If I died…

An acquaintance of mine posted this status on Facebook yesterday,

If I died, I’d wanna have done something worth remembering.

My immediate response was,

Fortunately I’ve done a lot.

When I was younger, I was very fearful of death. It’s not that I don’t now, but I remember I used to worry about accidents. For example, one time I got very nervous before going on a roller coaster. I went on anyway, but I was thinking, “Damn, what if I died on this roller coaster? I’ve studied and worked so hard. I wanna be able to go after my dreams!”

I’ve also written about my near-death experience post my heart surgery in the past. My biggest fear was not really having to install a pacemaker in my heart or having to go through multiple surgeries. My biggest fear was that a poor health condition would prevent me from getting me dream job.

Death would strip me from my chances of becoming the person I wanna be.

Since I have/had two weird phobias, namely the extreme fear of birds and the not-so-extreme but still freaky fear of stickers (that’s right, STICKERS), I’ve read quite extensively on the topic of phobia. I’m convinced that all fears boil down to one thing–the fear of death. Death is the ultimate fear of any human being because it leads to the end of EVERYTHING.

A few months ago right after I received my first PhD acceptance, I was extremely paranoid about something bad arising, to the point that I actually had a nightmare about dying in an accident and never having the chance to get my PhD. I woke up and felt legitimately worried even though I knew it was just a stupid dream. I was that afraid.

Given my earlier sentiments, yesterday I was very surprised that I’d think so positively towards my friend’s status. I started asking myself,

 If I died tomorrow, would I leave this world with any true regrets? Would I hate myself for not doing something that I should have done?

If I had asked myself that same question some time ago, I’m pretty sure I’d have come up with some romantic regrets, but I feel differently now: For what I’ve done wrong, I’ve tried my best to remedy. I’ve fought for what I believe/believed to be love. Regardless of the outcome, I’ve fought well. I’ve loved and I’ve been loved. I’ve experienced that intense, head-over-heel sparks celebrated by books and movies. I’ve had great loves, and I’ve lost great loves. I’ve been lovestuck and lovesick. I’ve lost my appetite because I was so heartbroken and also because I was so smitten. I’ve been swept off my feet as well as getting my heart torn in pieces. On Gossip Girl, Blair once told Chuck this, and that pretty much sums up how I feel.

Don’t act like I didn’t fight for you.

I haven’t had the smoothest ride, but I’ve had an eventful one, so no, I don’t think I have some unresolved romantic regrets.

Career-wise, I’m not at the exact place I dream of being, but I’m working very hard every day to get to that place. I’ve hit many bumps on the way to achieving my goal, and I’ve made many detours, but I’m making progress, though very slowly. I wake up every day feeling very empowered and grateful.

In terms of personal development, even since I’ve turned 17, I’ve aspired to be a smart AND beautiful woman. The type of women what people, female and male, would think, “Wow, I can’t believe she can be this smart cuz she should be happy with just that look!” 🙂 I’ve wanted to prove myself good enough for things that weren’t supposed to be within the reach of people with humble backgrounds like me. Like my high school teacher, many people expected me to grow up to be just like my grassroots parents. I think I’ve proven my worth to them some time ago. I know I’m not the most beautiful, skinniest, wittiest or smartest woman on Earth, but I like myself enough to be proud of who I am now. Anything from this stage onwards, I’m doing that for me. Not having to worry about what others think of me makes me feel 10 pounds lighter.

I was afraid of death because I need time to become the person I had dreamed of becoming. I guess I’m not longer super-worried about dying (not that I wanna die, just to be clear) because I’ve already become the woman I wanna be.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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