July 2nd is an important date to me. Two years ago, I climbed the Great Wall of China. It was the Badaling stretch in Beijing. I only made it up to the third fortress before giving up and exiting.
A week after Badaling, I had a second chance to climb the Great Wall of China again. This time, it was the Hushan stretch in Dandong. This stretch is extra special because if you make it to the top, you will get an amazing aerial view into North Korea. I’m not too sure but a part of this wall even stretches into the hermit kingdom!
But again, I didn’t make it pass the third fortress.
July 2nd isn’t only significant because of the Great Wall, though. It’s also significant because the date marks exactly one month after my grandfather passed away. The date made a big impact because of how things are able to change in only one month. In this instance, I was going from mourning a loved one and then off on a holiday.
I’ve always said this whenever asked: I never enjoyed my trip to China. It was hot, dusty and extremely crowded. The food gave me severe food poisoning for two weeks; I was in and out of the clinic at least three times. I couldn’t adjust to the country, everything was just…different.
And I did not like this different.
I never thought that the one place I’d have the deepest culture shock would be a place my forefathers came from.
However, reflecting back on this trip, I find that it was actually a yuge blessing in disguise. Very bigly.
There was nothing wrong with China. It was my mindset and attitude. I had morphed into a bitter and resentful person looking for cheap thrills. When the thrill died, so did my enthusiasm. Which is why I didn’t have the motivation or enthusiasm to climb the Great Wall of China; the most historical, cultural and biggest man-made mystery. Okay, wait, I think I got the mystery part confused with the Pyramids of Giza.
It was never the heat, crowd or dust that got to me. Of course, these irritants aggravated my China experience but truth is, I was very lost. I was stuck in my comfort bubble that has been threatening to pop for a while.
And it popped hard in China.
I attribute it to being in an extremely uncomfortable environment and despite loving travelling, I was hating my entire time in China. And I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way. What happened? I looked happy!
When the bubble popped, I became extremely confused because life had just happened without me.
Prior, I was easily irritated and extremely unhappy. Complaining became my favourite hobby. I had no life goals; I stopped reading and that consequently stopped me learning. I was becoming jealous and complacent with life going by as long as I had my quarterly holidays.
I was in a dead-end job with a flat learning curve. When I started searching for a new job, I found that my job had added nothing valuable to my work experience. I knew nothing.
My social life was dead as well because I never bothered to keep in contact with people I care about. I was in toxic relationships with people who weren’t right.
Even my family ties were deteriorating.
That’s when I realised I needed to take action fast. I had to salvage what I could and get my priorities straight again. I used July 2nd as a benchmark; a milestone indicator.
Today, two years later, it’s still a work in progress but I’m in a more balanced place.
Life did not get easier. In fact, it’s harder than it was two year ago. However, I’m much, much more excited about what I do and appreciate things better. I like how far I’ve come and look forward to more now.
Both these projects are very close to me as it’s my first time venturing into creating my own business. I believe in embracing creative imagination in every endeavour and that’s what I want to reflect in these projects. I’m extremely excited about coming up with my own ideas from scratch and I’ll definitely talk about them more soon!
The thing about failure is that you will never notice its impact until you’ve moved past it. I have to keep reminding myself to not give up.
Now, the Great Wall of China has evolved to become a metaphorical form of my life’s journey. It’s going to be hot, tiring and hard. But the view’s great, so it’s worth it.
P.S. I’ve decided that one day I will go back to the Great Wall and make it to the fifth fortress, at least.