Life is non-linear, let us start again

Life is non-linear, let us start again

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by PP Donna Buckland, Vice Chair of District Youth Service Committee

Some think that the life of successful people must be a straight line – an upward trajectory all the way. We often admire the glamour of the accomplished, and wonder how exhilarating it must be climbing up and up in a beautiful upward trajectory. We assume one must have that special ticket to the upward bound train of life. For those who don’t have that “ticket”, we feel lost.

Two decades ago as a young graduate with no social capital, an Asian girl in a western country, I too was lost – the upward trajectory seemed just too far to grab and the vision of the future was opaque. The sentiment is not too dissimilar to what our young generation must be feeling now. The prospect of the job market post-Covid is hard enough to swallow, let alone the disrupted opportunity and access to education, for today’s youth. And just to make things a little tougher, this never-ending social distancing makes the humanity of solidarity that much scarcer.

So how can our future generations grab hold of their dreams with vigour and excitement with their ticket to life? The answer is simple. There is no ticket to life that is a straight line, upward bound to success. The ticket is what you make of your situation.

President Peter Lau of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong gave a speech titled “life is not linear” to the Rotaract Club of Hong Kong University, making a reference to the birth of Rotary in Hong Kong by Sir William Hornell, then vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. Since the birth of Rotary on 20th February 1931, it had a fast rise to be the premier service organisation and then fell into hardship soon after, due to the second World War. This was followed by a subsequent resurrection once peace was restored to the world and then another challenge about 5 years ago with the loss of future direction, then up again with an elegant renaissance. By the time you are reading this, Rotary in Hong Kong would have just celebrated 90 years of humanitarian service in this part of the world.

When an organisation with 90 years of history in Hong Kong vouch for this non-linear characteristic of life, you find comfort and counsel in the knowledge that ups and downs in life are just normal, for individuals, organisations, or any situation we find ourselves in.

If the future is all set and predicted all the way, where is fun in that? No one has a crystal ball. We may fall down on the way, but we can get up again. The beauty of a non-linear life is that when you fall down, it becomes a push for starting again. Let that be your reinvigoration.

We will meet again in Rotary, and hence start again.

Donna Buckland
Past President of Rotary Club of Hong Kong 2018-2019
District Vice Chair, Youth 2020-2021