When I was young, I gave up my dream of an overseas education for a boy. As a naïve twenty year old, I thought love required sacrifices, so I placed my relationship above everything else. I was made to believe that love was an either-or equation. If you love someone, you should be more than willing to give up opportunities wholeheartedly.
Even though the exchange opportunity mattered to me, I gave it up for the better of the relationship. Two years later, when the relationship broke down and we parted ways, I was filled with regret and frustration. Yet, little did I know, this same bitter past of mine would make me the better person I am today.
When I was heartbroken, I blamed everyone but myself. I indulged in late night parties and led the crazy life. What I did not realise was that while the past could make you bitter, it could also make you better.
Time taught me that parties are merely short term pain relief. I stopped making excuses. I stopped coming up with self-comforting justifications. A year later, instead of spending nights partying in clubs, I spent them preparing for the entrance exam to enroll myself in a Masters program – the only passport I had to make up for my lost exchange opportunity.
A few hours from now, I will be flying off to Chicago, USA to start my fall MBA exchange at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. This opportunity not just makes up for my regret but also presents a dream that’s bigger than I imagined it to be – the chance to have an overseas education in a top B-school.
Because of my unhappy past, I found the drive to work towards my dreams. But more importantly, because of my unhappy past, I learnt that dreams and love don’t always have to be mutually exclusive.
When you love someone, you want to keep them by your side. It’s true. But when you truly love someone, you stay by their side and walk with them on their journey to be the best version of themselves.
When you love someone, you see the months of separation as the ultimatum. But when you truly love someone, you go through that tough period of separation despite all that insecurity, because you want to be the person who’s helped realise his or her dream.
Because when you truly love someone, their dreams matter more than your selfish intents. Because when you truly love someone, you have faith and know that your relationship is strong enough to go through the test of time.
It took me a while to truly let go of the pain, but I am now thankful for the past, because it proved to me that dreams and love aren’t always mutually exclusive. It was through past failures, that I am now able to pursue my dreams while being blessed with a boy who pushes me to be the best version I can be.
Being angry is like letting someone stay rent-free in your mind, heart and soul. So let go and live your life. Let the past make you better, not bitter.
To the special boy – Wait for me, I’ll be back <3.
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