The Fear Line.1.17.18

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For a long time, I was the person who would fold if I had anything but a sure thing in my hand. I believed in extremely calculated risks. If there was room for pain, I avoided it. If there was a chance that I would be on the losing end, my defenses were already so far up that I wouldn’t be able to feel a thing. Whatever the situation was, I did my best not to care too much about anything. Never care enough that it would hurt.

It’s a family trait. Ever since I can remember, we plan for the heartbreak. We adjust accordingly. We keep a straight face even if we’re in pain. I think the Asian part of the group really hammered that last one in hard. Above all else, we are always there to save face and look strong while doing so. We’re upset, we grieve, we have loss…but it takes place in solitude. We close the blinds, we turn down the lights, we have our moment and then we re-enter the world like nothing ever happened. We enter the world a little bit harder. And occasionally, we drive ourselves a little mad because we have all of these feeling right below the surface that we refuse to show to the public…which includes those closest to us.

I lived a good life. Always had a steady job. Always had a steady relationship. Always had steady friends. I went through life on auto-pilot, never really losing much. Never really gaining much. No real highs. No real lows. Just a mundane existence. Standing in place, waiting for the next chapter to begin or end…after awhile, it was all the same. And I blamed everything else for not living the life that I wanted. I blamed money or circumstances. I blamed other people. I blamed location.

I used everything as an excuse except for the truth — I was terrified of change. Because the truth is that you can have whatever life you want. You can mold life into what you want it to be, if you decide to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Whether that is risking it all on a different job. Taking your effort out of a comfortable relationship. Putting your faith in someone new. Shedding some dead weight when it comes to the people who get your energy…whatever it is, it’s going to be unpleasant.

As a human, I don’t love feeling unpleasant. Actually, the very thought of feeling unpleasant makes me feel unpleasant. You can ask those closest to me. Discomfort is not my thing (not that discomfort is really anyone’s thing.) But what I have found is that it takes a whole lot of unsteadiness… a whole lot of being unsure… a whole lot of discomfort… to ever receive the opportunity to feel the best feelings in life. All the good ones… the great ones…don’t sit inside the safe box of your comfort zone. You don’t get to touch them with gloves on. You can’t dip your toes in the water without completely jumping in.

The higher the risk, the higher the reward. You have to climb higher to get the good stuff, feel deeper, risk getting cut open. And don’t get me wrong…I know how easy it is for me to say these things. Typing them on the internet is a breeze, living the way I want to live…completely open and exposed is not. I struggle with it everyday. Everyday I consider, even if just for a second, throwing all those walls back into the air and sliding back into my place in line. I’m anxious right now just thinking about it.

But great things have happened. More will. Something will not end well. Those will hurt. But it will be worth it. Living is always worth it. And the first step is the hardest…

So, if you can, welcome the discomfort.


Tripping Around The Sun.1.2.2018


About the time when the tree branches are bare and my windshield is consistently (and annoyingly) covered with a layer of frost each morning, I make myself sit down and think about the year that has passed. Reflecting over where I have been and how I want to change it in the following chapter. I place my things in a pile of good and a pile of bad, weighing them on a scale that determines the success of my last 365. This year, however, I don’t feel like sorting… because I wouldn’t even know how to. Twenty-seventeen was transitional, eye opening, terrifying, freeing and easily, the best year of my young life.

This year started off…less than mediocre. I wasn’t in the best place, I wasn’t the best person and I definitely didn’t have the best outlook on life. (And that is not saying that I do now…but I can at least say, confidently, that it’s better.) A year that could have easily been defined by a divorce and dishonor brought upon my family (she said remembering now that she is Asian)…wasn’t. There will always be a couple of black marks on my 2017, but it will never come close to overshadowing the beauty that I saw on more than my fair share of days. And honestly, without those blemishes, I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the bright spots as much as I did.

Since the birth of 2017, I have seen and done more than I could have ever hoped. A stupid amount of downright wonderful people have entered and added to my life. In a string of seven days, I almost died in a flooded Arkansas, saw my nephew enter the Earth, and then almost died again jumping out of a plane…and I have never felt more alive. I believe in a lot of things again that my cynical self had put aside for what I thought was the more naive crowd.

A lot of people question my methods. At any given moment, more than one person is  legitimately concerned about my well being. And some people would probably (would definitely) call this year of mine selfish and reckless…and they would probably be right.

It took me 26 years to figure out what I wanted in my life. It took countless hesitations. Far too many poor choices. And it took a lot of waiting. Waiting on myself to realize what I intended to get out of my small amount of time on the planet.

I want to do 2018 and every year that follows, faster and stronger and more…alive. I want to stay on this trajectory that I am on and get better. I want to be a better person. A better family member. A better friend. I want to add to a world that keeps giving me so much to be thankful for. I have a lot of room for improvement and my only fear as this new year kicks off is that I’ll accidentally slide backwards…so the biggest resolution or goal or whatever you want to call it is that — to keep moving in a positive direction (a goal that can’t just stay in place for the next two weeks, before I decide to drink and eat like sh*t again.)

So my advice to everyone… if you know what you want in your life… Who you want. Where you want to be. What you want to do. Do it. There really is no time for hesitation or over planning. And there really is no better feeling than to be headed in the direction that you finally know you want to head. And while it is cliche to say, every night when you fall asleep, you are ending one entire day that you will never get back. One 24-hour period shaved off of your life at a time, dwindling down until the very end. But every single day is also an opportunity to make your life better. To make life for everyone else better too.

I realize that not everyone needs to chase a thrill. Not every person needs to hop onto a plane or out of one to feel alive. I just hope that whoever reads this…or whoever doesn’t…finds whatever it is that makes them get out of bed in the morning with a smile on their face. Don’t settle for an existence that is dreaded, because you only get one.

And when the next 365 are torn from the calendar and 2019 gets ready to make its debut, I hope I’m as happy as I am now…or happier. (I have nothing against extra amounts of happy) And I sincerely hope you are too.