The professional world and how age is sometimes king

The professional world and how age is sometimes king

You know the term “age is just a number”? It’s pretty common, and mostly used on birthdays of people who don’t enjoy the larger number they are turning. Side note: let’s give a half spirited, fully sarcastic round of applause to society for that upside down and Debby downer thought process. Why? Because age is such a gift, and I know- you’re thinking- how does this 20 something year old even know this? 

Well, here’s the thing, the term also works for the younger folks. How? Because age IS just a number, people can be wildly different from the norm of their age. I know I am, and I know my husband is too (in opposite ways, but that’s for another story). 

The world of professionalism is a stage or period in life that comes for each of us. It’s a silent stage in life that creeps up on us, even when we think we see it coming. 

It happens for people in different ways and different speeds, but there is a day when you realize what you’re doing requires a separate version of yourself. 

Some cases you are asked to change your behaviors slightly, while others you have to change completely to fit a role. I find it often comes unexpectedly and with the job you are given, or from the person, or the place you work for. 

I’ve been in every stage for what feels like forever at a time. High school was one of the first shifts into the professional world. We were expected as young adults to make decisions that more often than not largely impacted the future of our lives. Whether it was the college we chose, the internship, or even the summer jobs. At this point, everything went on a resume. Everything had a place on paper to make you more important, more worthy, and more wanted. 

After college, you have your first real life job- this is where all those years of good grades, extra credit, college tuition, and summer jobs came into play. Here, you had to yet again show your worth for positions that may very well lead you to reassess the importance of working at all. And to top it all off, you were expected to know how to do this from the very beginning. 

My first out of college job was maybe one of the worst. I was eventually treated terribly. Although, it didn’t start this way- and I believe that’s how they get you. My energetic and knowledge hungry self slowly faded, and I became zombie-like on the job. I did the same exact things everyday and I sat and stared at my double screens all day. My future to grow in the job began and stopped the day I signed on. 

I was given a title that sounded important and serious, but was nothing more than a glorified floater of the company, who picked up the extra work. They saw my age as just a number, not necessarily taking into account the person I actually was and my capabilities. 

I stayed in the job as long as I could before finally leaving it. The problem here was, to society- it looked like I quit on a great opportunity that showcased my knowledge, skills, and worth. I felt utterly suffocated by my position there, and my health and self worth took a downward spiral. The feeling after leaving the job was something I’ll never forget- a weight lifted off me, and I instantly felt better. But this was of course also followed by horror and the realization I was jobless- right out of college. I thought- what will people think of me now? 

Like all things, nothing is forever. I soon found another job, and it felt like something I could really take on and run with. They seemed interested in my worth and how I could potentially grow at the business.  

But, at the end of the day- it all came down to my age. I couldn’t do certain jobs because of where I was in life (my age). I wasn’t worldly enough, and who knew if I could handle the work. My potential was measured by my age- perhaps not on purpose, but it was what it was. 

I think that once people get to a certain level of success in life, and a certain comfortability, they become blind to the beginning stages of their success. Employees become people they “gave” a chance to, and any successes would therefore be a shared reward. 

I once had an employer who congratulated me on a large purchase, while also noting that it was basically like they bought it for me. And I thought- hm, I don’t remember you scrubbing the floor and working your butt off! 

Age is just a number, but life is more than that number. 

In the end, my age is a gift, and I wouldn’t want to change it in order to change the way successful people see me. I am young, and according to society, I might not be as experienced in life. And somehow I am stuck being seen as the person that needs that big break. 

I’ll tell you what though- All my proudest accomplishments come from the life experiences I’ve had- and none of them have had anything to do with the jobs or titles I’ve earned. 

Life is bigger than your number, so why not live like it?

Live life in vibrant color, and leave behind the rest

Live life in vibrant color, and leave behind the rest

I sometimes struggle with healing from my past. Past mistakes, friendships, relationships, or even past versions of myself. And what I have found is that we are always a little bit of each of those things…forever. Not necessarily in all the cringe worthy ways, but if you think about it, we are always growing from our past versions. Whether it is the past version of yourself from a year, a month, a week, or even a day ago. I like to think of each person’s life like a plant, every plant has different needs and different ways to care for it, but the base line care is pretty much the same. You water it, give it sunlight, and repot it when it’s outgrown its first container. People are like this too – everyone starts somewhere, needs a level of nourishment, and care – and eventually we outgrow where we started. A lot like plants, we will always have our roots, the evidence of who we once were, forever attached to who we are today.

My past self has made some foolish decisions. Hell, sometimes my present self does too – no one is perfect! After trial and error, most of the time I have learned to notice, grow, and improve from those choices. Some decisions lead me to stick it out with friends that were no good and stay with jobs that were sucking the life out of me. And others were questionable personal decisions, like trying not to eat to fill the fantasy standard of beauty. Oppositely, some were positive decisions to take chances on myself, choose what I wanted over what others wanted for me, and love who I was at every stage of life. These decisions were rarely self taught, and a lot of  times they were inspired by way of example. I would see someone taking risks and choosing to live life in vibrant colors, and I would decide I wanted to live life in vibrant colors too.  

Speaking on the spectrum of decisions, I have and love tattoos. They are beautiful expressions of what people want to showcase to others without words (although sometimes tattoos are words). Occasionally they are self explanatory, while other times they are special to only the one person who has them. I like the ones that are significant in some way, the ones that have meaning beyond the tattoo itself. All my tattoos have meaning, but I happened to get one that I no longer felt in love with a few years later. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to get it covered up. The process of getting it covered up was weirdly therapeutic, I was changing something that was thought/meant to be permanent. I was changing something because I made the decision to. 

Lately, I have become more aware of the power of decision. Our daily lives are so saturated with advice and FOMO, that sometimes it’s hard to make a personal decision without someone else’s approval. I now acknowledge the power of jumping off of my past/present self today and everyday to be a better version of myself.  Every day is a clean slate to change and make waves.

Being Asian American in the United States Today

Being Asian American in the United States Today

Okay, here it goes. I’m working on starting a side hustle, and what comes with starting a side hustle, is extra visibility. However, with the most recent outbreaks of violence towards Asian Americans, I want nothing more than to curl up under an invisibility cloak. I generally try not to burden people with my fears. And in most cases, I believe voicing concerns should never be viewed as burdens on others at all. Instead they should be seen as a lesson or an open opportunity to learn from another person. 

This past weekend has me scared to be independent…again. Let me explain. 

When Covid-19 first began, I was afraid like everyone else. It was a global emergency and no one had clear answers for our future. But I became more afraid when the former president of the United States coined it the “China Flu” and “KungFlu”. These nicknames led to an open invitation to those who felt that violence against Asian Americans was acceptable. 

I was once a completely independent woman, unafraid to do almost anything alone. I’d go to the gym, go shopping, go for walks or jogs — all on my own. But now, my home is the only place I feel I am safe. My husband drives the car when we go out, I wear sunglasses when I can to hide my eyes, and he answers the door if people come to our house. 

Growing up, I experienced racism in the form of small micro aggressions— a lot, and still do. It was something I dealt with in silence. My entire family is caucasian,  and I remember it being a lonely realization once I understood that my being Asian was never going to be something they could ever fully relate to. My family is beyond understanding, and I am so grateful for them.  But being a different race and living with the differences everyday, is entirely different than living alongside it. 

Since Covid-19, I only truly saw my race being a factor a couple times. At our bi-weekly shopping trips, there were times a couple people would leave the aisle I was in, or start walking the other way after a whisper and a look from one another, then to me. My husband noticed more occasions than I did, but I have learned to tunnel vision. 

Sometimes I would get dead cold stares from people who had their masks half on. They would look at me with piercing looks of disgust of my being in the same grocery store as them, in the same country. 

Here’s the thing, not only am I a U.S. citizen, but I also haven’t been to China in years. These facts however, are not things I feel I need to tell strangers, ever. In fact, it’s none of their business. 

Violent incidents surface in my news feeds daily now and add to my fear of leaving my home.  People are being violently assaulted, spit on, and threatened. I’ve become more affected than I’d like to admit, as if fear is somehow bad or weak. Let me tell you right now, it isn’t either of those things, it’s human. 

The world has turned upside down on empathy and understanding. It’s somehow cool to show off your hatred for others. I hope when my children come into this world, I can say I helped educate others, for myself, for them, and for our safety. 

My heart goes out to the recent losses and those who are affected by the recent shooting in Atlanta, GA. 

My advice to people: be better, listen to other people’s experiences, and learn from them and through them. Everyone has some room for growth and everyone has a story worth listening to. 

A glimpse

A glimpse

If you have siblings, you already know the insane range of benefits and well, drawbacks of being the younger one, this post will focus on the benefits.  My husband and I are both younger siblings, and we got lucky with having our sisters show us the ropes on certain things in life. And sometimes, they were even kind enough to show us examples of what NOT to do. We get to peak at the blue print of growing up, and make educated choices on how we might change our own lives. Sometimes it is as simple as, don’t do this, because mom and dad will react like this. 

One thing I love about being a sibling is being able to watch my sister grow into the mother she is now. I obviously learned a lot about being a great mother from my own mom, but there is something really special and fun about watching someone you used to fight over the TV remote with, become a parent. 

Since marrying, I now have 4 nieces and nephews and I am so grateful for all of them. Each one of them are great kids, with big hearts, great senses of humor, and they are on the right track to being some of the most amazing future adults. My sister and sister-in-law make it look so easy, but I know that they have worked very hard to become the role model mothers they are now. I feel like parenting is like a crash course and an extra credit project all at once. You have to know what you’re doing immediately after delivering, but if you make a mistake, you have time to make up for, learn from it, and change course. 

I often get to hang out with my sister’s kids, and it’s one of the best things I can think of to do. When I have free time, I get a glimpse of parenthood. Note, I am very aware it is a glimpse- because no way does 3-4 hours with the cutest kids constitute as full on parenting.  Parenthood is around the clock, and I really love that I get to enjoy snippets of what is in store for me. I think it’s one of the best and only things in life that is so unpredictable, but also constantly available to learn from. And as a bonus, you often get to learn from people you really love and admire. 

Someday I hope to also experience the full time whirlwind of being a parent, but for now, I am content with getting to know some of the sweetest kids I get to call family.