“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark
Life can be a persistent teacher.
When we fail to learn life’s lessons the first time around, life has a way of repeating them to foster understanding.
Over the last few years, my life was shaken up by dramatic circumstances. I resisted the impermanence of these events in my life and struggled with embracing change. When I resisted the lessons that change brought, a roller coaster of changes continued to materialize.
When I was seventeen years old, my immigrant parents’ small import-export business failed. From a comfortable life in Northern California, they uprooted themselves and my two younger brothers and moved back to Asia.
The move was sudden and unexpected, catching us all by surprise. I was in my last months of high school, so I remained in California with a family friend to finish my degree.
I spent the summer abroad with my family, and then relocated to Southern California to start college upon my return. Alone in a new environment, I found myself without many friends or family members close by.
Life was moving much faster than I was able to handle, and I was shell-shocked by my family’s sudden move, my new surroundings, and college. Their relocation and college brought dramatic changes, along with fear, loneliness, and anxiety.
I felt overwhelmed by my new university campus and its vastness; alone, even though I sat in classes of 300 students; and challenged by the responsibilities of independence and adulthood.
Everything I had known had changed in a very short period of time. I tried to cope the best I could, but I resisted the changes by isolating myself even more from my new university and surroundings. It was the first and only time in my life I had contemplated suicide.
Several years after college, having achieved my career goals in the legal field, I started a legal services business. I helped immigrants, refugees, and people escaping persecution who’d come to the U.S. to navigate the hurdles to residency and citizenship.
I invested money, time, and my being into my law office. Not only was I preoccupied with the dire legal situations of my clients, but I also confronted the ups and downs of running a business.