Three years ago, when I was asked the question, “Why do you want to go to Japan?”
I would answer: “For personal growth and development; for a once-in-a-life experience to prove my family and most importantly, myself wrong that I am not just a overprotected spoilt brat.”
I guess I achieved it. I proved myself wrong – in more ways than another. Well, I’ve learned many things in the process.
I learned to say yes to anything and everything – you’re in a new environment, I would tell myself, take the time to appreciate the culture and learn the history of this place. Absorb everything like a sponge. Before you start judging with the frames you grew up with, stop to listen to their stories and understand from their perspective first.
I learned that it is okay to slow down in a world that is always pressing you to move big strides forward without letting you catch a breath. It is possible to grow and get better as long as you take those tiny steps forward – if I could use a word I’ve learned earlier in the day in a sentence later, that’s a big win for me.
I learned that maybe absorbing everything like a sponge may not be a good idea after all – that while I can respect the other’s views and opinions, I don’t always have to agree with everything. I can always say no to things that do not match with my core values and principles. I will always have a choice. I learned to reconstruct myself to try to absorb the good and filter out the bad.
I was right in coming here – these three years have taught me several things about growing up and slowing down.
Now if you ask me again, “Why do you want to come to Japan?”
I can say that I came here to start a new life here, one where I can independently and solely take charge of my life and make my own decisions, one where I can be responsible for my own development and growth at a pace I am comfortable with. I came here to take control of my life and be free from any kind of unwarranted expectations other than my own.
And when I start understanding my own limitations and the potential for growth I have within me, it can feel as terrifying as it is liberating.