As a child and young adult, I’ve had an uneasy relationship with my parents due to their strict rules and overbearing requests even well after I started living on my own. The few friends I confided this secret with reminded me of two facts:
- It’s my life and I need to live on my own terms.
- I need to be unconditionally grateful for my parents.
While I continue to agree with these 2 points to this day, I eventually discovered many other fellow Asian Americans coming out with their struggles to live life as fully independent adults vs. living the life their parents dictated with them. In 2009 when I finished grad school during the worst recession in recent history, I took the plunge. Unlike most fellow Millennials who could not find a job after graduation, I vehemently refused to move back home. I had squirreled away about $10,000 in savings at the time from part time jobs and siphoning away from the living expenses my parents provided throughout college and grad school.
I moved to the back room of someone’s house and rented it for $500/mo. I ruthlessly cut my expenses down and managed to get by on $1000/mo after deferring my student loans (since my parents only paid for part of grad school.) And I spent day and night applying for jobs like a machine and going to interview after interview where hundreds of candidates competed for the same job. Every night that I didn’t land a job was one step closer to the day when I’d run out of money and have to move back home again which I was determined to avoid at all costs. It was excruciatingly difficult to look at my bank statements and calculate how much time I had left, especially near the end. Eventually, I landed a job in early 2010 with less than $2000 left in my bank account, just enough to relocate and pay the deposit for another room rental.
In 2011, Amy Chua published her viral article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior“. I was outraged at first that she even dared to encourage such outdated and cruel parenting advice in the 21st century. However, thinking back, it dawned on me that Amy Chua, as portrayed in the article, was nowhere as harsh and controlling as my own parents. And that article produced a huge wave of backlash from countless other Asian Americans who came out about their domineering parents. I feel weird saying this and I’m not being sarcastic but Thank You, Amy Chua!
In 2012, I stumbled on a book called the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. (Yeah, I know I was late to the party since that book was already published in 2007.) I had never read anything like it in my entire life and it opened my eyes to a completely new way of living life on your own terms. Tim created a successful online business and conquered psychological fears and practical barriers which resulted in a dream life as a digital nomad, perpetually travelling around the world. In order to live his dream life, he faced his worst fears and set laser focus on his goals instead of listening to what family or society expected of him. To this day, I still reread this book several times a year and continue to pick up new insights that managed to escape me in earlier readings.
It finally clicked for me although it was too late to relive years of my life that I was following my parents’ dreams. It may sound a bit far fetched but the most important lessons I learned about how to escape controlling Asian parents came from that book which was intended to teach how to escape rat race of the 9 to 5. Hence, this is how my site is born: a document for how I’d relive my life if I were ever given a 2nd chance.
Please note, none of the books offered on this site is sold by me directly but I do receive a commission for each order. If you prefer borrowing the same book from your local library, WorldCat does a wonderful job locating the nearest library that has the book (and I’ll often include a link to the WorldCat entry as well.)
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