30’s & with Great Love

It was just the other day when I turned 30, but here I am, 31. Many things have changed since I transitioned from my 20’s to 30’s. I can say that I am very grateful for where I am today, but at the same time, I didn’t think I’d be where I am today either. In my 20’s, I had a different plan for how my life would turn out. In my mind, I thought I would still be international education and become an advisor at this point- giving back to the community. I thought I’d be living in New York City and I’d meet someone from the east coast and build my roots there. I had many dreams and I dreamt big- the sky was my limit.

After nights of consistent prayer and trust, my high school crush suddenly came into my life again. It couldn’t have possibly been the prayer that have been answered right? Speeding forward, I moved to Texas when I was 27 to give the relationship a shot, and have been here since then. It took so much time for me to adapt, adjust and now finally need to accept that it will be a place that I will need to establish my roots.

Among the four years in Texas, two years of my life was in a pandemic and it was challenging in so many ways. I fell out of love with my career, and was burned out to the core. My relationship dynamic also shifted in a direction where I no longer saw myself in the picture. Everything I dreamt of, everything I worked hard for seemed meaningless at that point. At that moment, I recalled feeling so hollow and lost. Outside of my relationship and career, I didn’t seem to have much to claim. It was bizarre, but I felt as if my whole life’s purpose and identity were only revolved around those two aspects of life. When I seemed to have nothing left to hold onto, I asked myself, what remains? Do I pack up and move back to New York City? Where do I go? How do I pick myself back up again after this? Will I be able to love again? What will the future look like? What is the purpose to life? So many rhetorical questions that were only answered with constant tears through endless nights.

Within a blink of an eye, those two years only became a memory that I could still vividly recall from time to time. Since then, I have to thank God, supportive friends, and my courageous self for being HERE and ALIVE today. After quite some time, I finally sought counseling and my counselor told me, “you need to rebrand yourself.” So that’s what I did. After some bit of time, I was able to find out what my true calling is and living out my true mission in life. My new profession allows me to utilize my undergrad psychology, and international development & service, master’s degree. As for my relationship, it has improved steadily to where I feel comfortable and ready for the next stage of life.

Looking back at my 20’s, I realized there were so many joyful, but at the same time, many growing pains as well. As much as I missed my old carefree self where I lived in the city that I adored with so many dreams, I realized that it’s time to let go of the memories. They were precious memories to recall , not regret. In a month or so, I will be married and it will be an entire new stage of life. I do feel a bit nervous but at the same time looking forward to spending a lifetime with my partner and best friend. It has been quite a journey for us, and honestly, the challenges have bound us even closer together. Honestly, the me now have grown so much more than I could have ever imagined to be possible. I am proud of myself for being so resilient, and so courageous to leave behind a city that I once loved so much for someone/a relationship that I wanted to work out. All the opportunities that I have today wouldn’t have necessarily been mine if said I had never taken that risk 4 years ago.

I guess I’ll never know the version of me that would have been in New York City, but as of now, my new rebrand is in the here and now. I don’t know how long I’ll be rooted here, but until then, I’ll live my best and make the most out of life by continuously giving, serving, and most of all- doing everything with great LOVE.

With Love,

Ai/Aida

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