When I was 9, I remember vividly the breakfasts me and my cousins would have around the table. We had two tables at home: A red round table and a long yellow rectangular table.

For breakfast, the main characters were several kids, ranging from primary school to secondary. There were Jimmy and I, Alex and sometimes Ging-ging. I was the youngest. They were siblings, I was the brother from another mother, haha!

We wake up at 6am to get to school; Jimmy and I went to the same school but on different campuses. So, he rode the commute and I had to always be at the mercy of the school bus.

Damn, I somehow loved the thought of the school bus but at the same time I hated it. Just imagine how many noodles, hotdogs, beef loaves, luncheon meat, corned beef and chocolate drinks never got to be gulped, chewed and were just left stale and lonely all because: “Edward, eat faster ‘cause you have to catch the school bus. “ F****

Anyway, these morning trysts with the bus somehow revealed a primitive version of who I really am, deep down inside. I shared this to a lot of close friends, but never really got to write about it. Well, I am forced to write it now because since yesterday, I committed with my “editor cum trainer” to go back to writing and maybe try out a 30-day writing challenge.

Going back, as I said, these school bus days were very memorable for me, and I keep them. Why? Because it actually defines now, how I grew to become a life-hacker. I know, I know, you will raise your eyebrows at what life-hacking is, it is very subjective. But for the benefit of just letting me do my riff and just give-me-the-pen-and-I’ll-write-my-shit, let’s pretend I am a life-hacker. You barely know me, so you have no right to fight my digression.

(chuckles)

So, going back again, every morning, me and my cousins would always appear like Buddhist monks bowing to the noodles and food in slow arching motions, all because bed was still hypnotizing the shit out of us. Sleep deprivation was not something forced to us but then the whole human society that is aging fast tells you that 9-5 is the rhythm of life – breakfast till bell time.

Several breakfasts after, I was constantly missing the bus because the warm noodles and the hotdogs that were at that time introduced to be stuffed with BETA CAROTENE AND CHEESE, and chicken flavoured nuggets and noodles with spicy flavouring, were just dragging us (me, specifically) to meditative state.

In a nutshell, I miss the bus. And It happened several times that the not-so-quick-remedy was to take 3 rides to school and spend my daily “baon” (money given by mothers for you to buy whatever non-healthy food you wanna buy) and save no penny at the end of the day. It was not a good business habit – brought several losses in profit margin.

(sorry grammatists, or whatever you call yourselves, character limits cannot limit my passion for writing.)

But then, one Sunday morning, out of my unstoppable habit of observing the crowds, I found out that after mass, a portion of the crowd slid at the back of the church going in one direction and disappears from the wind.

Magic.

I realized that there was a village behind the church that attended mass by crossing a bridge over a narrow river. I followed the breadcrumbs and behold – at the end of the village, is the HIGHWAY – THE SAME HIGHWAY MY SCHOOL BUS PASSES THROUGH EVERY FRIGGIN’ MORNING!

It was my eureka moment! Oh, it’s hard to explain how happy I was, now, I could munch all the food and cholesterol-laden breakfast all I want and let the bus, pass by, and then when I am done savouring breakfast, I can pass through this “shortcut” and catch the bus at a later time. Sounds evil but it worked!!! Well, it gave me confidence, really.

I felt like I was the boss of the whole school-bus universe!

So when I did my experiments, over and over again, with only near-to-none misses, my theories were right, I was no longer an asymptote that didn’t reach zero – I was a self-guided missile, ready to take over the school bus!

Later in life, I was contemplating if I was indeed just lazy or I just didn’t wanna miss out in life.

My school bus episodes unravelled a distinct characteristic in life that I always valued: Own your life.

Let the bus pass by and if you can hack the roads, hack it! Eat the hotdogs while they’re hot and hack the yellow brick road of life.

Lethargy and sloth often disguises as responsibility. You look to be always on time and you appear like you are in control but really, are you? Or are you missing out in life? And then you’ll complain that you are at the end of life already. Well, this is a loooooooong discussion but so far, I have always adhered to my school bus principle that I understood how it is important to own life.

You will only have little time in this life, not even enough time to finish your breakfast, will you just choke down and live like a zombie or be creative and find the bridge that crosses the narrow river to the highway?

Never miss the bus. But never miss life either – life follows you.