In the past couple of days I had the rare privilege of attending a kenshuu – the closest translation would be a seminar, I think, although they wouldn’t really call it that way (semina- refers to a different thing in Japanese).
It was a two-day “enkarejjing” (encouraging) kenshuu for women employees. I sat there, in rapt attention, listening to the brilliant resource person who handled the seminar, and tried my best in interacting with the women during our round-table discussions. I tried to absorb as much as my limited Japanese ability would allow.
In a word? Enlightening. I never realized until now that there are many women out there who are facing the same issues as I am, and who practically have the same concerns and anxieties as I do. I was like – wow, you’re a researcher too? And you have young children too? How do you manage to balance work and home? How supportive is your husband in all of these? I mean, these are issues that I never really get to talk about with my colleagues (for an obvious reason, mainly that I am the only woman there doing that kind of work).
And now I meet all these wonderful women – not superwomen, mind you. Superwomen do not exist! Only ordinary women who try to meet expectations and responsibilities while reaching for their aspirations and dreams. Women who get tired from working at the lab and doing domestic chores at home. Women who get anxious when their children get sick and needed nursing. Women who fret and get disappointed when their research work is demeaned and belittled, or given least priority. In other words, human beings with realistic needs and feelings just like everyone else. They just happen to be women.
I never realized until now that there are many ways to improve myself, that there are aspects of my personality that needed growth and stimulation. My mind was opened towards the infinite possibilities that the future holds. It made me realize: hey, I can do this and that too! Why should I limit myself?
Incidentally I was surprised at the outcome of my EQ (emotional quotient) test. It was my first time to take such a test, so I really don’t have any point of comparison. Shocking! Then it made me ask questions like: How could it be that this particular area of my life/personality is underdeveloped? And how could I possibly improve this area? How do I make use of my potentials? How can I effectively use these talents to achieve what I want?
I feel like I have been infused with a new energy, a renewed hope, and more importantly, a new direction for the future. They may call it an “encouraging” seminar, but for me it could really stand for a bit more: enlightening, empowering, and invigorating.