I want to express my thoughts on change as my life has gone through so many changes lately – both good and bad. Most people do not feel change taking place within them perhaps because change is a hard thing to accept. One of the reasons why this is so might be because change is happening in every moment of our lives as our lives are not stagnant.
Looking at it from a scientific view, babies are born intellectually empty, devoid of memory or experience. Every detail that our senses take in triggers reactions in our brain, though at most times it is unconsciously. All of these little details and experiences of our lives are what shape us and change us. Humans are like sponges. We are constantly absorbing knowledge and feeding our thirst with the waters of substance. Change can be so minute or at times so significant. Even in the face of a distinctive event though, I am unable to comprehend the kind of ramifications that could occur to affect me. It is only through comparing who I am now to who I was before that I realize that, amazingly enough, I have changed. I feel sad for those who cannot accept change and cannot grow.
When I moved to United States from Hong Kong, my whole motivation was to push myself to live a life that was completely the opposite of the one I was used to and grew up with. Moving across the world at the tender age of 22 is a scary thing. But, I wanted to push myself to be more independent, downt-to-earth, simple and real; to see things from a different perspective to the one I was used to seeing. My life was too comfortable and I felt that comfort meant a person was not improving or changing. To many people I knew, that seemed totally outrageous. A lot of my friends questioned me and asked “Nicole, why would you leave such a secure and comfortable life for something so unknown, to suffer for what?” My reply was simple – I wanted to learn more about myself and to see myself outside of the bubble I was so accustomed to. I wanted to be better. I wanted to find the real me.
If I had to label myself, I’d say that I was your typical child; carefree, playful, cheerful and devoid of any form of stress or concern for anything. It was a mindless existence that I lived in through my childhood because I was given pretty much everything I wanted. Basically, I was ignorant and I wouldn’t have given a rat’s ass if anyone had told me that before. My parents told me that as a child, I rarely cried, complained or asked for anything. I was a laid-back child. School was not really something I thought of or tried hard at. I had my share of mischief accompanied by hordes of detentions and lectures, all of which I handled with complete apathy. Learning was an obligation that, fortunately, I just happened to do well at. Most of my days were spent on sports and other active forms of entertainment.
One particular hobby that I remember from my childhood was catching fireflies while spending summers in Scarsdale, New York. I used to capture them then place them in a jar and watch them glow until they died. I didn’t really think of it as cruel. Actually, I found it entertaining and something most kids in the US did. In a way, I think of myself as that firefly now. I know that I can be trapped temporarily, and that I’ll be the one under the scrutiny of people as I heave my heavy weight along. But I will find some inventive way to keep moving along. I know that I can be adaptive and resourceful. As a child, I already knew how to be blasé and casual about predicaments I might find myself in. So at a young age, I mastered the art of simply placing one foot in front of the other and always remaining composed, whether knee deep in trouble or trudging through six miles of boredom. This sense of rationality has proved to be one of my most useful tools. I’m glad that I realized, so early in my life, that I am steady and independent enough to be confident.
As a result of this realization, ambition grew. At times, school did not feel like such an obligation. Like a sponge, I wanted to soak up all the knowledge there was to learn. I’m not so ignorant anymore either, though sometimes I wish that I could just turn my head in the other direction and walk away. For such an undaunted child, I’ve turned out to be so apprehensive and eager for experience and life. There are hardly any challenges that I wouldn’t willingly take on, although some can really make me think twice about why they were given to me in the first place.
The many emotional and social factors that I underwent throughout my life are what make up who I am today and determine why I act or feel the way I do. I can be so passionate…naive and trust in a conception such as always believing in people despite the countless times I have been hurt, with such conviction too. I don’t even know where I got half the ideas and principles that I have developed because I was so sheltered. Or it could be because I was so sheltered that it enabled me to spend endless time thinking about those ideals. However, my teenage years did teach me a thing or two about the painful realities of life. That life does not escape anyone. Even too this day, life does not escape me. It keeps coming at me harder and harder.
I do know that that same nonchalance which was embodied in me as a child, is in me still. Only now, it contains neither ignorance nor laziness anymore. It is my way of coping and adapting. I have discovered that there is not always a solution to a problem but there is always an option and I try to make the best out of any situation, no matter how hard. And believe me, life can be damn hard.
It is with this attitude that I go forth in life, with a willing smile and an eager approach regarding anything that might come. I have no idea what the future might surprise or attack me with. Whatever obstacles I might come upon, I believe with confidence that I will be able to face it and still laugh. Just like those fireflies, I will look at a situation where my wings are gone and the circumstance seems like it leads to nothing but a dead end. But unlike those fireflies, I will not keep trying to flap wings which are gone and end up defeated out of disappointment. Using the practicality and resourcefulness that I possess, I will take initiative and squeeze the last positive drop out of even the toughest obstacle.
So let the future come. No problem. My thirst will devour the sweet heart of this watermelon.