I spoke with a friend the other day, and she said something quite poignant: “I’ve been so concerned about the missing puzzle piece in my life, that I forgot to pay attention to whether it fit or not.”
Whether it’s career, relationships, a house, a car, a school, or even a vacation, how often do we settle for less than we really want? Moreover, how often do we even contemplate what our heart most desires? The first day of the white tiger year is a powerful time to begin anew in all aspects of life.
During the spring semester of my freshman year of college, I had a sudden insight into how quickly my four years would be over. I took out my journal and wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I finished college. That first act of sitting down and actively dreaming changed my life.
I read an article a couple years later about a woman who wrote down all the ideal qualities she wanted in a relationship, and less than a year later, the exact man she had ‘asked’ for, showed up in her life. Since college, I’ve written countless lists about my dreams—everything from finding the right bike to the ideal relationship and job. They’ve all come to fruition, but there’s an essential trick.
Patience. I will be the first to admit that patience is one of my life lessons, and I have abundant opportunities to practice it often. A year ago I needed an apartment in China. I knew I wanted a nice one. I knew I wanted a Chinese landlord, so I could have that experience. I knew the area of town I wanted to be in more or less and the price I was willing to pay. A very stressful month went by without any luck in my apartment search. I was deeply discouraged and had no idea how it would all work out. I considered settling for an overpriced apartment I wasn’t excited about, but I kept telling myself, “be patient.” One night when I was at the end of my rope, I was speaking with a friend of mine at Maya, our local Hangzhou hangout, and it just so happened that she had just visited a place a day or two before that she loved, but it wasn’t exactly right for her. I stored the landlord’s number in my phone that night as “dream home” and called the next day. I lived in that apartment for 8 months before I moved back to the States and absolutely loved it (another friend hooked me up with his hammock from Thailand, so every night I got to look at the moon and stars from my terrace).
If I had rushed into renting a place, I would have been settling and would always have that feeling that I didn’t quite get what I really wanted. When we take the time to deliberately create the life we want, we honor ourselves and validate who we are. We demonstrate that anything is possible.
It’s a new year and a fresh start. I invite everyone to give pause today and dream big! Make this year of the Tiger your year to live.
Happy Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day !