I started the year with a near-death-experience of sorts. A handful of epiphanies have emerged in the midst of an ongoing fight for survival.
Epiphany #1: I am mortal; my life will have limits. For a long while, I imagined my life to unfold across an 800-page saga, e.g. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The prospect that it could cease on page 483 instead of my imagined “last page” has made me alert to this new-found mortality.
Recognizing my mortality truncates my bucket list to a few items: start a family, honor my parents, and build on the family business. Prior to this year, I spent a fair amount of my time comparing myself with my peers and my parents’ achievements. All that stuff is not really important anymore. I want to measure my achievements only by where I stand now.
Epiphany #2: My life is not in my control. I need to depend on others and (perhaps) God.
I was raised in a family that did not heed much to formal religion and was — by example — taught self-reliance. This type of upbringing does not tolerate sloth nor excuses. It’s a good mindset for hitting milestones.
Unfortunately, when powers outside of your control seem to strike down upon you, it also does not provide much explanation for why this is happening to you. Several times this year I haven’t had much to do except contemplate why. The conclusion that I’m coming to accept is that perhaps there is a grand plan and I must have faith that it will work out in the end.
I’ve been fortunate that a few people I met early on have adopted me and protected me. As my auntie always says, God does not make mistakes. Only when you look back do you see His plan.
Epiphany #3: Life is decided by a handful of moments. The decisions made in these instances will determine what happens next. This seems obvious so it goes last. You must have the self-awareness to recognize that you are in the midst of one of these moments. Slow down, break-down the problem, and review the angles.
The good news is my fate has yet to be decided. If I can make it through this period, then I will become a cliché and “live life to the fullest.” While I “wait” for the next critical moment, I will prepare by working hard, spend more time with my family, and give thanks.