I thought” What am I doing here?”, It was New Years Eve 2019. The world was entering a new decade, and I was on a plane from Houston to Beijing, final destination -Taipei. For the past few months, I told people I had friends in Taipei, “there is nothing to worry about.” That was not completely true. Yes, I made some friends the last time I came to Taipei, but most of them were gone. Though there were some locals I stayed in touch with, I am not sure I can call them friends, more like good acquaintances.
As I was thinking about my decision to come to Taiwan by myself, with no definite ending, I kept thinking about what I was doing,” am I making a mistake, wasting my time, being foolish?” After all, while I believe I am good with self direction, coming to Taipei without a super-specific reason had me second guessing myself.
However before I came to Taipei, and since I have arrived, I have had to remind myself about the great things in my life that happened without planning. The first thing that comes to mind is my life in Taekwon-Do.
When I started Taekwon-Do I had no aspirations to compete at the world championships, to get my fourth degree black-belt, or to ever teach. Though at the age of twelve, some close teammates and I found ourselves competing at the national championships in Philadelphia. We were competing for spot on the national team going to Italy, and we qualified to represent the United States. After that, I had the opportunity to represent the U.S. at several more international tournaments, and got third place in Argentina back in 2008.
Another unexpected turn in my life was joining the high-school speech and debate team. I joined the speech and debate team out of curiosity, and because I am political minded( thanks a lot dad). After joining the team, I found myself the president of the team for two years, and learned to speak in front of large groups of people, something I would never have imagined doing. The skills I learned from public speaking have never disappeared, though I still turn into a cherry tomato at first sign of embarrassment. Though the most memorable and unexpected turn in my life was studying abroad in China.
Before my sophomore year at Texas A&M University (whoop!), I never imagined I would ever go to China. While studying economics, an opportunity arose for me to study abroad, and I seized it. I was supposed to return to the United States after three and half months, but became addicted to the experience and stayed for nearly a whole year. In China I began learning Mandarin, and could hold some low-level conversations by the time I left. I never thought I would be bilingual, ever! Few things in my life felt better than learning to speak and read Chinese, but this was totally unforeseen. There was no plan to study in China before I decided to go. I have since continued studying, and have made a successful online business based on my time there.
I have learned from a lifetime of martial arts competitions, public speaking, and living abroad to approach the unknown. The most rewarding and long-lasting experiences I have had came from walking into the unknown and embracing the circumstances. Heck, the longest relationship I ever had was basically an accident. I was just trying to get laid, then I found myself dating someone for three years. The lessons I learned from that relationship were invaluable. It seems the unforeseen has always been a great teacher.
Now I find myself back in the world of the unknown. I am not sure where this path will lead, but if history is my guide I must trust my intuition, embrace the fear, and continue forward, into the unknown.