A Personal Story about Courage

When it comes to relationships, I am that kind of person who easily worries too much, for things like: if the other person might be too busy, if s/he thinks I'm not cool enough to hang out with, or what if I don't have any fun ideas on what to do... and the list just goes on.

If you are like me, who often stuck at these loops of self-doubting and overthinking, I would like to share with you a personal story about how I met my first American boyfriend (who later became my husband) and show you how relationship changed when I stopped overthinking.

My husband and I first started dating back in our college years (yup, it was that long long time ago.) However, the place where we first met was not on campus but at this Chinese restaurant where we both worked as part-time. I remember that we tried to get to know each other as much as we could while working on the shift. It was like you met someone at a social event and found out you two have so much in common, but there were other people who you needed to greet and mingle as well. And when you had interesting people to talk to, time went by so fast. For some reason, maybe both of us were very shy back then, we didn't ask for each other's phone number by the end of the shift.

Here, I have to mention a little background about me ten years ago: I had just moved to Austin from China for a few weeks and I didn't know a lot of people in town, except a few classmates at school. With no budget for a smart phone, I ended up with this super old T-mobile phone that didn't have free message service or a voicemail set up. What even worse was that I didn't have a Facebook account either. You are probably like "wait, what? seriously?" Yea... I was that "fresh off the boat". There was no way for me to do a quick search of this guy I just met (not as easy as searching on social media nowadays). I thought I would have to wait until next time when we both worked at the same shift.

However, before I got the chance to see him for a second time, I checked my phone one day after class and saw a missed call from a local number. Who would call me since I barely knew anyone besides my classmates? Believe it or not, strangely, I had this hunch that it might be from him. I couldn't explain why I had that hunch especially knowing that he didn't ask for my number the other day. Part of me was very hesitated about returning the phone call, for one because of my shyness, and for two because of my "overthinking-ness".

Right before that anxious side of me started to take control, I couldn't help but wondering what if it was from him, and what if he wanted to know more about me and found out my number somehow. All the possibilities that mixed with excitement as well as uncertainties suddenly filled my body with this courage and boldness. I decided to put all my worries aside and pressed the "call back" button on my phone. "Ding!" a simple tap on the screen just like that, followed by me waiting restlessly for someone to pick up. Oh gosh, who could imagine those seconds of waiting felt like FOREVER? Luckily someone answered the phone after three ringings, and it turned out that my hunch was actually right! It was the guy who I met at the part-time job, and he was trying to call me and invite me to his Halloween party that weekend. I still remember how happy I was on the phone saying, "That sounds fun. I would love to" with my awkward Chinese accent. As for how he found out about my contact information, apparently he asked the manager of that Chinese restaurant we both worked at and she gave my number to him. Why didn't I think of that?! Ugh...

Anyhow, I was just so glad that he found my number in the end, and I was able to put all my uncertainties aside and ring him back. Otherwise I would have missed the opportunity of getting to know this smart man who later became my husband. That Halloween of 2010 was very crucial in terms of establishing our relationship for the long run. It helped me to know him better at a much informal setting and got me introduced to his close friends at an early stage. If it wasn't that brief moment of courage to call back, I did not know how long it would take, and how many chat-over-workshifts we had to go through to build this strong relationship at the beginning.

My biggest takeaway from this personal story is: how much I appreciate those little risk-taking moments that help me connect with people in different ways. They make life so much more unpredictable and adventurous. Although it's not always easy to fight with the anxious side of oneself, I do believe that new connection only happens when one puts into efforts and not worries too much about the outcomes. Thinking about all the relationships you have made so far, either personal or professional ones, do you remember that one time when you took a step forward and it ended up helping establish/strengthen the connections? I would love to hear your stories of those courageous and life changing moments.

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