Don’t be afraid of change. You might lose something good, but you will gain something better.unknown
Who AM I, really?
Any of you struggle with this? After a design career of over 20 years, I found myself questioning who I am.
What did I really want in life and does being a designer really bring me fulfillment? It was not easy to say, but being a designer doesn’t fulfill me in the way I had hoped it would.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love designing, but I want to design when I want to, not because I “have to”. Do you ever feel that way?
It’s a strange place to be and sounds quite selfish, but that’s just how I feel. I knew the time had come for a transformation in my life and I struggled with the idea that I have to stay in this career because that’s what I got my degree in. And then I realized that even if I changed career paths, being a designer didn’t define who I am.
I define who I am and no matter where life takes me, I will always be a designer. And so what if I got a degree in this? This doesn’t limit who I can be and what I can learn.
Life is just full of experiences to be had. I think we so often limit ourselves. Change is constant and I love it! Yes, it isn’t always easy or wrapped up in a pretty package, but it’s the hardest changes we make in life that make us grow the most. Now that’s fulfilling, wouldn’t you say?
Becoming a Blogger
When the idea of blogging was presented to me, I had no idea what this meant, and it opened up a whole other world of possibilities!
I had no idea, completely clueless about this whole world of blogging and that I could use this platform to help others.
Writing about the Sandwich Generation has been so therapeutic and has given me more insight into myself. It has helped me face some hard things in the past, but that’s the silver lining.
I can heal old wounds.
I love knowing that my difficult experiences can help others and inspire others. I love this whole idea of paying it forward. I love knowing that I can make someone relate and not feel alone in their journey.
If I could inspire or help one person, then it’s all worth it. For now, this topic of the Sandwich Generation really resonates with me. It’s been challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Even then, I knew I could easily kill it by writing a design blog. I already had so much content that I could implement, but I wanted to take the harder road, not to say that a design blog isn’t in my future, but I felt the need to rise up and take a whole new direction with my life. Someone once told me, you learn the most when you teach others.
Speaking of feeling rewarding, becoming my mom’s caretaker was further from that truth. I had such a hard relationship with my mom growing up as I struggled with my identity as an Asian-American.
My mom, being the first generation in America made it so hard. She wanted to mold me into this typical Asian daughter, and I wanted to be so much more. After all, isn’t that why she came here? So that we can all have a better life?
Truth is, I was annoyed and frustrated with my mom in the beginning and I learned it wasn’t the present I was reacting to; it was the past and all the pain of my childhood that came rushing through.
Has that happened to you?
It’s hard and freeing at the same time and it really took me by surprise. But if you’ve felt this way, I’m here to tell ya that it’s totally OK!
There’s nothing wrong with us. It makes perfect sense that certain childhood feelings would resurface. My mom has always seemed so strong to me so it’s hard to see her slowly deteriorate.
However, becoming my mom’s caretaker has been so healing for me and has helped me release all my anger towards her from my childhood.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love me or wasn’t there for me, it was just the cultural differences that really affected our relationship. I knew she loved me, I just didn’t “feel” loved. Oh, there’s a difference!
And then when things got really bad with my mom’s health, I felt trapped. Is this is my life now?, I asked myself. No, it’s the way I could repay her for all she did for us, raising three children, without a husband working as a seamstress night and day. Because of my healing relationship with my mom, it has shifted so much of my life in a positive direction especially with my own daughter and there’s the silver lining.
Purpose and Passion
Here I am again saying those very words I live by; everything happens for a reason.
As I look back on all the hard times I’ve gone through, with my daughter who had so many challenges, I now know it was so purposeful.
If I hadn’t gone through what I did, I couldn’t share my experiences with others as I can share my experiences through caring for my mom.
I’m starting to learn more and more about my purpose and passion. I love being helpful whether it is a friend or family member or getting involved in a non-profit event.
I love philanthropy and I’m so blessed to be surrounded by like-minded friends. We all love to go out and have a good drink and amazing food, so why not do it for a cause? I always find it so fulfilling and so worthwhile. It’s just a feel-good thing and who doesn’t want to feel good all the time?
That’s why I felt compelled to start this blog. I do have a story to tell, and I do hope that it becomes a page in someone else’s’ handbook.
It’s never too late
At the ripe age of 50, I find myself starting over and the one limiting beliefs I had to work through was the idea of being too old. Is that you too?
I realized, it’s never too late as long as I’m alive and still breathing, I can move in any direction I desire. What have I got to lose, really?
I found a podcast that focused on just that. It’s called Doing It Scared, by Ruth Sokoup whos says ‘courage doesn’t mean we’re never afraid, instead, courage is being scared and taking action anyway‘. Isn’t that awesome? This was such a defining moment for me.
I highly recommend you take a listen when you get a chance. Ruth says we all are scared, but do it scared anyway. What’s the alternative? You accomplish nothing and don’t reach any of your biggest goals that WE All are capable of reaching.
We all are afraid to fail, but is it the end of the world? Heck no! And if you listen to any of her podcast guests, most of them failed miserably at some point in their life, but they got up, dusted their feet and started on a new path. Ya just gotta keep going. It’s like that little train…“I think I can…I think I can…I know I can!”
That’s what I’ve learned. If I’m a horrible writer for my blog, I’ll learn to be better if I just keep writing. I was a terrible knitter in the beginning, but I just kept knitting and now I knit gorgeous things! When I was a junior designer I was criticized for being a “yes” girl. Can you believe that? I thought that was a good thing but what they meant to tell me is that I wasn’t thinking out of the box enough. I wasn’t proposing new ideas or challenging others. Well, why would I? I was afraid of being fired. Wouldn’t my Senior designer find me offensive?
But how funny that this moment has come full circle in my life. I am so going out of the box and not asking permission but giving myself the permission to do so. Back then, I didn’t know better, but ya betcha bottom dollar that I do now and I’m fired up!!! I’m older and wiser. Oh, how cliche that sounds, but there is some merit to that.
I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to be judged, well, maybe a little, but I love that I am doing something I never thought I’d do. I will always love being a designer, but I love helping others more and I’m working on a way to bridge the two in a way that I will find more fulfilling than just getting paid to make your space more functional & colorful. I know there’s more to it for me down the line.
So ya see why I felt compelled to write this blog? My daughter, along with all her challenges, was a gift to me. To help me grow and be a better version of myself every day. To teach me more compassion than meets the eye.
She is my life lesson.
Everything in my past, good and bad, has shaped who I am today and who I am becoming. First I get to face me and only then I can learn to forgive myself.
I get to release the underlying shame I’ve carried for so long. I wasn’t perfect, not even close to being a perfect mom. I’m not a perfect caretaking daughter either, but I do my best. I did my best. We all do. So please, stop beating yourself up and give yourself some grace. No one and I do mean NO ONE, is perfect so stop living up to a standard that simply does not exist.