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Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

For the majority of my life, I’d always stayed under someone’s wing — my parents, my grandma, my friends, my ex.

While this has helped me worry less in life and focus more on practical things (e.g. learning at school, staying in good shape, building household skills), it also stopped me from growing up.

I didn’t know how to travel on an airplane by myself.

I had no idea how much my phone bill cost (everything’s on auto-pay).

I didn’t know how to fend for myself if someone blamed me for something I didn’t do wrong.

I couldn’t tell which friend genuinely wanted to help me and which friend wanted to take advantage of me.

I didn’t even know how to talk to guys.

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But of them all, my greatest concern was not knowing what I wanted in life.

What career did I want as my future source of income? What skills did I want to master? What countries did I want to explore? What hobbies did I want to do to fulfill my day? 

Not knowing the answers to these questions scared me. More so than getting lost in a strange, remote place where no one speaks my language.

And I kind of hated myself for becoming this naive, little girl who depended on others for answers. For following the suggestions of those who “knew” how my life should be instead of pursuing what I wanted.

Until two years ago.

Unleashing a new me

reflection of girl

    What’s your expertise and what can you do that no one else can do for our company? 

    Content marketing, with a special focus on steering traffic to a company’s website — particularly from Medium. After running dozens of marketing experiments, I know which ones drive the most relevant users to a site and get them engaged with the business. The key? Providing value and building trust. Everything else (e.g. the money, the widespread exposure) comes after.

    What do you want to learn? 

    How to shuffle dance or move like those Kpop stars!.

    Chinese — speaking the language, reading off the menus, understanding what people say.

    Cooking. I still follow a recipe but want to make unique fusion foods, using just my nose and taste buds to put everything together.

    What kind of guy do you want in your life? 

    I want a guy I can share my life stories with, without being judged or feeling awkward. I want him to appreciate what I’ve given him and not take me for granted. I want him by my side — not in front of me, not behind, but right next to me. That way I can hold his hand and know we’re both facing life together from the same way (the good and the bad). Most importantly, I want him to give me space, so I can pursue my own hobbies and accomplish greater goals.

    I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions during my post-college years. But now I can.

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    Because in the last two years, I’ve finally kicked my bad habit of letting people steer my life. Instead of going along with their suggestions, I stick with my own agenda.

    That means breaking out of my comfort zone, multiple times (e.g. mingling with strangers, saying “no” to people, exposing myself to a new environment). I admit, it was pretty nerve-racking or embarrassing at times, but gradually, I became more confident in who I was. I knew what I wanted, who mattered to me, and what I needed to do to build the future “me.”

    It was all through trying new things that made me learn more about myself than the 10 years I’ve spent following others.

    Krav Maga taught me how practical self-defense can be, especially if I get stuck in a sticky situation. To be honest, I think it’s a more useful skill to acquire than to master the gun.

    People from Meetups have much more interesting stories to share than all the people I’ve met through dating apps.

    Yoga is fun and relaxing, but too slow for my taste. I like activities that pump adrenaline into my blood!

    I took my first sip of alcohol when I was 7. I took my first glass at 27. And I still hate the taste.

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    Mopeds are the most thrilling things you can drive on the road. I only wish things weren’t so far apart in the U.S. so I can drive it everywhere (especially during rush hour).

    Now I know why women love getting manicures — it looks good. It feels good. It drives men crazy.

    I never knew my hair would actually look good with highlights. I thought plain black was the only color that matched me best.

    Airbnb > hotels. It’s cheaper, you feel more at home, and is super convenient — especially if you’re working remotely.

    What I’d learned in 3 months from my 9–5 job, I’d learned in 1 at my startup. You get so much hands-on experience working at a startup that you become a much greater asset than average people.

    My last words: When sheltered, break out

    If you’re feeling comfortable living under the wings of another, break out — NOW. Sure, it’s a more stress-free life, but when you don’t take on life on your own, you won’t ever grow to your greatest potential or discover what you’re capable of being.

    Explore more. Do more. Be more.

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    Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

    More by this author

    Tiffany Sun

    Aspiring Writer

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2018

    35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

    35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

    Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

    But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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    The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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    While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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    While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

    If You’re Staying In

    1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
    2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
    3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
    4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
      • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
      • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
      • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
      • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
        • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
        • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
        • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
          • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

          If You Want to Get Away

          1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
          2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
          3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
            • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
            • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
            • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
            • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
            • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
            • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
              • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
              • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

              New & Exciting Experiences

              1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
              2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                experience.
                • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                • Experience white water rafting.
                • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                  • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                  • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                    • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                    • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                    • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                    Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                    Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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