Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chasing dreams

For a long time, being able to communicate in Chinese language was a dream of mine, and when this photo was taken, it was a very far-fetched one. Now, however, I actually do speak Chinese and I use it every single day at work. It's time to start chasing new dreams.

I’ve been dreading to write this post, that’s why I have neglected my blog for the last few weeks.

When I turned 29 on August 15, I hit a milestone, namely 5 years in China. On September 11 (which I know is a very sad day for most people) I’ll hit another one: 10 years of living abroad. That’s more than one third of my life, and pretty much my whole adult life (so far).

I’ve been thinking a lot about everything I’ve been doing for the last 10 years abroad/5 years in China, and I look back at most of it with joy. I don’t have any real regrets, just some “I wonder what would have happened if I would have done this instead of that….” But I believe that’s pretty normal.

Next year I turn 30, and it feels as if I’ll enter a new era of my life (might sound cheesy, but that’s how I feel about it). I will leave my 20-ies with some sadness. It has been 10 pretty amazing years of living abroad and getting to know myself through my adventures and experiences in different countries, not to mention my interactions with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I’ve met some pretty amazing individuals over the years, some of which I still consider my closest friends. All in all, life in the 20ies has been pretty d*** good.

However, in order to make the most of this “final year,” I thought I’d make an effort to do something a little bit special. Something for me, like fulfilling a far-fetched dream of mine. So, some days before I turned 29 I started making a list of things I wanted to do before turning 30.

Seeing that I’m a bit of a list abuser (I make lists of food I want to eat, and at work I am know as being a “list person” too as my “to do” lists have been passed around more than once) I made an endless list, including all kinds of silly things I wanted to do before turning 30, like “trying 50 new restaurants in Shanghai!” and “wake up with a smile of my face at least 70% of the time.”

In order not to come across as a mad lady (unless I already have) I decided to narrow it down to three big things. Three dreams that I wish to fulfil before August 15, 2012. And those are:

* Run a full marathon (and at least one more half)


* Visit all 4 countries that I’ve referred to as “home” during the last 10 years


* Write a book

So, there you go. My list. My dreams. My goals. Shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish, right?


Pretty much all of my friends laughed when I mentioned the marathon, but nodded when I said I wanted to write a book (it’s not the first time I mention it to them, as it has been my dream for as long as I can remember, I actually “announced it” to my folks at the age of 10 when we were having dinner. Then they told me I should become a journalist first, as one simply can't just “become” a published writer).

Me, on the other hand, think the book is the scary part. Running is just running, and although I’ve had a sore hip for 2 months now and haven’t been able to run the miles I should run every week (but I do other training instead, and I’m training pretty hard, 4-5 times/week so I believe I’m keeping fit still), that doesn’t worry me too much. If it’s something I have it’s physical willpower –and I’m good at pushing myself when it comes to challenges. I might not finish within 4 hours, but (unless this hip continues to torture me all year long) I will finish the race, even though it might be painful.

The book, on the other hand… is another story. Since it’s been a dream of mine for so long there’s a bit of sentimental attachment to it. It’s super scary, and there’s constantly this fear of failure going on in my head. But as a wise friend told me:

-You cannot fail something unless you’ve tried.


So I better keep trying.

And this is when blogging comes into the picture. How do I make time for that? I already have a full-time job, I always come home late at night (since I do my workouts pretty much every day after work), and my best time for writing (when my brain is feeling fresh and creative) is during the very early mornings (which is the time slot that has been devoted to my blog for the last 4 or so years).

So, now you see how this equation isn’t adding up.


And now you know why I haven’t been updating my blog for the last few weeks.

I still don’t want to say “OK, so this is it, I’m closing down, bye bye, thanks for reading all these years! (and all of you who left me nasty, anonymous comments or abusive email, now you might as well disappear from this platform forever!)” because who knows: maybe I won’t fulfil my dream. Maybe I will be back. Maybe I’ll miss blogging too much. Maybe I’ll simply give up and go back to what has been my daily routine for the last few years.

So, this is not a goodbye.

But a see you later.

And I promise, regardless if I succeed or fail, to come back and update this blog on how I did with my three big “to dos” before August 15, 2012. And who knows. Maybe also along the way.

Until then.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have wondered where you have been, in fact, I was getting a little worried. Go and fulfill your dreams(s). I will miss you, but I understand...all the best to you!

flyingfish said...

Good luck on all your various quests. Your many readers all over the world are rooting for your success. Take care!

Kate said...

I understand how you feel. It wasn't until AFTER I turned 40 that I realized there were things I wanted to do in my life that would never happen if I didn't hurry up and get to it. Running a marathon is also on my list. I just started running last year after being fairly sedentary. I plan on running it in June of 2012. My newest giant goal is to complete an Ironman triathlon. Hopefully in summer of 2013.

There is no time like today to start working towards your dreams! I look forward to buying your book, someday, Jonna! Good luck and know that you'll be missed.

mantse said...

so sorry but feel happy to hear this.

sorry is you may stop to update your blog but happy to you know what you going to do.

i am looking forward to see your books and pls sign on the front page!!!

see you then~~

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Keep your dreams alive. Looking forward to your book when it's done!

Mackan said...

Av egoistiska skäl tycker jag att det är synd att du inte bloggar mer, du är en av de som jag har följt i flera år, minst 3 år! Jag har dock inte lämnat några större avtryck bland kommentarerna. Dock har jag lärt känna Kina känns det som via dig.

Hoppas att dina nya äventyr och utmaningar blir lyckade! :)

Jonna Wibelius said...

I'm touched by all your nice comments. The book I am trying to write is actually a SHE in China in book format... so it will be very inspierd by this blog (well, a blog in book format or something). I have no idea how it will turn out -but so many people have suggested it now that I kind of have to give it a go. So let's keep our fingers crossed that it'll work..

Mackan -måste ju spara lite smarrigt Kinamaterial till boken. Tack för din snälla kommentar! :)

Kate -u rock!! Good luck with the ironman!

Jeanette Kongsgaard said...

Held og lykke med din bog, du har jo absolut evnerne til at skrive, saa jeg vil med stor glæde købe og læse din bog når den udkommer! Det lyder som et spændende projekt og det er flot at du beslutter dig for det, og gør det! Jeg tjekker bloggen igen om et år :)

Colten said...

Sad to see you go but look forward to hearing about your future! Look forward to reading your book. I'll tell all my friends in Kansas to read it!

Colt

Jennifer said...

I will miss your posts (I remember the last time you took a blogging break; awful!), but it makes complete sense. All the best with your dreams and I hope to see a celebratory post on them by 2012!

Shanghai MiFeng said...

Yes , please do not wake up until your short list of DREAMS is forefilled .
I have started to write a Book about my Adventures in China , finding my Shanghai Flower ( LaoPo )and my first marriage of 30 yrs. that ended with Cancer knocking at my late Wife's door .
I have now , pretty much put this "Book" on the Shelf and I do regred as time goes by and my Memory leaves me .. to continue .

As your Blog oges , I've have enjoyed it very much over the years and don't want to see you not succeed the new dreams you have put in front of you . Nobody buit you can STOP them from coming true . Ohhh .. and keep posting of course , remember we are all here to share your Excitement and ammh .. well you know .

Jenny said...

I really enjoyed to read about China!! So I am sad that you stop blogging though I understand why. Hence, I wish you good luck for your dreams. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Funny how every laowai living in China thinks they can write a book of their China experience. Like anyone cares lol.

Jonna Wibelius said...

anonymous -funny that it's always anonymous people that leave the most pessimistic and nasty comments. I wonder how they would feel if they openly wrote about their dreams and wishes and then received some sarcastic and negative replies... then again, maybe those anonymous people are a bit sad and don't really have any dreams they wish to fulfill? I guess that could make you kind of sad and feeling as if you needed to bash someone else online. So I guess it's fair enough.

Maybe no one will care. But maybe someone will.

Also, I have never met a single laowai who dreams of writing a book about their China experience. I have, however, seen many good books on the market -written by both laowais and local Chinese -about modern life in China. There seems to be a genuine interest for this topic in the world right now, otherwise those books wouldn't even make it to the market.

ordinary malaysian said...

We will miss your blogging and we will miss you. But we await your book and maybe you should continue to blog now and then. All our best wishes to you and take good care of your health and yourself. Books on China and people's personal experience, especially of laowais's, of the country do fascinate many people as China continues on its way to remake a name for itself in the world. And why not, since China has an ancient history and civilisation. A westerner once wrote and I quote: "Four thousand years ago, when we couldn't even read, the Chinese knew all the absolutely useful things we boast about today" That speaks a lot for a country.

Brit said...

I am so excited about a SHE in China book! Seems like a great idea! Your blog had inspired me to visit China earlier this year. I've fallen in love with this country and ended up moving to Shanghai this summer. So thank you! You've made a difference in my life.

Good luck with everything, Jonna. I'll be looking forward to meeting you at your book signing. :)

Jonna Wibelius said...

ordinary malaysian -thanks for your kind words. Yeah, first I thought I'd keep the blog up to date by updating every now and then, but then I thought.. nah, why not go all in instead. So let's see. U never know though!

Brit -oh my, that's amazing to hear! I am so happy that u have moved here! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do (China's such an amazing place, and especially Shanghai! I loooove living here!) but since u moved here I believe u do! Your comment really made me happy. Thanks for telling me! :) And I hope you are right about that book signing.. .that would be a dream coming true for me!

E said...

my fellow readers have pretty much covered everything I wanted to say. I guess I will keep it simple. JONNA WE ALL LOVE YOU! WE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR YOU.

chinese said...

Hope you can communicate with chinese people in chinese language, good luck! ;)

bkbj said...

Good luck Jonna!

Martin said...

Jonna, it has always been a pleasure to read your blog. Best of luck fulfilling your 3 challenges, and even more success in your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck! I've been reading your blog on and off and have always enjoyed your China stories, and the pics of Scandinavia in the summer. Have fun, enjoy and wish you all the best with your dream list.
Cheers,
Lan (one of your South Pacific readers!)

Musti said...

It's been great reading your blogs! it gave me inspiration to write my own blog on my current experience, which is my study abroad year in Canada, as it is the first time i'm living abroad away from home in England, UK. And so far i must say it is brilliant! Good luck with your dream list and thanks for letting us read about your great experiences!

Kosmo @ The Soap Boxers said...

I'll definitely buy the book. Hope it's available on Kindle (it's actually fairly straightforward to do this).

Wouldn't it be nice if we can get extra time from somewhere? I'm currently trying to get traction on two novellas, do paid freelance work for another site, run my blog, do a few other projects that earn money ... in the small amount of "free time" I have left after my full time job and family life with a wife and two young kids.

And if I ever get caught up on those, I have a full length novel and a couple of non-fiction ideas to work on.

Best of luck in all your adventures. Try not to worry too much about turning 30. It's just a number.

Jim said...

Thanks for writing, Jonna, I have enjoyed reading your blog. I have visited China many times so understand the oddities that you have encountered, but it is interesting to read what it is like from a different perspective than my own (I'm a guy from Perth)and I think you write well. Good luck with the book, I'll still check your blog every few months to see if there are any surprise postings!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jonna,

I've been an avid reader for your blog for a long time. It really has been such a pleasure reading your everything SHE in China.
Good luck with your new adventures & I will be delighted to keep reading your blog or wait for your book!!

Little Tiger

yan said...

Jonna - Wow! I just read this post. That'd explain why my Blogger feed seemed a bit empty recently. We had a baby at the end of August, so I've been way behind on catching up on my feeds.

Congratulations on embarking on your ambitious goals for this coming year. I look forward to reading more next year.

Enigma4ever said...

wow..I have come here often for so long...so grateful for all of your blogging all this time...so I am wishing you the best...and please do write a book...can't wait to read it...I always thought this blog should be a book.....

tonyget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tonyget said...

Hello Jonna

I have enjoyed read your blog so much, I think your (SHE in China )is like a modern version (The Travels of Marco Polo)

iamchicity said...

wow, i'm so jealous of everything you've accomplished. i can't say i hate my job, because i really do love it. but i cant travel and live abroad like you do b/c im married to my job. best wishes and good luck on your next venture!

iamchicity said...

oh! and please post back here when you've released your book. i would love to read it!

Jake said...

I can't wait you read your book. Hope to see you back soon.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on achieving your goals! You are an excellent writer! I've been following your blog on and off and I've found it to be very inspiring. I am chinese-american but I can't speak chinese and you've inspired me to learn chinese. I think it's amazing that you've spent your time in another country and learned the language and the culture. You prove that you can do anything if you put your mind to it! Even though I don't know you, I am very proud of your accomplishments, and I have enjoyed reading you blog.

Redha Herdianto said...

great story... i envy you coz i want go abroad too. But maybe it was just a dream

Phoenixkidd said...

I see you wrote this 6 months ago, but I have been following your blog for a while now, and all I can say is, "What a Pioneer you are!"

Bill B said...

10 months now ... anxious to hear how you fared on all fronts! And I agree that writing a book can be a daunting task (although once you get "in the zone" it can take off with a life all it's own, & a good editor helps immeasurably), but publishing it need not be. You can easily self-publish in e-format and then likely be picked up by a paper-and-ink publisher afterwards. I think it will be a good read! I wish you the best of luck ツ

Stories by Nigel Kip Roi said...

Thank You for your blog I have been an off and on again reader for a long while. It has been a special blog. I think you will be back when the time is right for you - until then.
Roland Allen

Anonymous said...

Hey what happened to the update?

Jonna Wibelius said...

Sorry for being a few days late. But here it is!