In a hindsight, it’s good

When I was on a flight today, I started chatting with an old lady. Chatting with old people is usually a very interesting experience. The way they talk about time is like this: “And then she worked on this for two years, got married in 2002, and has two kids now.” The time scale is years or decades.

While Esther usually uses weeks and months.

“What did you do last weekend?”

The old lady told me she had three degrees in liberal arts, health, and piloting. That’s so many years of study for me! So long!

I asked, “Why didn’t you become a pilot?”

She replied, “When I finished my studies back then, there were no jobs available, so I couldn’t find anything.”

In my head, it sounded pretty sad or traumatic. But she responded, “I think it’s really good in hindsight. My girlfriend who became a pilot had to fly for many days as a mom, hearing her babies crying over the phone. But I had three kids, and I could take them to school every day.”

“Everything doesn’t work out for a reason,” she shrugged and smiled at me.

From her, I learn that life is really much more about attitude than circumstances. She could have chosen to become an old, grumpy lady who cursed the world for screwing over her dreams, but she can also choose to see how this event brings her a loving experience of motherhood. Her words give me a lot of comfort. Because if I translate this to myself, it will be, “If I cannot find a place to stay in the US, I can probably go somewhere else and explore and enjoy other dimensions of my life anyway.” And also, if the old lady can spend so many years studying, exploring, and switching careers, why should I worry that I’m not good enough when I’ve only learned full stack for 2 months?

I know “attitude” sounds like a cliche that everyone knows, but I see few people master the art of it. No matter if it’s at NTU, Minerva, or in San Francisco, I see very intense, impatient, insecure, and anxious young people seeking success and recognition. And I think I do not appreciate it at all. I’m not saying that I don’t work hard and let the universe decide my fate. In fact, it’s the opposite. Only when we can be free from all the personal issues inside us can we truly focus on the world problems we want to solve and the vision we want to realize. We can finally be stopped being distracted. I often find that impatience, insecurity, and anxiety make people lose sight of important things, running around like headless and hopeless chickens.

As I gain more and more clarity learning from others, I feel more driven and determined toward my vision. Because you know, even if I try my best but fail miserably, I will still probably be happy old lady and see the bright side of it. Hence, I can gamble with all of myself, while feeling free :)