A cab journey sometimes, create a cozy space between two people to share a conversation over the journey, especially if it takes a while. I learned some interesting life lessons from 2 cabbies yesterday.

On the way to look at some photographic equipment in town, I managed to get a cab. The cabbie looked like a man in his 40s, bespectacled, and athletic looking. We started sharing thoughts about life, about children, about the economy, yes, the usual.

His children are all grown up, he said. I told him he looked only in his 40s! He told me he was already nearly 60! He was from the armed forces, and was honorably discharged when he completed his service. He tried to find many jobs, but not too many jobs were available to someone like him with unique skills. Finally, he became a cabbie. He kept up his diet and exercise program, and was able to look incredibly young despite working at one of the toughest jobs in my opinion. To him, it was all about accepting life with a good attitude, and working hard every step of the way. He lives life with a smile.

On the way back from window shoppping and buying pet food (yes, Maggie the hamster), I got on a cab, driven by an older gentleman. We started chatting, and he told him he used to run a small business. He was in his 60s. We talked about life and the younger generation, and both of us agreed that younger people these days are no longer as tough as people in earlier decades. He was carrying LPG domestic gas cylinders up flights of stairs in his younger years, making deliveries to homes. Many homes today in Singapore have piped in LPG gas, but there are still homes that need gas cylinders delivered because piping may not be available. This older gentleman worked as a cabbie after selling his gas cylinder business. He does not have any relief driver, and drives 7 days a week, sleeping about 4 hours each day. By working hard, he supported all his children to university. He said that he did not want his children to grow up without an education (he had only studied till primary school). He too, was living life with a smile.

What did both gentlemen taught me? Life has many turns. Life is unpredictable. Despite the starting point of our careers, or how our careers may progress, we owe it to ourselves to work hard, against all odds, as responsible adults caring and tending for our families and their well-being. There is nothing impossible in life, when we apply our best efforts and tenacity to the challenges we are confronted with. And oh yes, keep as strong and healthy as we can be. Life is unpredictable, but life is also a celebration of hard work.