The Winter Olympics kicked off earlier this month. This was a nostalgic moment for me, because the last time the Olympics were held in Beijing, in the summer of 2008, I was there. I spent two years living and working in China, and the experience taught me these lessons that I have carried with me since:
It is easy to paint with broad strokes
Before living there, I had a perception of China that was mostly based on their government. But countries or companies of any size are really just a collection of people. This means there are good people and bad people. Seek out and cherish the good people.
Embrace the wild ride
Life is hard and can be a struggle. It can also be wildly beautiful, full of enriching moments. I can remember times when I was walking down a busy street, my senses overwhelmed with sights and sounds, thinking, “I can’t believe this is my life.”
It’s a long ride, too
My time in China feels like a dream that I remember but fades a little more everyday. But it did happen, and I am glad I took advantage of the opportunity. We have different seasons in life. I made the most of being young and dumb, and now I am embracing this season of my life: raising my family and growing a company. I am sure, years from now, I will look back on this moment (hopefully sitting on my yacht) and remember this moment as a dream.
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People think of you less than you think
Making an unconventional decision is hard. The judgment of others can feel heavy. But here’s the truth: Most people are worried about surviving their own day. They’re not really thinking of you. I came home from living two years in China and my friend asked me if I learned to speak Japanese. Wrong country, my friend. So go and live your life.
Home is where the heart is
China was a wild adventure that fueled my soul, but in the end, my heart was in New Hampshire. If you’re sharing your life with the people you love, then you really own the world.