Adele’s Songs Brings Tears

 A Wild Duck guest editorial

Just days after her writing her Wild Duck debut, Min Yin returns for this follow up. In addition to critical aclaim as a contemporary philosopher, Ms. Yin is software engineer and mother to 3 children.

Adele, the young British singer/songwriter, swept the 2012 Grammy Awards with 6 Grammys. Of all her songs, “Someone Like You” is my favorite [watch the video]. When I first heard the song on the radio, I was immediately drawn to it for the story she tells and the sadness in her voice. “I heard that you’re settled down, that you found a girl and you’re married now. I heard that your dreams came true…Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.” The song started out with a simple fact that the man she loves is now married. What came up next in the song shows how much struggle she went through internally to accept the fact. “I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited. But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it. I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded that for me, it isn’t over.” Tenderness rose up in my heart and my eyes welled up with tears.

A lot of us can relate to what the girl in the song went through in life. When we were young, we did not know better. We did not know what we want in life, and we did not have a good sense of our passion and talent. For us, life was indeed like a summer haze. Maybe we met someone whom we loved, but we did not cherish that person because we thought we’ll meet someone else better in the future. Fast-forward twenty years. Now, we realize what a mistake that was. Or the other way around. Maybe we did love the other person wholeheartedly, but the other person thought he could do better and did not cherish us. Whatever the scenario, it isn’t the case of “happily ever after”.

Now what do you do? You are middle-aged, may or may not have kids, and may or may not be married. There is no time machine to catapult you back to twenty years ago to start over. What can you do to comfort your aching heart? For me, the answer lies in looking within myself. For the longest time, I thought I needed someone to love me. In all of Disney’s fairy tales and romantic movies, when the girl is finally kissed by the prince, all her problems are solved and it’s “Happily ever after.” Doesn’t that mean that the girl only needs to find the right man, and then she is all set in life? I think the pop culture does a disservice to the young girls and women in the world by depicting such a simple and rosy picture. It’s telling the young girls that you just need to be adorable then someone will love you. But what if over the years the princess becomes to feel life in the castle is boring after all? Suppose she wants to venture out to the big world and use her talents and character strength? Can men look beyond the appearance of women and see their talents? Can men associate women with wisdom and leadership?

For a long time I have been reading Cinderella to my younger daughter. After maybe the twentieth time reading the story, I asked her, “Why didn’t the prince ask Cinderella what her name was while they danced? Don’t you think that is better than having every girl try on the shoe?” My daughter looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and slowly said, “The prince is stupid, isn’t he?” That ended the reading of Cinderella and we moved on to other stories.

What I want to say to all the young girls in the world is you need to find yourself first. You need to know who you truly are inside. Everything else is secondary. A lot of us are running around busily every day trying to avoid spending time with ourselves. Of course, we have our excuses: Work, kids, keeping the house clean, putting grocery in the fridge, all valid excuses. I lived my last fifteen years like that. I did not know that fifteen years could pass like a flash before my eyes. I had three children. I just remember the lack of sleep and running around trying to be at work, at daycare, at school functions and after school activities in time. I forgot I had a passion for words, for literature. Slowly but surely, I feel a void developed in my heart. When I see my kids playing contently by themselves, I ask myself “What do I do for fun?” With a tentative heart, I took baby steps and found my way back to books. I used to read a lot when I was a child. I cannot believe so many years have passed until I sat down with a good book. To my surprise, I am still intensely drawn to good books and I still have the ability to tell a good book from a bad one. It is like there was a small candle burning in my heart, and it was never extinguished completely. However tiny the flame is, it has been flickering throughout the years.

“Nothing compares, no worries or cares. Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made. Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?” Sometimes I think sadness is good, of course when I am able to look at it from a distance. Sadness comes from disappointment. We all have a mental picture of how the world should be, and without exception we all discovered to our dismay that the reality is quite different. Disappointment arises, is this all there is in life? Fear arises, I may not be able to achieve what I had dreamed in my youth. Did I waste my life away? Though troublesome, these feelings force you to look within yourself. They force you to ask the most important question: “What is the purpose of my life?” It may take a long time for you to find the answer, nevertheless only you can answer that question.

Like a bird, whose wings will get strong only from flying a great distance, you develop your strength and toughen your resolve only through fear and disappointments. We truly learn from mistakes. You have to face your own fear. Nobody can do it for you, and you cannot run away from it. The toughest thing in the world is to be content with yourself. Eventually, going through the pain, you realize that you do not need anyone to love you, you only need to love yourself. You learn to give up the things you thought you must have in order to be happy. And gradually, it dawns on you that you have found freedom.

I was surprised to hear that Adele is only 23 years old. I thought one needs to be 43 to have that much sadness and wisdom expressed in her song. But then, I learned that she had been heart-broken by bad relationships. She said the heartbreaks helped her to learn, to grow, to mature. Gradually, the pieces come together. One learns so much from a broken heart—much more than from reading all the books in the world. Her songs fit the saying, “learn from your mistakes”. To all the young girls out there: Brace yourselves for heartbreak. Despite the pain, it can be a good thing. No matter how dark your world may seem at the time, you will emerge much stronger than you could ever have imagined.

Author′s Note:

Feedback from Wild Ducks is important. I’ll be back from time to time. Drop me a note on the comment form, or better yet, use the feedback link to express your opinion about Jeremy Lin and other examples of inspiration and perspicuity. Until next time, follow your dreams!

— MY

Marry me, Jeremy!


Editors Note:

AWildDuck encourages freelance editorial and op-ed contributions.  Today marks the debut of the very talented Min Yin, an Asian American immigrant, software engineer and mother of 3 bright children — the basketball stars of tomorrow.

The title. “Marry me, Jeremy” was not chosen by Ms. Yin. It appears in a poster held by a Lin fan in the final seconds of the ABC News video linked in the 1st sentence.

If you don’t know the word “LINsanity”, you’re not keeping pace with a phenomenon taking the sports world by storm. Jeremy Lin, the point guard for the New York Knicks, has swept a competitive NBA with a story of underdog becomes super hero. From being an undrafted, overlooked and anonymous player, Lin has become an overnight sensation and focal point of basketball fans. He has led the Knicks to a seven-game winning streak. His gusto makes him an inspiration to millions. Watch any recent Knicks game and see an ocean of fans rooting for him with posters raised. Bask in the intensity of their admiration.

How did so much happen in such little time? First, people love to see a neglected person making it big. Everyone has been an underdog at some time in their past. Deep down in their hearts, sports fans feel a stirring. Perhaps like Jeremy, fans have a dream of making it big. But too often, they give in to financial circumstances and or ridicule—doing whatever it takes to survive. But through Lin, we sense see our own reality and the dreams that might still be.

Watching Lin’s moves, one marvels at how hard he plays. With a relatively slim body, he doesn’t fear collisions with the big guys. Even as he gets knocked hard, somehow he manages to score on the way down. You can almost see his will. It is the triumphant determination of a winner no matter what odds.

Commentators talk about Lin’s intelligence. There’s no doubt about this. Lin is a Harvard grad born to hardworking immigrants—the Silicon Valley elite. He studied economics at America’s flagship university. He certainly is smart. But there is something here than transcends smarts and goes even beyond sports…

I was never a basketball fan, but I have a good layperson understanding of the game. It always seemed to me that basketball was about height, physique and maybe a good eye. Which player is taller, bigger or tougher? If I were asked to handicap a game, my money would be on that one. But I have little interest in watching huge men show off. Sure, they effortlessly score a basket in the absence of a good defense, but I figured that their gift was genetic rather than skill, concentration, intuition and knowing when to take a risk. Talent lives between the ears. Basketball seemed to be a game based on height.

But with Lin, there is graceful strategy, elegant coordination, and an obvious trust between players on his team. You see unselfish passing of the ball. When everyone is huddling under the basket the ball goes out to Lin at the perfect position. Invariably, he scores. The team plays like an intricately designed and well-oiled machine! Every business organization wants to build. They would do well to study the Knicks. It’s not a metaphor, but rather a study in team building. When you see these big guys hug and jump for joy, you realize people of different color and race can get along well, and you have a warm fuzzy feeling that people can be innately good.

It pays to follow your dreams

In a world of waste, indifference and greed, Jeremy Lin is a refreshing role model! His unflagging attitude demonstrates that – in the long run – persistence pays off; Dreams pay off; Not letting put-downs and ridicules of pessimists pays off. Lin demonstrates a world an individual does the thing he loves and lives the life of his dreams. He exudes pure joy when he plays; joy that comes from knowing he is finally at his rightful place and doing what he was born to do!

Many Wild Ducks had passions and dreams in their youth. But how have fulfilled that passion in the day-to-day grind of life? Through Lin, we see the striving of our youth—like a seed under the weight of soil and the inertia of the earth, trying to break through and become a thriving plant.

During the span of a few days, I have become a major basketball fan. Just last Friday, I watched my first YouTube clip of Lin in competition. It’s exhilarating and inspiring. He disproves a stereotype that Asian men cannot compete in professional basketball. More than that, he proves that if you put in the effort dreams come true. Maybe one day, I too, can proclaim to the world that I am living out my dream. What about you?

Author′s Note:

Feedback from Wild Ducks is important. I’ll be back from time to time. Drop me a note on the comment form, or better yet, use the feedback link to express your opinion about Jeremy Lin and other examples of inspiration and perspicuity. Until next time, follow your dreams!

— MY

From the Editor

Check out Ms. Yin’s 2nd guest editorial, a tribute to Adele and her ability to bring a listener to tears with music.