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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

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    Tiffany Sun

    Aspiring Writer

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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