When I was younger I go by a rock hard saying: what I want I get. I was an extremely determined person that whatever I set out to accomplish I get, with a bit of skill and loads of persistence–these days they call it GRIT.
Well okay I was pretty young then, around 19 or so. I was still within the comforting arms of the university and surrounded with old tennis clubbers who always emphasized that I am young and can do whatever I want to. I had big aspirations, and did not believe that there was a way I would fall into a huge slump; if I ever did, I sure had enough supply of persistence to stand up and fly with the tide. Optimism was as natural as breathing.
Then 5, 6 years later, last night I found myself playing a Youtube video entitled “How to be positive”. The truth is optimism is a choice, a choice that takes travail when the going gets tough…oh and by the way, you do not always get what you want.
I’m a mess
They said graduates of my university would not have difficulties finding a job. That’s partially true, most of the time you can fake that you are better than anyone else because you graduated from the national university. Other times, if unlucky, you will realize a good many consider you too intimidating to fit in or overqualified. But see, it is not a fundamental fact, otherwise I would not have been unemployed for over a year now (well, I did temporary work in between but that’s another story).
This year your mother is turning 25. She does not have job. Sure she does have a stock portfolio and a little bit of savings from her big time job in Japan but is now in gradual depletion. By the society’s standard I am a mess. I am a few years away from the marrying age and I do not have what they call a budding, if not established, career. Heck, I don’t even have a job!
A wise man from Quora said that one of the things he would tell himself back when he was in his 20s is that “you don’t need to accomplish anything like every people say, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Take risks, and enjoy the ride.” I cannot attest to the veracity of this advice since I am not through my 20s yet but it gives me comfort in my present situation.
My precious children, I realize that at some point in your 20s you will get anxious about your future, you will ask the same questions I had asked myself. Your father is 24 and still in school working part time as a server. He still lives with grampa and grammy. After quitting a high paying job people would fight tooth and nail for without a fall back, Mom is jobless for over a year, and she’s 25. But you see Dad is able to spend a lot of time with his parents. Not counting school loans, he’s debt free; and has learned to face people despite his introversion. Mom is released of corporate slavery and has escaped before her mind gets corrupted. She has understood the value of balance from her awful burnout experience, and is intent on making things better on her next, and succeeding jobs. Dad’s and Mom’s career paths are at present less than ideal as compared to most of their peers, but at the time their peers are filled with anxiety about “making it”, your father and mother found each other and learning the real essence of life, which is to love.
I am currently awaiting the result of my application with a startup company for which I turned down two job offers. I feel uncertain about the future. But earlier your father and I had a heartfelt conversation. I realize that he is my anchor. Whenever you feel uncertain, there’s only two things you need to do: converse with God, and hold onto your anchor whoever it is. Then you will realize that in the moment you feel that you have nothing, you will see abundance.
Children, life is going to throw things at you, just as people are going to expect a lot. You will fall into believing that you are a mess, but you are not. Life is very much unlike what you see in the television or the internet. Life is lived, not survived. So do yourself and your parents a favor, smile and get up. Live.