Since I was 12 years old, I have lived by this maxim.
Stasis is death.
Because in my pre-teen angst, nothing was more deathly than resigning to a life where comfort besieged all.
As I got older, I used this to high power my decisions choosing to make mistakes rather than stay in the same place afraid of what may come. The strategy was not misguided, just not directed enough, and I developed a habit of going forward sometimes blind to the heart and guts of my whole operation.
And so I pursued my love of learning and grew my chops in quality management and operations. This was not the wrong decision, but it prolonged what I already knew. I was not scared to make the wrong choices, but I was scared to make the inevitable one that fit my oh so contemplative soul.
Last month, I left my disturbingly high-paying job at a distribution center to pursue something, anything, closer to my heart. My priority right now is to write – my first love, my first heartbreak.
I was overjoyed walking out of a role I knew no longer fit my determination and clear-sightedness. At the time, my nephew, who I helped raise for the past six years, was planning to move to Seoul, Korea to be with his dad.
The apt choice, an easy one, but only in retrospect. I spent the next week and a half hanging out with my nephew and reconnecting with my older brother. The drama is not mine so I won’t share it but through that previous time, with my whole body and mind, I was finally able to forgive.
When my mom and I stood at the escalator before security check at LAX, trying to wave happily and not let our overflowing eyes be too obvious, I locked eyes with my nephew. At 12, he was a wise one after moving around from home to home adapting to changing circumstances since he was born. His face froze briefly as he realized I was going to cry, then he smiled softly as if to comfort me as he rode the escalator up with his dad.
A week later, my grandpa died.
A decorated 3-star general from the South Korean military and patriarch of my dad’s side, he was a serious man who I didn’t really get to know. The last time I had seen him was when I was 12 years old, the year of my maxim decree. Now, 18 years later, I was going back to Korea for his funeral.
Quick planning helped my dad get a flight out that night, and my mom and I got one for 2 days later so it wouldn’t cost extravagantly more than a month’s rent.
Before I left, I reserved movers to leave my expensive Rancho Cucamonga apartment for a rent-free room at my parents’ condo in Buena Park. Everything was changing, and at that point, I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. It was all – transition, death, and rebirth.
To be continued…