Resilience

8 May 2016

It's been a difficult couple of months lately. As you may already know, my previous employer fired me for refusing to accept a job offer at Pinterest during acquisition. To top it off, my flatmate had been job-hunting in order to transfer his work visa, a very frustrating and time-consuming process that could have left him having to leave the country, and me having to find a new place to rent amid the highest ever recorded rental prices in San Francisco.

Of course, this isn't the worse that could have happened. But you know what? I feel happier than ever now. I feel for the first time in almost a year more motivated to pursue my interests, to continue finding myself, and to make whatever changes I need in order to succeed.

In fact, so far this month: I've made great progress on a project that I hope to someday grow into a company, I've applied and/or interviewed with three different companies whose work pertains to fields about which I am actually passionate, I've resumed taking copious amounts of notes about various projects or ideas I have (which I stopped doing after months of menial work), and I've also been talking more with old friends who had been out of touch. At this rate, I'm actually quite surprised I haven't yet won the lottery.

But I haven't always been like this. Far from it. I can easily recall the myriad of times growing up when I would have given up at the first sign of doubt.

I remember quite distinctly being somewhere around 8 years old when I used to play in little league baseball. To be entirely frank: I sucked at bat. I was always so afraid of the ball; it's red stitching trying to hold in its own laughter whenever I winced at it. And the worse part was, as a kid, I couldn't quite understand why the heck the coach kept making me bat. I mean, it's not as if I'd magically stop fearing the ball. Or maybe he had hoped that I would be pegged and at least get to walk a base. I never could understand. And thus, I was never a very resilient kid growing up.

But you see, that's where this person comes in:

That's my mom, and she's amazing.

You see, even though I kept missing the ball during baseball games, my mom would still take me out to practice batting almost every other week. I used to hate it. Every single time, I'd be crying telling Mom, "I don't want to," or "stop it, you're throwing too hard." She'd just sigh and tell me to at least keep facing the ball and try to swing. But this wasn't to improve my swing, you see. My mom wanted me to get used to the simple fact that despite how I may feel about it, I better get used to the fact that once in a while I'm going to have to face a hard ball whether I'm ready for it or not, and hell, if I get the chance, I ought to swing as well.

And so eventually, when I was older, I would go on to finally hit the ball for both the first and last time. But that's okay, I was never much of a baseball fan anyway. However, the lesson learned that you don't get to choose what kind of pitch is thrown—a hard ball, a curve ball, or a ball coming straight at your face—that's something I kept with me the past 20 years since those days.

So now, when I think about where I am today, despite the hardship of uncertainty, fear, and doubt, I can think back to that empowering idea my mom gave me about resilience and adapting to my circumstances, and think to myself: "Yes, I can do this."

Happy Mother's Day, Mom ♥