Making Dreams Realities
What do you want to be when you grow up? How will you make your dream a reality? I want to share with you my dream. It is linked to a story though, a very special one. Turn on your reading lights and let’s slide down the dream land.
Wow, I can’t believe this is it! It’s my last journal. First of all, I want to thank all of you guys, my readers, for following my journeys in both Vietnam and Costa Rica. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Journals, Field Notes, and Logbooks as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. This last journal is very special to me. It is about a person very close to my heart, whom has instilled in me the values and confidence that shape who I am today.
My mom inspires me. She has most shaped my spiritual world and perceptions of life. When we came to the United States, Mom needed more money to support my younger brother and me. She works five days a week from morning to night with only an hour break in between. My mother, a typical, middle-aged woman, who speaks poor English, struggles day-to-day to make our lives better. She strengthens the foundation for my future so that I can go to college and develop a successful career. Mom is selfless, and I am grateful for her.
When I entered my last year of high school, I wanted a laptop computer for school. Therefore, I asked Mom for it. Facing life in the United States of America with limited income, a computer was not affordable for our family. Then Mom took on extra shifts at her job, working up to seven days a week to elevate our finance for a computer. At first I was indifferent. But as she came home more often with pain, I became worried about her. One morning, she overstretched her waist muscle trying to tie her shoes. She let out a deep sigh as I massaged her back. Ten minutes later, she cautiously stood up, lightly rubbed her waist, and said, “I’m going to work.” There I became paralyzed. Her words struck me. A sudden flow of warmth overwhelmed me.
Until this moment, I had never realized how demanding I had become. I demanded too much from Mom. I came to perceive Mom’s generous support as natural and neglected to consider her feelings. I took her love and concern for me for granted. I felt lucky that Mom supported me, yet the sense of luck occupied me so often that I became numb to it and started viewing Mom’s support as something I deserved. I was shaken to find that I became more self-centered. What had happened to the little boy who always dreamed of helping other people?
I felt lost. Something in me let loose. I pondered over my aspiration and found myself deviating from the right path. As a child, I’ve always been nurturing a dream of helping others. The desire to reach my dream motivated me to work hard. Yet, to my surprise, I became self-absorbed. Since sophomore year of high school, I laid aside tutoring—something I enjoyed—to focus more on academics. I promised myself that I would resume helping others once I was spare. I thought that with such a promise I could relieve some stress and have more time for studying. I was mistaken. I felt empty after giving up my passion. I tried to escape from the void by concentrating even more on academics, but the harder I strove, the more weakened I felt. I was trapped by the unresolved dilemma. It intensified and, at the moment I realized Mom’s selflessness, exploded.
I finally understood what I had done wrong. I pursued a part of me at the cost of others. I had falsely believed that helping other people comes after personal success. Unlike Mom, who gives selflessly, I need to reserve more time for helping others—resume my true passion. And more importantly, I realize that selflessness is part of my identity. As a choice of self-awareness, selflessness is built upon individuality; in turn, it shapes and enriches my identity. Therefore, my identity will not be complete without either one of them.
I was relieved. Mom’s love softened my heart; tears streamed down my cheeks. I apologized to Mom for being so demanding. At that moment, my love for Mom grew immensely. Mom, who gives with love, guided me to the right path to reach my dream. She awakened me to my true passion. My lifelong goal is to found an international non-profit organization that provides financial and emotional support for kids in poverty. Being in Costa Rica, I have learned a great deal and developed new ideas on what I can do to reach my dream. I still have a lot to work towards but I know that I am getting closer and closer. I am thankful for every opportunity that has come along the way. That goes for writing the RTW blog and sharing my experiences with you all! I thank you for being a part of my journey. I am happy to have brought Costa Rica to you. Now it’s time for you to go out there, explore, discover, and make your dreams reality. Pura Vida!