Wednesday, May 25, 2011


News anchor Janet Wu, Atsuko Toko Fish, Chair Emeritus of the ATASK Board, and recent Founder of the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund Boston,Jody Adams, Chef/Owner of Rialto Cambridge, Joanne Chang, Pastry Chef/Owner of flour bakery + cafe at the EmPOWER Breakfast

So, maybe because it was just my birthday, I've been thinking about goals and futures and plans. I know I am extremely lucky to have the life that I have now and I am thankful for it every day.

But it seems to be human nature to always want more. Instead of condo, I would love to own a house. As well as a nice husband, I'd love to have kids. As well as my books being read, it'd be fun to have them turned into a movie or a TV Show. And my new books? More wishes, more dreams...always more.

And while I have misgivings with the apparent greediness of it, I also acknowledge those are the things that make life the beautiful struggle. After Robert died, there was so much of life that I wanted to live and filling it with all those wishes and dreams made the future bright. But the danger now is that it is like a balloon-- the more I fill it, the more it feels as if it is going to pop. Trying to have all those wishes and dreams come true sometimes just seems so...impossible.

Which reminds me of the EmPOWER Breakfast that I went to in April (which I meant to blog about earlier but got too busy!). It was this lovely event to benefit ATASK, emceed by news anchor Janet Wu and featured a panel discussion of super successful women. To be honest, the whole room was full of super successful, beautiful women--most of them were doctors and lawyers, who not only had smart, happy kids & husbands but also ran marathons and charities. I was quite in awe and actually felt rather small (and lazy!) next to them.

To me, most of them seemed to have it all--families, commitments to health and charity, achievements and accolades, and personal wealth--and I couldn't even be jealous because they were all lovely. In fact, when I bemoaned my personal lack of comparative achievement to the woman next to me, she said something to me that still rings in my ears. She said, "You CAN have it all, but usually not all at the same time."

And that made sense to me. Having many goals and dreams are important for a full and happy life. But sometimes you can only work on one dream at a time. I've had very talented friends who wanted to be published but things didn't work out, so they moved on. It wasn't "giving up," it was finding another dream that they liked better, cared about more at that time and focusing.

So, I'm trying to remember that. There's no expiration date on dreams and I can work on them one at a time. And it's okay to put some on hold for later.

Or at least until my next birthday!


betsy said...

Oh, Grace. I love what you've written here. And I completely agree with the wise woman sitting next to you! Those words are so true -- "You CAN have it all, but usually not all at the same time." I have so many dreams and I need to remind myself daily that the most important ones revolve around the people in my life. I will never look back on this time with my children and wish I had more studio time or another illustration job. I have these girls for such a short precious amount of time. Thanks for reminding me of that today! xx

Winifred said...

Grace, keep in mind the continuum in our lives. Those women you were admiring just happened to have those things at that particular moment. Yours will come, too. Ten years from now you will look back on your life and see how much more you have accomplished!

Grace Lin said...

Hi Betsy and Winifred! Thanks for your comments! It's true, life is both short and long and adjusting accordingly is really the key to it "all."

Sarah O'Holla said...

Thank you for this thoughtful post!

Ken said...

I just read your beautiful work Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. I was moved to tears multiple times, using up the remainder of a box of facial tissues. Many of the tales reverberated with me, not always because of my own personal experiences, and certainly always enhanced by your storytelling.

Your first paragraph in this blog entry echoes the "Thankfulness" of the page finally restored to the Old Man of the Moon's book, but your second turns around and echoes Wu Kang.

Life is seldom as straightforward as a book, but I feel you should take immense pride and pleasure in the joy you are able to bring to people with your work. I often think about great artists (and here I do not mean just storytellers and/or visual artists) who have moved people like me with their work, and I am so thankful for their contributions.

Happy late birthday!