While waiting for take-out, I took out my notebook and wrote SHIFTS, as in shifts in perceptions, rites of passage, ah-ha moments . Maybe it’s the anthropologist in me, but I’m interested in this dying tradition. Not because I like tradition, so much as I like the idea that we have to go through something in order to grow up. And we are a world, it seems, that is enamored with not ever growing up.
“Staying young” has its value, but I’ll wait for growing up to gain its fans.
An incomplete list:
When I realized I needed to talk less, and listen more.
When I forgave my mom.
When it dawned on me that my mom thought in Thai, not English.
When I decided to get over my fear of motorbikes and learn how to drive one, and did.
When I realized other families are dysfunctional too.
When I decided to stop staying up at night worrying about money.
When driving a car long distances turned therapeutic.
When I stopped protesting after given a compliment.
When I started to believe – I am attractive.
When I stopped competing with other women.
When I saw myself as a good teacher.
When enough people told me I was a good listener, and I listened.
When silence became my favorite sound.
When I became less apologetic for liking 80s rock.
When I felt old, and when I felt young.
When I stopped walking fast.
When I stopped rushing to work.
When I began taking writing seriously.
When I saw myself making a mistake for what I believed to be love.
When I debunked my ex’s options, one by one.
When I told myself, if I wanted it done, I had to do it.
When I decided to end unhealthy friendships.
When I stopped feeling so damn guilty.
When I started to dream big.
When I recognized, I am lucky.
When I decided to live abroad.
When I couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t start the day without coffee.
When giving became important.
When being an Asian was not cool, different and weird.
Whenever I read, and whenever I write.