2017, for me, has blown most of the other years of my life out of the water. It’s the year all of my dreams came true.
I haven’t had many great, earth-shattering dreams. Travel the world, yes — that’s a dream of a lifetime for me that I plan to chip away at, one country at a time. Marry the love of my life — still a little early, but I’ve met him all right. Do good for the world — food for thought as to what I can do besides my monthly donations to animal shelters and children’s funds. And — the blazing fire of a dream I’ve held closest to my heart since I wrote my first little story: to become a published author.
Last night, I held a huge New Year’s Eve party with many of my greatest friends. At about a quarter to midnight, we sat in a circle and each listed the greatest accomplishments of 2017, as well as our goals for 2018.
I was beaming, brimming with happiness, as I lifted my bubbling champagne into the air and declared my book news. It felt, to me, that I received the loudest cheers — my supportive, wonderful friends who all got to know of my publishing dream, and that it was coming true. And, in those moments, crossing into 2018, it felt like I was living the dream.
I decided to start the first day of the new year by sorting through my emails (with a huge cup of much-needed coffee). Scrolling through my emails in the “Writing” section of my folder, I got lost in the dates. It was like going through a time capsule of sorts — glimpses of memories across time, across many rotations of suns and moons past captured in these neat, word-filled boxes; snapshots of my life across the years, of then-Amélies and her struggles.
2014 Amélie, fresh out of college, bright-eyed and hopeful, just starting her first job and the book that would become The Book.
2015 Amélie, one year into work and Blood Heir, still fighting on, and learning more and more that finance isn’t where her true calling lies.
2016 Amélie, crushed by 14-hour days, torn by her career choices, writing dream dim as faraway stars, but still, so resolutely, so hopefully, so stubbornly, clinging to that dream.
And 2017 Amélie, the star-catcher, the dreamer, the girl who finally saw the light. Who caught the star. Who became her dream. Who “made it” the first step of the way.
It was then that a picture came to me — one that has stuck with me throughout, accompanied by a quote of wisdom from my amazing parents:
“One minute of brilliance onstage is ten years of hard work offstage.”
Growing up, my mother and father used to tell me this all the time. I remember going to the ballet with them and looking longingly at the dancers and asking, “How come they are so lucky and talented? It’s so unfair.” My parents would look at me, and tell me exactly that. 台上一分钟，台下十年功。
We always see moments of success — the last 0.01% of our idols’ paths, the moment they step into the spotlight and show us their success. We only see the destination. What we often forget is the rest of the 99.9% of the journey. The 99.9% I spent hidden offstage, behind-the-scenes, head bent and working hard and dreaming that the distant cheers and congratulations might become mine someday. The 99.9% of hard work, of tears, of broken hearts, and self-doubt. The 99.9% during which I fought all of those negative feelings and thoughts, and during which I never gave up.
I have never felt it so deeply until the moment I held up my champagne glass, sparkling and fizzing with happiness, and declared the accomplishment I’ve been waiting a lifetime to say.
The 2018 Amélie could not have wished for a better way to start her new year: heart full with new writing friends she’s made over the course of my journey, starry-eyed over landing her dream agent, and still dizzy from having realized her dream in the best way possible. It’s the end of the first act for her: she bursts into 2018 to flashing lights, a majestic stage, and cheers of the audience.
She is the dream that her 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 selves have worked towards. The “one minute onstage” that has culminated from “ten years of work offstage.”
So I’m starting off the new year with a very personal post, dedicated to the 2014-2017 me: the one behind-the-scenes, in the shadows of the stage curtains, head bowed as she works hard beneath the distant cheers of another star, hoping that one day, she will be there, too.
Thank you for not giving up.