This picture of me when I was a baby is currently on the wall of the hallway in my parents’ home.
Life is so heartbreakingly short.
I still remember the first time I set foot in school, it was a preschool in Chinatown LA (yes, I went to preschool in Chinatown). A year later, when I was 4, I attended a preschool closer to my home in Highland Park. There, I spent my days playing on the playground, riding around in a tricycle with a little wagon behind me. Life consisted of playing with other preschoolers, eating lunch, and napping.
Then, when I was 5, I started kindergarten. Back then, my grades were pathetic – satisfactory marks across the board. At 5 years old, I had ability to discern the disappointment in my mom’s voice when she reacted to my grades. It was then that I vowed never to be mediocre again. It was then that my self worth became tied to my academic accomplishments. Each perfect test score fueled my drive to accomplish more.
When I was 6 years old, I became an older sister, and developed the “middle child syndrome.” We moved to West Hills, a nice suburban city in the San Fernando Valley, a total upgrade from our home in Los Angeles.
I remember growing into my teenage years, a rough and painful part of my life. It was then that I became more aware of racial and cultural differences, differences that never mattered to me and still don’t. I remember the bullying and the teenage girl gossip and backstabbing. I wish I had the courage to stand up to the bullies, the gossip queens and the backstabbers. I wish I had the courage to say, “No, I will have no part in this.”
High school came and went. I had some wonderful teachers, but some were pretty useless. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for that experience.
College was probably the best experience of my life. I had the opportunity to work with some of the best professors in the world. My limits were constantly tested, physically and intellectually. (I lost like 30 pounds in college, some which I gained back since then). There, I developed the ability to think for myself and to challenge things I didn’t believe in. I truly believed (and still do) that I could help make this world a better place, to help build organizations and communities that would help people live healthier and happier lives. I’ve always had big dreams – that hasn’t changed.
It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I really became aware of my mortality, which brings me back to my first thought of this post that life is heartbreakingly short. I briefly revisited my life in under 400 words on this post. Ideally, I’m a quarter of the way through it, but it could very well be one-third or halfway – I don’t know. Sometimes, I feel okay about it, sometimes it scares me.
Much had changed since I was a kid, but many things have stayed the same. I still gaze in awe, looking up at the sky during the day or at night, wondering about everything out there in the world or in the universe. I’m still impressed at the things humans have been able to accomplish: building bridges and roads, aircraft, ships, skyscrapers, computers, etc. All the technology that we’ve developed over the past hundred years. It all still amazes me. I’m even more curious about the world as I’ve ever been, I’m still an avid reader, and I still like to explore new places.
I still believe that deep down, people are good. And that the good will prevail over all the evil and corruption, even long after I’m gone.
At 24, I don’t feel much different than when I was 14. I’m a bit older, a bit wiser, but I’m still kind of a kid at heart.