At age 14, my family and I packed our bags and traveled across the globe from South Asia to North America.
Left behind were my childhood friends, memories, spiderman toys, bike, school …. just to name a few.
Thus, coming to Canada brought along its setbacks: losing my friends, new culture, new language, new school, new bullies, and family struggle to settle.
What depressed me further was that I did not have the choice to quit. I had to learn fluent english, face bullies, adjust to canadian culture, transition, and make new friends.
I would have quit if I had the option to. However, having to go struggle through setbacks taught me the following lessons.
The Struggle in Setbacks
Upon looking closer, I found the following things common in the setbacks;
- Ideal Expectation – In the plane I dreamt of how great Canada would be! Just like how a couple dreams about their journey ahead or a parents about their kids future. However, life is not as pleasant as we dream it up to be. Thus, this delusion was of great discouragement to me. Once we accept the ups and downs it becomes more pleasant than just thinking about ups and dreading downs.
- Not in Control – I kept blaming external things – people, teachers, Canada etc for my problems. But that did nothing to address my problems. They are “my problems” after all, and I should take responsibility for them.
- Trying Shortcuts – I recall learning new slang, cheating on tests, and sharing candy to make friends but it did nothing. Somethings just take time to materialize.
For future, setbacks I hope to have the following lessons in mind;
- Accept Reality – All of our dreams and ideals are of a struggle free life. For example, we don’t dream about our loved ones dying but they will. By accepting, we can live a more meaningful life than a life full of disappointments.
- Visualize End Result – If I could only visualize the end goal, I may have not struggled as much.
- Find People Like Yourself – There are 7B+ humans on planet earth and many of them share the same struggle as you. I used to find other new immigrants in my school or libraries to push through it together. It was FUN!
- Stick to Your Inner Child – Often in stress we change ourselves dramatically. Despite all the stress, I still found time to read spider man comics and manga (two of my childhood things). This helped me keep sane.
These lessons together slowly got be from D- to A-, no friends to friends, little english to english, no job to job …… and still some things that I am working towards.