“Don’t Settle”

I had finished my meeting with my friend and was hanging around to do some work. Sometimes I enjoy working outside in a coffee shop. It’s a change of scenery and that can make me more productive. On weekdays during the day, you will have an older crowd; what I refer to as the retired crowd. In the evenings and weekends, it’s a takeover by students. This was a weekday evening. Thus, it was jammed with students.

Credit: chowtimes.com I prefer Waves for their seating although Blenz has better drinks and there are 24h locations

Credit: chowtimes.com
I prefer Waves for their seating although Blenz has better drinks and there are 24h locations. This is the one by my house.

The table next to me was an Asian guy and girl; university students from what I could gather. Later that evening, another friend came over to chat with the girl. I could hear the two of them chatting away excitedly. I couldn’t help but overhear them talk about exchange abroad. Both had just been this past year. One went to Singapore and the girl went to another country (which I can’t remember).

The girl talked about how happy and stress free she felt during the experience. It was a type of happiness that was new to her. She talked about doing things that were different and expanding her horizons while abroad. When she returned she felt she had changed; she was a different person coming back. She learned that simple and different things could make her happy.

Coming back, she was supposed to go to law school but she didn’t seem sure it was what she wanted. But after a few months being back, she started to settle back into the routine of home and those feelings slowly passed. The energy and enthusiasm slowly melted away and she decided that she would follow through on going to law school. But I could hear her agony. I could hear that she wasn’t sure if she was happy. But there was a sense of security. There was a set path. And then she notioned to her friend that “you know my parents are Asian, they would kill me if I didn’t go through with it”.

Of course there was another influence. There always is.

The coffee shop was closing. We all had to leave. I wanted to stay out longer to do more work so I decided to head to Blenz (another coffee shop nearby that stays open all night). I wanted to say something to her even though it was none of my business.

On the way out, I stopped her and told her I overheard her conversation about exchange. She asked for my name and if I had been abroad.  I told her that I had been on exchange as well and I knew how it felt. I was facing her now and it was hard not to notice she was pretty as well. Totally the type of girl who could have it all. I told her what my friend told me. “Don’t settle. Go after what you want.” It reenforced what she was thinking but all she could reply was “Arghhh… I don’t know…” Then I think she turned to her friends and said something like “He’s telling me the same thing.”

It’s easier for outsiders to offer such advice when they don’t have to worry about following it. But after going through my own revelation, it was easier for me to offer my own thoughts.

Their group was supposed to migrate to the same Blenz I was heading to, but I didn’t see them again. I wonder if she will put any weight behind the words of a stranger; one that she met for a total of 30 seconds.

Maybe. Just maybe.

– C

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