Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Employment benefits

At this time of the year, I usually like to do a stock-take of my life. Kind of a spiritual, financial and emotional check-up to see if all is well and that I’m track to becoming the kind of calm happy person that Gwyneth Paltrow would like to hang out with.
The thing is, after years of carefully reading Goop – Gwyneth’s ‘look how amazing my life is’ blog – I’ve also realized that the kind of calm happy person that she would like to hang out with is usually someone so incredibly wealthy that they wear organic cotton, drink soy wheat shots, and fly in private planes to remote jungles for three week detox retreats.
            And they usually tend not to work the way most normal people think of as work. Scrolling through Goop, you see that Gwyneth’s BFFs tend to be relaxed mothers who look fabulous in their pristine frock and smiling happy blonde children. Or else, they’re part time actresses who, when they’re not filming wildlife documentaries, dabble in interior design or write New York Times bestselling books on how to get children to eat vegetables.
            In other words, it’s the kind of life I aspire to. Which is why each year, in January, I take a moment and try to visualize into reality the life I want.
I imagine that I am happily trotting from my perfectly coordinated and accessorized life straight into an airplane where I always turn left into First Class. I imagine candle lit dinners with other happy people and I’m wearing a Tom Ford suit and no one ever pays for anything. On weekends, my perfect life includes a stress free session at the gym where after a few sound-tracked seconds on the elliptical machine, I have the body of Usher and the face of David Gandy. In the evenings, I can be found laughing with friends in a breezy beach-club sipping cocktails while in the background, thin gorgeous girls with lots of hair and perfect skin frolic on the sand.
In other words, I visualize an American Express commercial.
            That’s what you visualize?” Amanda asked the other day.
            I shrugged. “It’s important to have goals. You think Oprah got to become Oprah without some kind of goal visualisation?”
            Amanda looked doubtful. “I’m not sure Oprah ever visualized herself in an American Express commercial.”
            “She probably owns American Express!” I said.
            Saffy says it’s much easier visualizing jobs that she couldn’t see herself in.
            “Like I would make the worst taxi driver,” she said this morning at breakfast. “I have absolutely no sense of direction. Plus all those bossy passengers would just drive me straight into road rage.”
            “I’m not sure I could sit on those beaded seat covers all day,” Amanda added.
            “I would have trouble on account of my needing to pee every ten minutes,” I said.
            Saffy shuddered. “Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam on the MCE and needing to pee!”
            “You’d have to pee in a bottle,” I said.
            “But what if you’re a woman?” Amanda pointed out.
            So that much has been settled – none of us is ever going to make it as a taxi-driver.
            It turns out that being a lawyer or a banker isn’t really high on our list of visualizing topics, either. Sure, you get paid lots of money, but as Amanda points out, what’s the point of having all that money if you’re always at work and stressed? Of course, she speaks from experience having dated many bankers in her serial dating life and being a lawyer herself.
            “It’s why I’m the least ambitious person in my firm,” she said. “Who needs partnership? The only people who get to enjoy all that money are the kids and the wife who spends her whole day getting her hair done and gossiping with David Gan!”
            “Which is what Fann Wong and Zoe Tay do,” said Saffy, lifetime reader of 8DAYS. She paused and thought. “We could be actors! That looks really fun and fulfilling.”
            “Except when you lose at the Star Awards to your arch-frenemy, Sharyn,” Amanda said. “Plus you have the worst memory. How would you ever remember your lines?”
            “I don’t have a six-pack,” I said sadly. “All these actors seem to have six-packs.”
            “Plastic surgeon?” Saffy suggested. “Woffles Wu always seems to be having a good time.”
            “God, imagine if you nicked a nerve and half the face collapsed?” said Amanda, veteran reader of US Weekly’s grisly wrap ups of celebrity face lifts gone wrong.
            This morning, Gwyneth sent me the latest edition of Goop where she ate oysters, went shopping in Beverly Hills and chatted with Jessica Seinfeld.
She must be such fun to be with.  

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