Breaking Up With My Ex Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
Throughout my young adulthood, from high school to post college years, I had tried my best to adapt to the Chinese culture.
It was one of the ways I knew that would impress my ex (he’s from mainland China) and to prove to him that I would do anything, just anything, to be closer to him and the culture he grew up in. Learn Mandarin. Wear red underwear on Chinese New Years (yes, it’s a tradition). Use chopsticks instead of forks. I wanted him to realize that even though I had grown up fully immersed in the American culture, I was still open to change. So it didn’t surprise me, not one bit, when I found myself nodding my head in agreement to move to China with him.
But little did I realize, I had made a huge mistake.
What I thought would be a simple change in mannerism and customs soon unfolded into a full-fledged war, between what I wanted and what was expected of me.
I found myself, much to my horror, forcing myself to listen to his elders despite how much I didn’t agree with their point of view, drinking (or at least pretending to drink) alcohol even when I hated the taste and dressing up conservatively when I preferred, at the time, ripped-up jeans and tank tops.
Needless to say, I was pretty unhappy with my life and the kind of person I was becoming. But because I was so much in love, I decided to go with it anyways and crossed my fingers that things would be better.
In fact, the worst thing that could’ve happened, happened (a breakup), and I was thrown back to where I once was — back to my parent’s house, where I would restart my life….this time alone, at the age of 25.
Admittingly, it was tough, and many times I had locked myself in my room, crying, thinking how my life was forever ruined. I mean, how could you possibly restore a decades worth of your youth? You can’t. What’s gone is gone. The only thing you have left is yourself, and what you’re able to do from that point on.
After realizing what I was left with, a sad resume and a few friends whom have stuck with me until today, I decided to change my path. Instead of following what everyone else was trying to do — get a job and climb the ladder — I stepped onto the plane, in hopes that through traveling I’d find myself and what I truly wanted to do with my life.
And sure enough I did.
I learned that I was happiest when I was creating something — a story, a video, a personal quote….even a burrito. That I would go crazy if I skipped out on a workout. That I could never, ever, go on a diet (sorry, but food is a non-negotiable for me).
By letting myself be myself, I had come to realize that you don’t exactly need someone or something to feel content with your life. It’s all within you, specifically the control you have in choosing your destiny, that will determine what you’ll get out of life, the skills you master, how you’ll look and how happy you’ll be today, tomorrow and so forth.
As the great Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.”
I’m happy to say, I have found mine.