Blog #9: July 14, 2020
I just turned 60—a big milestone. Some have asked what are my thoughts and feelings to be 60 years old. The actual birthday was just like another day. Perhaps because it was in the middle of the pandemic time with coronavirus. The original plan was to celebrate this big milestone birthday with friends and family, perhaps in a nice restaurant, but instead I found myself with my lovely husband in a quiet home. The best thing was I had an opportunity to look back in my life. I noticed that I do not have things to brood over the past, which is a blessing. I had a few regrets but too few to mention—as Sinatra’s song goes.
I can point out a few things I was able to achieve but all the blessings and glory should go to God who gave me so many talents and opportunities despite the fact I had a disability. To achieve all those titles, recognitions and to gain the definition of self-worth, I lived under a cloud; frustrated, discouraged, angry and many sleepless nights.
My life’s theme was asking myself “Can I do this?” For one, to study medicine without a fluent knowledge in English language in this country was very difficult. On top of that, no medical school was ready to accept a person with disability in mobility issue. Often, I was asked an interview question such as, “How are you going to run to ER when a patient comes with a heart attack?” So many challenges were ahead of me to climb over the mountains of intrinsic bias: minority, disability, inability to speak or write English as a native person, family with no background in medicine, lower SAT and MCAT scores due to lack of comprehension in English, and a female gender in medicine. Oh, did I mention, lack of finance also? If I mentioned any of these challenges I had faced, rather than recognizing the courage I had to overcome, people said that I had a chip in my shoulder. Most of my youth, I challenged myself to become someone I only dreamed of, following my own pursuit of self-worth and happiness.
This world and even the American dreams teach people to pursue happiness, wealth, power, position which leads to recognition, fame and honor. But what follows immediately after any human becomes popular or famous is the road to destruction, temptation, haughtiness and pride. Those who love money and power will never have enough. The poor and have-nots get oppressed and exploited under the powerful and there is no justice throughout the land. Rich and powerful are slow to recognize the fact that the ultimate equalizer called death is at the end. We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us in death. I had my own shares of experiences in having a short end of the stick, living in America where the Anglo-Saxon, rich and powerful have their own stereotypical notion of what this country should look like and where I would fit.
In youth, a harsh treatment of oneself trying to achieve self-worth by recognitions from others is like chasing the wind. To let go of this foolishness is the first thing we all should relieve chains of bondage from. Success in youth is recognition of this reality. I was able to gain this wisdom in my late 50s. It is also good to be not lazy, work hard and gain wisdom. The beginning of the wisdom is to know God, who has given us a spiritual thirst only God can fill; that void in our hearts. I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a good life. The glory of the young is their strength, the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. I look at the sunset and noticed that the time during sundown is the most beautiful part of the day. Its magnificent colors and orange-red sun quickly dissipating displays the rapidness of the time in life. This is my favorite time of the whole day.
In my 60s, I noticed that I came to a point of the most beautiful time of my life, just like the sunset. The only thing I can boast is that I lived my life thus far with my creator God. Only the Lord can give an understanding of life. You can throw the dice but it is the Lord who lands it. You can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. I am ready to die any day now. I am looking forward to hear Jesus saying, “My good servant, you did well in life, and welcome home.” I just hope that I don’t live through a long night with this discomforting leg before I go to the heaven.