, you bow your head and say, God, I trust in the plan—your plan.

Yes, sometimes, my writing takes on a melancholic tone. Why? Because Superwoman, despite her super powers, has a human heart. I won’t pretend that some days, I am sad. But most days, I am happy and hopeful.

To those who ask often about me but never really ask me directly, I want you to know that I feel good. And in fact, most days, I feel great. But as you know, feeling great is not always an accurate indicator of the state of your health. Forgive me but cancer really took the wind out of my sails.

All we can really do is live well, pray hard and follow doctor’s advice. Always.

I was scheduled to go on a trip when my primary-care doctor who is also my cousin, raised the red flag. Sensing my anxiety, she told me, “Why don’t you go on the trip first and do the scan later so that if the outcome is bad then it won’t ruin your trip.”

“No,” I told her, “God led us here. There must be a reason. Besides, not knowing will simply torture me. Good or bad—I need to know. Let’s do it now.” And so we did it. The outcome of the scan turned out to be bad. But the trip turned out to be a God-send. It prepared me for surgery.

God has perfect timing.

Too much of anything can never be a good thing. I worked a lot—maybe too much. I completely overlooked the reality of my obsessive, compulsive personality. Most times, I can’t stop. I usually need an alarm to get me into bed and an airline ticket to get me away from my desk.

No job is worth the price of your health or your life. Dedication can be a virtue but it can also be a vice. You need to know when to stop.

I live by only a few rules in life but I faithfully subscribe to the mantra of trying something new each year so I’ve climbed Southeast Asian’s highest peak, leapt from a cliff, climbed a wall, danced on top of a table, eaten scorpions and cockroaches and rappelled down a waterfall.

For 2018, however, I think I will try something infinitely more daunting—I will work less and sleep more.
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