I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
The past couple of years have been an important lesson for me to reexamine my attitude towards life and everything I do. I remember having this enormous will to land myself a job back in the states when I graduated from grad school. There were many bumps and I went through a lot of emotional struggles, but it still happened at the end. I will never forget the thrill and fulfillment that came over me when I held the offer letter in my hands. I did it! For the first few years in my new employment, I busted my ass. I was so grateful for the opportunity that I cherished every moment and always performed above and beyond. It was a great achievement for me at that point of my life. And I was living my dream of living and working overseas at an international corporation.
Little by little, can’t remember when, my attitude towards the job and the company started to change. After all, it’s not easy to stay positive when everyone else around me had negative opinions about the company. So, I started to blame the firm, like everyone else, for not being accepted for other positions I applied for. It’s all other people’s fault. At the final year of my work visa, I had to make a decision on whether to stay or leave. Being so full of hate and complaints, I decided to go backpacking in Australia. After all, it was once in a lifetime opportunity for me back then, as I was turning 30 and approaching the age limit for a Working Holiday Visa. I thought, if the US doesn’t want me, maybe Australia has something better to offer.
Initially, I planning to stay in Australia for at least 2 years by undertaking the kind of employment to make myself eligible for a second visa. I thought if I had more time, there may be a greater possibility for me to find something permanent. Well, my trip ended in less a year. And I have no one else to blame but my own attitude of thinking I’m better than other fellow backpackers because of my background in the states.
Another country did not excite me very much at the time because I’ve lived and worked outside of my home country for many years at that point. Therefore, I did not relate to other young backpackers who were intrigued by every little thing happening around us just because it happened in a different country. Employment wise, I focused on applying for full-time jobs in the hope of elevating my immigration status. After all, I’ve done that before so why can’t I now, right? Well, an important thing I forgot is that I was not in the same country I had been. Therefore, trying to apply the same strategies in a different environment simply did not work, no matter how similar the situation may be. Then, I failed to keep myself on a farm job, which was the requirement for the second visa I wanted. Working on the farm was not at all something I wanted to do, but something I “had to” if I want to move to the next level. Now that I look back, I guess I just didn’t want to stay in Australia that bad. Plus, I spent most the time comparing it to the states and complaining about everything I didn’t get. Was there anything my heart desires? After a traveling spree around the country and another part-time job that I wasn’t really into, I packed up and left for home.
First year at home, I kept the same arrogance thinking I deserved better, jumping from one job to another. A year later, after many other life events, I finally have the revelation that I need to stop repeating a mentality that clearly doesn’t work. Just over the weekend, I was offered a part-time job opportunity that I would usually consider beneath me. After weighing between where I want to go next and what I need to do now to get there, I decided to accept the offer with appreciation.
Many of my good friends told me that I am terrible at hiding my emotions, as they clearly show on my face. Hence, when I don’t enjoy what I do, it’s not surprising that I fail to do a good job. Having been through these life experiences and ended up where I still don’t want to be, I forced myself to take a closer look at myself. What do I really want? Where do I really want to go? Turns out my heart has always known the answer to these questions but my brain simply wants to argue for argument’s sake.
Having a goal is a powerful thing. It helps develop determination and motivation. Maybe that’s why traveling has always been therapeutic to me. Despite any physical discomfort during the journey, I can always find ways to indulge my mind and soul. And when I know where I’m heading, I learn to appreciate whatever comes in between. Trying to find that goal has made me feel lost and helpless. But I believe everyone has something deep inside that burns. However mild the spark may be, don’t let it die. One breath at a time, and you can bring it back to life. Make sure to appreciate everyone and everything that gives you a leaf, a stick or a branch to grow that fire.