In 5 months and 20 days I will be 40 years old. I have two sons, but three children. My middle child, born just months before my younger son, is my business, Flow Interactive. We’ve grown together, disappointed one another, done mean things to one another, reconciled, and ultimately, fed each other so that we can be better, together. My middle child, has had an identity crisis, taking a backseat always to the needs of my boys, yet somehow still important to me than my own health at times.
What does this have to do with anime and K-dramas? Well, I’ve discovered in the past few years that I absolutely love both. In fact, they have often given me refuge from designs that don’t look right, code that won’t work, and content that simply refuses to be written (also relationships that never should have happened). This year in particular, I’ve come to terms with some things about myself and my life that I didn’t realize I knew and instinctively accepted. Some of these are pure fun, others are very, very serious. If it helps, think of how I sound alternatively yelling, cheering, chastising, and crying at my tv in Korean and Japanese with a Jamaican accent. The sheer volume of both in my daily qualifies as immersion learning. At this rate I’ll be fluent by 45, maybe. 🙂
1. Self-made chaebols may marry whoever the hell they want. I’m working on this one. My romantic social life has ranged from pretty bumpy to completely nonexistent. Where once this might have been a problem that I needed to solve myself, I now feel that everything takes place in its own time. I can happily focus on the care and nurturing of my three kids and the person who can snare and hold my attention in the midst of all of my life’s chaos will appear when it’s time. Conveniently, tech startup CEOs are not limited to recent grads half my age.
2. Your hair should match your personality, and will usually change drastically once you awaken to your latent powers. I had my obedient and conformist natural dark brown stage, which wavered between permed and not permed style. It took 3 different starts for me to submit to locking my hair and letting it do what it wanted to do. Then I went blonde when I found my independence, split from my husband, and moved back home. Today, I sport a big red afro most of the time. My hair says, yep, see me. Just try ignoring a 6ft Jamaican woman.
3. Chaebol moms and Jamaican moms are frighteningly similar. I’ll add Jewish moms in here too. By default, you are not good enough for the son/daughter in question based on your career or lack thereof. Daughter-in-laws suffer more here. All the vile, evil things that you are put through to earn the respect of the woman who gave birth to your mate are to be endured because this is a family you are trying to earn. Approval may be accelerated by the appearance of adorable grandchildren. I will work hard not to be like this to the women the boys bring home in a few years.
4. A passionate hug can communicate more than a passionate kiss, especially is there’s an arm-grab involved. Oh, to be short enough to work out well. Someone grabbing me from behind is likely to get a knee to the chest. Then again, anything is possible. Anyone close enough to think they can grab me at all already knows I’m a Muay Thai student.
5. Surprisingly, there are still islands for sale. I’m totally amazed by this being true. I’d love to say that I would build an eco-sanctuary for Mother Earth. However, the extravagant thing I want most in this world is a place where I can hide out and write code and content by the water and fly out anytime on my private jet. It should have the mother of all technical infrastructures and wifi coverage, and a waterfall. Once in a while I’d have private tech conferences. Eat, drink, write, maybe sleep.
6. Slaying monsters is a function of accepting that you are one. You’re half-demon or something. You’re a screwup and a slacker. Possibly you wreck a lot of things accidentally, or have a rage problem. People hate you. You accept their small-mindedness as fact. Somehow you still do good things and the right people notice. You can look at yourself and see all flaws, or you can choose to see the whole picture. I could only go so far until I realized that there are some things that other people dislike about me that I have no desire to change. Elementary and high school bullying gave me a paralyzing fear of raising my hand with the right answer. If you ever knew how much will it takes to be raise my hand and call attention to myself in an audience of any size to speak up about something. My heart races, the room spins, and I have to force the words out. I fear being singled out from among my peers. Somehow, it’s much easier for me to be on the stage myself. After all, I know what I need to say and the people in front of me have come specifically to hear me say it. I’ve gotten much better at acknowledging myself. I have effed up a lot of ish, and it’s taken me all the way up to middle age to learn from many of those mistakes and see my mental scars as fuel for my success. Truly, I have learned that it is okay to give absolutely zero fucks sometimes.
7. The thing you fear most of all is probably the one thing standing in the way of moving forward. This is the other part of #6 above. Sometimes you have to conquer some other fear to clear the path to overcoming the main fear. For me, the route to being able to speak up for myself and my business runs through getting over my fear of heights. So ziplining, here I come. After all, what kind of superhero is afraid to fly? Seriously.
8. My passport needs stamps from the other side of the world. Thankfully, international hospitality and travel business clients are the future of Flow Interactive. Win-win. Once my younger son is safely settled in college, I’m giving myself permission to become a digital nomad year-round. For now, the two months of the year that the boys spend with their Dads is my time.
9. I could totally make an argument for a 90-in or larger tv. I am sure about this. Reasonably sure.
10. I am blessed, and I am happy with who I am. I have a great life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will acquire more bruises moving into the second half (Third? My family is blessedly long-lived in general) of my life. I can wake up, work or play as I see fit – 9.8 times out of 10 it is work, and that’s ok – and be available to my boys and my business when they need me. I used to say I don’t care about being rich, I just want to be able to live comfortably with my family. I still admire the sentiment, but I do care about being rich. I live comfortably with my family now. To look after other families’ comforts is strongly on my mind these days. It’s time to really put my mind on building my children’s empire and building a legacy of service while I do it. First step, ziplining. Stand by for pics coming soon.