Author: jackiesternguyen

Just another person conflicted with the highs & lows of life. I'm here to right my wrongs..and I'm far from figuring myself out. My has

Tick Tock

Today was one of the days where old friends actually followed through with plans instead of the usual fly by conversation of “we should catch up” which is usually followed by a reluctant “yes definitely” –that leads utterly to no where.

I forget how good it feels to lose yourself in conversation, to laugh about memories, to talk about nothing and everything at the same time. Stoking fires that were never really put out. It’s nice to know that after years of not seeing each other that we still get each other, that we still understand how we each tick. Hearing stories of how far we come what we’ve all journeyed through its crazy to think that the three kids who spent their nights challenging their curfews driving up and down the coast looking for adventure at secret look out points and binging on junk food at hole in the walls are now adults (though..I’ll never ever really feel like a grown up lol). One on their way down the aisle. The other a scientist and then there’s me teetering between starting my own business or climbing the corporate ladder.

Reminiscing with old friends is up lifting. It’s a gentle reminder that we are progressing whether we like it or not.

As we get older, I’m starting to realize how hard it is to hold on to relationships and to make time for people we’re all so caught up in this whirlwind that we call life–pursuing careers, goals, passions, soul searching, trying to make names for ourselves.

We so often forget about the little things, it’s in the moments when we step aside from the hustle that actually brings quality and meaning to our lives. I don’t do this enough and I know I need to make more time for it. We all do.

Time slips through our fingers far too quickly for us to catch.

“The more sand that has escaped the hourglass, the clearer we should see through it”

Jean Paul

 

 

Cyclical

I turn 27 in about an hour..I’m sitting here baffled at where my life has taken me…I feel like I’ve been everywhere and no where at the same time. Does that even make sense? Don’t get me wrong I have my fair share of experiences and I’m living a blessed life, but I just can’t help but feel like the same girl from 8 years ago winding about life with the same fears, circling through the motions without a clear direction.

Through my career changes, my relationships and all my travels–I always end up end up here in the same place, surrounded by the same faces, repeating the same situations. As if I’m stuck in this perpetual orbit–entering new phases but always returning to the exact same stagnant space. I’m watching those around me move forward, propelling towards dreams & cultivating new lives but I can’t help but feel like I get thrown back in the same cycle. I know everyone’s journey is unique, it takes time to cultivate greatness and I know my life will be nothing short of it– that I feel in my bones.

I guess I can attest to my generation’s impatience..I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m ready for something different–something that takes me away from ‘here’.

Forward momentum–That’s what I’m searching for…in what, where, or whom? These are the things I still need to figure out.

Hopefully this year will bring forth new clarity. That’s all I’m wishing for this year..a sense of comprehensible purpose.

There are no instructions

to how we’re supposed to move on. Each day gets a little easier, the weight of the 7 years begin to chip slowly off my shoulders. I’m coming to terms that we’ll never really be strangers. I can’t pretend like I don’t care about how your cousins grow up or whether you started the next chapter to your business or if you still have weekly dinners with your estranged parents. I can’t pretend that you don’t know my quirks and qualms–the stories about mother, my father’s favorite cognac or how cool the room needs to be for me to fall asleep. I’m at awe fathoming how quickly time has gone by this year, I can’t help compare today to how it was last year–I have to stop looking at our past with rose colored glasses. I’m trying to collect pieces of myself that I’ve neglected. Recreating new memories to look back upon..

No one tells you how easily you begin to romanticize your past memories. How easily it is to fall in the trap of stating ” it wasn’t that bad…” I just have to remind myself constantly why we needed to let go.

Sometimes letting things go is an act of greater power than defending or hanging on.

-Eckhart Tolle

Thank you

I can’t sleep these days because all I can do is think about you and how much I want to say thank you. I couldn’t gather enough courage that night to tell you this because the tears were falling too hard, but you deserve to know how much you mean to me.

Thank you for always being there, for truly being my first true love, my best friend, for loving my family, for being loyal, for always teaching me to see the bright side towards things, for growing up with me, for teaching me patience–for showing me the truest love. For being the son my dad never had. You gave my life and everyone around me color. We’ve been through so much these past 7 years and at the end of the day I know you’re someone who I could count on to be honest for me. Thank you for telling me the truth–though it hurt like hell to hear but that’s all I could ever ask for. Honesty comes with its prices.

Hey–maybe this will bring us both a new beginning we’re really needing. I hope this most of all brings you relief. I’ll always love you with all my heart and I’m always going to be there for you. You’re an incredible person and I know you’re going to do so many great things. You’ve always been a go getter and I’m sure you will achieve all your aspirations and any endeavors in your life that you choose to pursue. We’re never going to have our youth back and these are the years we can be the most selfish–so go full throttle and pursue your passions and don’t look back.

I couldn’t force you to understand what I needed when your heart was unwilling to learn. I wish all of this could be enough but I’m growing in my own ways. I need to learn to grow by myself without clinging to the notion that I will always have someone like you to lean on. I have a lot of learning to do and I know that the only person that will make me happy is myself. I will always be your biggest supporter and by saying this I understand that you need to focus, so I’m doing my best to let go. I’m proud of us to be able to be mature enough to let this go in a whisper of love and care–rather than a fire of anger and blame. Time will help us both figure out if this what we want and what we need to do to really grow.

I did love the little things–I loved our endless memories and most importantly I love you. The hardest part of all is saying good bye to my best friend. Good luck with everything and I really hope that one day when the hurt doesn’t cut as as deep we can cross paths again. I want you to be happy, I’m grateful that I was able to have someone like you in my life–once upon a time.

Forever your first love,

I’ll muster the courage to send this one day.

 

Food for Thought 1.13.17

You are a victim of the rules you live by.

Jenny Holzer

I grew up in a traditional, Vietnamese-idealistic household in which I was taught to hold humility and humbleness to the highest degree. I was taught to keep my accomplishments quiet–There was no dwelling in the moment–no “special gold star stickers,” because to my parents arrogance would step in the way of growth, no one likes a bragger and there was always so much more to achieve–There will always be room for improvement. I was told to be sweet, quiet, to serve other first. I was also told to leave any emotional sensitivities in a deep dark corner where no one should find them.  I grew up knowing there is no success without real struggle, so I kept my head down and worked hard.

I continue to struggle with guilt because I truly believe I haven’t struggled enough for dues to be paid. I never know when to stop working because I don’t really believe that the work will ever be finished or I feel like I haven’t proved myself enough. I don’t let others in on my emotions because I feel shameful of them. I continue to struggle with confidence because I never knew how to differentiate it from arrogance–it always just felt wrong to me–like an awkward sweater that I couldn’t wait to take off. The list goes on..

There are so many rules created and nurtured by my up bringing that have been harnessing me into the limitations that challenge me to this day.

So I’ve made a promise to myself–to begin freeing myself of the cage illusions that did nothing for me but confine me to doubt.

Silver lining–2016

As 2016 comes to a close, I’ve decided to recap about all that has happened over the course of the year. This year (like for many) has been more-so challenging than most–mentally, physically, spiritually–Err politically.

It was as if the curve balls kept coming and I had to continue to find my way to dodge them at the last millisecond.With the challenges came the lessons and though it always took me some time to realize it; I always left the battles triumphant–one way or another.

I don’t do this enough, actually I don’t even write enough anymore for myself, but I don’t want this to be another year in the books where it just blurs by without a recollection.

For a mid-20 something who spent so many years living vicariously through other people’s virtual feeds, I’ve rallied through more than I could imagine this year..

  • Spent 3 weeks in Vietnam with my entire family rediscovering familiar cities and exploring new towns and meeting new friends.
  • Winged an hour-long solo presentation in front of my entire company & vendors with only 2 days of preparation. (I was petrified–voice shook the entire time, but I managed to get it done with some will power and polite nods in the audience)
  • He went into remission and has been clear since–God let it stay that way
  • Traveled to Kansas City, St. Louis, Birmingham and Memphis over the course of 5 days for business as the only female lead on the team–I call that my whirlwind trip with far too many plane rides, airports, hotel rooms and mediocre continental breakfasts.
  • Painstakingly decided to quit my job without a back up plan due to undue circumstances with a week’s notice. I said goodbye to everything I knew in the industry I grew up in and parted ways with some of the best people I’ve met in my life.
  • I then was offered & accepted a remote position with a trusted joint venture who’s known me for years within 2 days of turning in my resignation
  • Spent a long weekend  in Sequoia finding myself in nature– And oh so fittingly experienced all elements of weather in the same weekend (wind, rain, hail, sunshine & snow)
  • Also witnessed my best friend’s proposal there with the most magnificent back drop
  • Got my first tattoo with my sister to symbolize our love & protection for another
  • And then decided 3 days later to drive by myself for an hour and half to meet one of my favorite tattoo artists to get a second for just me–just because.
  • Went on my first solo business trip to Memphis & Nashville to meet with my new boss and team
  • Experienced Nash-Vegas
  • Learned the trials of trying to mix business with family–never again, not with a ten foot pole
  • Learned the blessings & tribulations of working remotely full time–It’s been hectic ride but it’s been a blessing more than anything.

I’m obviously just highlighting all the good–because thats all I need to remember. Despite the great experiences, this year was dark & I don’t need to go on and commemorate all the times I felt the anxiety, tears, stress and anger. I spent too many lost years dwelling on what was missing and what I didn’t have.

“Too many people miss the silver linings because they are looking for gold”
Maurice Setter

I don’t want to be one of those people anymore.

Notes from my 20 year old self

The way I see it…there are no legitimate excuse for me or any of us to be unable to attain what we aspire for..

I sat on the hard wood floor, going through my parents’ vast collection of photo albums. I smiled widely at the pictures of my father in college posing cheesily next to his pride and joy of a trans am back in the late 70’s. I flip further back to earlier pictures of those he left behind in Vietnam, a village full of our relatives. As I open my mother’s albums I found the same confident woman smiling back at me in the front of a coffee shop near Neman Marcus in Dallas, the last pages were mere remnants of her posing in her long flowing ao dai in the front of my grandfather’s old house with her sisters.

They left their comfort, their loves, their homes, to find hope in a place which exuded salvation. My mother flew solo letting go of her dreams and career in search of work to support her family despite her foreign tongue. My father and uncle experienced pain and anguish escaping incarceration by the communist only to be stranded in the Pacific for 21 days without food or water and then to be left in a refugee camp for over a year.. Their journey was no simple trip over to the states.

What did they have to face when they reached the shores of America?

Only to find more hardships fighting discrimination, loneliness, and unfamiliarity. Defeated? Never.

Barriers. There are no barriers they couldn’t climb. I couldn’t be more proud of my father for graduating Oklahoma State, and my mother for finding multiple jobs to raise my siblings alone as well as send assisting finances to the other side of the globe.. Somehow..They found their nitch, assimilated to the once foreign culture, built bridges and burned some and somehow their paths intersected…and there was me. Together we have a comfortable lifestyle. Both have yet to surrender their hard work ethic.

Headstrong. This is where I come from..

Hard on myself? I should be.

When I find myself stressing about school–I picture my father walking alone on the cold snowy campus in Oklahoma in his late 20’s holding his hefty Vietnamese/English dictionary and tape recorder as he scurries to his lectures after working 10 hours as a janitor at a local church.

When I find worrying about my finances/jobs–I remember my mother’s hands delicately weaving through white cascades of fabric, sewing intricate patterns of embroidery for hours then using the same hands to hold those of my brother and sister as they cross the street to return home to their small studio apartment.

So…here is the explanation on why I am how I am today.

Why I have little sympathy for petty problems, why consciously I am so hard on myself, why my expectations have no cap, why I do not complain about my parents being so unreasonable with me.

I have my reasons, because whatever complaints, worries, or anxieties I may have are surely negligible to what they have faced..

Now tell me what I want is intangible? No excuses.

That’s why it sickens me when I see kids take advantage of their parents. That complain about the minuscule things. That shrug their mother’s and father’s hardships as pennies of the past and disregard their advice. There is no excuse for you youngins’ to leech off your parents. If anything leech off their wisdom and pay your respects.

I came across this today from my old blog. It looks like 20 year old me was wiser than I thought she was.

I needed this today–Simple reminder that I really do have it good and I shouldn’t let my minuscule problems or insecurities weigh so heavy on my shoulders.