Who Am I?
Do the things we love make us who we are? Or are the things that make us feel happy, excited, or even crazy make us who we are? Through my youthful experiences, I am convinced that the things that we are passionate for, the things that we put a lifetime’s effort into achieving, and the things that shape how we think, feel, and act, are truly the things that make us who we are. If I were to analyze my own short-lived history, I believe that the three areas in my life that would fit perfectly into these three categories would be soccer, money, and being a middle child in my family.
Soccer has been a major part of my family for generations and has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have done it all, from staying up to watch soccer on a school night and watching videos on YouTube of rising soccer starlets, to playing in nerve-wrecking finals, going on international tournaments, and getting requested to play for the Hong Kong U16 national soccer team. Soccer has brought so much joy, excitement, and sadness into my life. I experienced joy when the team I support, Chelsea FC, was crowned as the “Kings of Europe” after winning the Champions League tournament back in 2012, excitement when my school team was handed the chance to enter an international tournament in Taiwan and Thailand, and sadness when injury inevitably robbed me of the opportunity to represent Hong Kong through their u16 soccer team. Although soccer has its up and downs, it has never failed to surprise, influence, and be there for me whenever my life has been deprived of encouragement or motivation.
Money is so stunningly attractive and alluring that even kids seem to fall in love with it. If I were to say that my goal in life was to get a job that I enjoy that doesn’t pay well, I would be lying. Growing up in a typical Chinese family, it seemed to me that all my relatives, even my parents, coincidently had similar ideas of how their kids’ futures should be. That “idea” is to be a doctor, lawyer, or at least a banker if all else fails. In sort of way, yes, being able to be a doctor, lawyer, or banker does radiate an impression of a successful person, but what are the real reasons at work behind these ambitions? To make money, use money, and then make even more money. My parents always remind me to revolve my life around God, but still seem to drill into me a mindset that the purpose of life is to get into a top university and get a well-paid job. I don’t blame them though, having been on the other side of the economic spectrum while growing up, both my parents have experienced what it is like to be dirt poor. Although using money as a compass for life isn’t always the “right” thing, my parents only want what is best for me, and thus money has been a big aspect in my life.
Being the middle child of a big family isn’t as normal as it sounds. It has the ability to affect how one thinks and behaves through the experiences he or she faces. Born into a family of five kids, I was once told, “You are lucky to be the middle kid because older siblings are burdened with responsibilities and younger siblings are spoiled by parents.” As I stood there and absorbed this statement, I did not and still don’t believe that that statement is entirely true. Personally, the life of a middle child isn’t that all great, and if anything, the only positive thing about being a middle child is that it makes one stronger and tougher when it comes to overcoming trials. I watched on as my parents would always talk to their friends, almost in a boastful manner, about my older siblings’ accomplishments and results. While on the other hand, my younger siblings have a protective barrier over them. If any of the older siblings gets into any arguments with the younger siblings, almost ninety-nine percent of the times, my parents would place the blame on the older kids. However, as bad as it seems, through these experiences, I believe that I have become more mature and understanding of how the world works. I realized the importance of the little things that people do for me, something my parents sometimes fail to do as they struggle to look after so many kids. Now when trials come my way, big or small, I am able to overcome them while remaining emotionally intact.
Soccer, money, and “middle child” are all slices of my life that have played a big part, each playing its individual role in affecting the way I think, feel, and interact with other people. With the right amount of happiness, sprinkled with craziness, and stirred with determination, I am shaped into who I am today. Although as cliché as it may sound, I honestly wouldn’t be who I am today without these aspects injected into my life.