Life Begins At 50
Thanks to my husband who reminds me constantly, I am officially 50 years old.
I still remember the moment when my mom told my father: “you are almost 40!” and the moment when I told my father: “Life begins at 50!” I never truly understood their feelings, their past youth and their unfulfilled dreams. What I comforted my father indeed reflects the way I saw them at that time: they were old in my eyes.
Now, at my age of 50, what about MY life?
The first 30 years I could safely say I lived for other people: my parents first, my husband and my son later on. That is to say, I initially gave up my opportunities for an abroad education, then settled in a well paid but unchallenging job for my own family’s sake.
I was told to do this and that, and I really didn’t know what I wanted for myself. By the way, who does when you are young and from a traditional Chinese family?
However, I was such a restless person, and got bored quickly with my job and my predictable future of 30 years.
I think I made the best decision at that time in my entire life: emigrate to Canada.
The photo above was taken a year before my leaving for Canada, I looked lost, not very happy, but seems my mind was determined to make a change.
We gave up everything, including my husband’s promising business. We moved into a small one-bedroom apartment in Toronto, Canada, and I started to learn to cook and take care of my 4-year-old son. Of course, no nanny anymore.
The following 10 years was the most struggling period in my life, challenges domestically, challenges to fit in a new culture and speak a new language, Challenges to find myself, and challenges from everywhere.
Many times I was advised to send my son back to China, but I was stubborn. I wouldn't like to let another nanny look after him, "he is MY son, we go through together," I told myself.
I still remember that every Tuesday I had a late class, as soon as the class was over after 6pm, I would drive to the KFC on the way home, to buy a meal for my son, who got picked up after school by a Chinese grandma I paid hourly. I remember one cold Tuesday evening in the darkness, when walking with my son on the snow-covered sidewalk, I welled up for my own misery.
My father came to visit on his business trip, and cried out: you live like those migrant peasants!
To my great comfort, my son always thinks he had a fun childhood. In retrospect all those years were our happiest time together! Pain has no memory indeed.
For past 18 years, I’ve learned:
I do become a new person, happier and healthier.
50 years old 03/2019
Life does begin at 50! Take pride and enjoy!