Monthly Archives: May 2017

It’s Not Just About Love

Dear Readers,

It has been a while since I have last posted as I have been busy with finishing my first year of university due to my sick leave and in the process of putting together/writing for my book.

Today I wanted to post a blog about a very important lesson I have learned through hindsight and burnout.

Since we all are shaped by our communities, our society, the time and place we live in, and how we are brought up… it isn’t too big of a mystery that a lot of my attitudes and beliefs come from things I’ve learned from my parents.

As an obedient kid growing up, I still think I am for the most part, I feared consequences. I did things not fully controlled by fear, but it was what pushed me to complete homework or become disciplined to practice piano and clean the house when my friends were playing outside. I was scared of the “what ifs.” So I always gave my 110% in the things I knew that would matter in the future (academics, work, extracurriculars) due to a fear that I would regret not working hard when I look back on it. It still plagues me today. I think one of my greatest fears is regret. But the ironic reality is that like most people I don’t usually regret anything that I’ve done, it’s mostly what I did not do.

For the most part, I did what my parents, teachers, and society expected me to do. And I can say that I did decent or above average in most of it. I was lucky though. From a young age, I was conditioned to do things I don’t like to do (be a mom to my sister, cook, clean, etc). I also loved to read which inevitably helped me a lot in school. I had the skill of loving to do things that I didn’t like, and genuinely loving things that I did like (volunteering, doing internships, studying for school to get good grades).

So, life worked for me in the sense that I knew what I wanted, loved what I did, and I could see myself and fulfill that potential I put forth for myself. I lived by “work hard, chase dreams,” with the naive sense that if I just loved something and worked hard enough, that I would achieve all my dreams.

That happened for most of my life. I was able to achieve all but one of my dreams that I had set forth from the age of seven to the age of seventeen (hint: if you know me well and follow my blogs, you might figure it out)! In a decade of time, I was successful in terms that I  had achieved my goals and grown as a person.

I never knew what it was like to be thrown on a detour. Time and time again, these random lung collapses that doctor’s didn’t know why happened, kept happening to me. Despite, sleeping, eating, and exercising to maintain a healthy body. The unexpected propelled me into a completely new journey I did not want to go on. For the first time, I had to make decisions in my life that I could not comprehend or want to comprehend. I had to make decisions that were stunted by the limitations of my health; things I did not choose or want.

It finally occurred to me the huge amount of privilege I had as a healthy teenager. I could pursue whatever I wanted without too much thought. Even though I am still healthy, what has happened has placed me in an area where I cannot pursue just what I want anymore.

Over 18 years ago, my parents arrived in Canada leaving their comfortable and successful lives back in China with the hopes of giving me a better future. My dad had one year left in his schooling for a PhD (Doctorate in Physics) when the visa came through. Due to other family circumstances, my parents both decided that the best time to leave would be 1998. In 1999, they brought me over to Canada and they started their lives again. They worked labour extensive jobs: my dad lifting logs in factories and working the night shift at a gas store while redoing his degree while my mom washed floors in restaurants. You see, my dad loves physics. But he gave up that dream of his to pursue physics in Canada because he knew he would be unable to pursue higher degree jobs (with Canada not recognizing his degrees from China). He started over with studying Computer Science and now works as a Computer Scientist but he doesn’t love it. He goes in day in and day out to support his family.

When I think about that, I not only understand the sacrifice my parent’s made for me to access a better future, but I also understand that sometimes having an undeniable love for something is not enough. Circumstances will prevent you from achieving your dreams. And even though it’s never too late to achieve your dreams, sometimes timing just really sucks and some people just don’t have the privilege of taking risks to get to their unfilled potential.

I was super idealistic before the fifth collapse. I planned everything out, knew exactly where I was going and what kind of person I wanted to be. Right now, I’m just treading between the person I am and who I want to be with no sense of direction. My life has altered in ways that are permanent and unchangeable and I’m still trying to swim in a sort of direction. But I’m still treading aimlessly and for the first time in my life, I’m so clueless about my future and it’s so scary. I’ve realized that perhaps love for something isn’t enough. It’s also about your circumstances and so with that being said all I know is that I want to empower people so that they have the privilege of achieving their dreams and unfilled potential. So it’s not just the 1% getting richer and more successful. So it’s not just the construction of society benefiting the super privileged of able bodied, white, male, heterosexual, and the list goes on. As Mark Zuckerburg said, it’s not enough for us to find our own purpose, our generation needs to create purpose and provide opportunities for EVERYONE.

For the first time in my life now, I’m understanding what it’s like to not be able to pursue what I love. The first time that I need to suck it up and do what I need to do, whether I like it or not. It definitely wasn’t anything what I wanted but it’s giving me the experience that life goes to keep moving on and I can’t let it pass me by.

So I’m trekking on, launching myself into a completely new career path and a new school. I am so scared and I am so sad about my previous dreams, but life has changed me and I have changed. The world around me might still be the same in certain ways, but I can’t live the life I previously wanted to have and that’s okay. It’s all just a learning process

 

xx Cecilia

Stay Determined

Hey everyone,

It’s definitely been a while since my last post and I promise that I haven’t forgotten our journey together.

 

I’ve currently been contemplating, reading, doing research, and writing for a book I have always wanted to write. While pursuing that dream of mine, I realized that I’ve also been ignorant for your journeys. If you’re working towards a goal of yours or if you haven’t found the courage yet to take that step, know that it’s super hard. Life is generally quite difficult. In this way, I’ve learned to not just try and understand others but to actually understand them. I’ve done this by fully putting away my personal biases and judgements or the hurt I might have felt towards certain actions. Then I try to piece together what caused them to do what they are doing. I guess what I’m saying is that even though difficulties cannot excuse certain behaviours, it’s the least we can do to understanding others and the difficult lives that we do not know around us.

On this tangent from hard work, this is a small excerpt of the book I’m working on and it’s actually a memoir of my personal experiences, my new insights, and how I tackle with privilege as I go about aspiring to leave a positive change in this world.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”-The Great Gatsby

I was really bitter to accept and let go of things that meant very much to me these past few months. Super challenging and I must admit that I felt disappointment when I really counted on some people to be there for me. But Gatsby’s quote really rings true. Honestly, I was mad that I lost things that I couldn’t get back and in the process of self pity, I neglected people who might really need someone to ask if they’re okay. I was so caught up with myself that I didn’t bother to look around me. Obviously it’s easier said then done to count your blessings in times of difficulty. I found it hard to praise God. But now as I’ve come out of a difficult time, I haven’t stopped counting my blessings. Breathing without pain, getting out of bed without difficulty, having eyes to see the weather, and onwards. Even having an appetite and going to the washroom yourself is a tremendous blessing. If you’re struggling or anything, I know that feeling. It’s something that’s continually plunging within your being and you feel like you’re gasping for relief and for air. Obviously I don’t know what you’re going through, but I definitely mean it if you need someone to listen. I will listen and I will be there. You matter and sometimes the people around you will be busy but there are others who will step up.
*this is facebook and super informal but i can’t stress it enough, there’s bound to be someone out there among my circle of friends who is struggling so please reach out.

On another note, if you have the capability to chase your dreams then chase them as hard as you can. Three years ago, living beside young children with terminal illnesses, I realized that without a doubt I wanted to live and pursue my passions and extend a legacy for people who can’t chase their dreams.

If you have a healthy body, relish in that beautiful blessing. And don’t ever give up chasing that dream, remember that yes hard work does not = success but at least you have that opportunity to try.

This past week, I’ve connected with many people who went through what I went through and like me they had to give up their dreams of becoming a doctor, being in the army, or becoming a pilot. Sometimes success in a certain area does not soley depend on hard work, it can come from luck too. So if you have the luck within your favour, play as hard as you can.

 

Refer to J.K. Rowling’s best advice for anyone determined to succeed if you are looking for extra inspiration:)