My old man calls it “Habit.”
My dad lost some 30 pounds in a year since he retired. He did it by watching his diet and walking some 13,000 steps, plus 150 pull-ups and push-ups, every day.
My dad used to be a chubby driver for a state-owned company. He would wake up at 4:30 every day, made me and my mum breakfast and hit the road by 5:45. His job required him to be in the office by 9 and it would usually take him around 30 to 40 mins en route.
“Why did you get to the office so early?” I asked him one day.
“I have better place to sit in than traffic if I can avoid it.”
That’s my dad. For someone who grew up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, my dad wasn’t terribly well-educated on paper. He fixed it with his air-tight work ethic and street-smart. Even after he’s retired at home, he still gets up at around 5:30 (my cat, strangely, is his alarm clock) to make us a full breakfast from taro to porridge, and then hit the park (his gym) nearby and exercise for almost an hour and come back to two women (my mum and I) in bed still sound asleep.
Confession time. I, unfortunately, didn’t inherit daddy’s devilish work ethic, his will power, and his consistency… In my defense, I’ve been having a lot of stress as long as I can remember. My biological clock has been a mess since this summer, if not earlier.
And yet, I want to be able to say, “Like father, like daughter.” But right now, I often stay up late rushing to finish bits and pieces of my day’s work when I promised myself earlier in the day that I would go to bed early, starting today.
I have more respect for myself when I’m discipline and rise at dawn everyday. Who doesn’t? What I see in my dad is this mystery thing called “Willpower.” My old man calls it “Habit.” Some 40 years of stainless-steel habit oiled by fear that he may lose his job if he were even seconds late for work.
I often don’t change until I hit ‘rock bottom.’ But I can’t afford to wait for me to fall that far. I have to start now. I hope it’s tomorrow. But then, after tomorrow, there will be another one. But, no, YZ, let’s just start.
And I will have my dad to be my alarm clock as long as my cat is punctual. We know who to blame if I don’t rise early.