If you really wanted to be philosophical about this whole experience, I guess you could point to the selling of dumplings as a lesson in life, because it does incorporate a lot of issues that I struggle with yet feel have value.
First and foremost is the concept of hard work and following through on something you've started (there are also enjoying the fruits of your labors, which we have yet to realize) On the hard work front, I think for most of my life, I've shied away from it and opted for the easier path. In other words, when the going got tough, I tended to quit and walk away. This, as you can imagine, allowed me to develop a great deal of bad karma on the employment front, not to mention relationships. Also, being a parent has forced me to abandon this MO, which of course is a good thing.
Taking on these dumplings has been a trying experience, and not a day goes by when I don't about it or ask myself why we're doing this and wished we could just end it, now! However, I also feel that there is value in feeling pride in something you're doing, but even more importantly is feeling that you didn't let fear (something that haunts me all the time) of new experiences or challenges prevent you from at least trying something. This condition gets worse as I get older.
There is nothing, in my opinion, worse than going through life wondering how things might have been or wishing you had tried something but didn't. In other words, saying "I wished I'd..." or "What if..." are not great ways to live my life. For some of us, it works, but I feel like I've missed out on a lot of things because I was either too scared/lazy/apathetic to have tried.
Not that I have pined all my life to make dumplings, but having at least given it a go has introduced us to an amazing number of experiences and people, not to mention added to our income flow. But just as important is the concept that after some hard work and enduring some pain and suffering, life not only goes on, but can become richer.
From a parental standpoint, these are great lessons for our kids to learn. If anything, we'd like for them to know that the world is full of challenges, but worth exploring in order to find your place within it. These rewards, however, are never handed to you, and require that you take some chances. If you live your life sequestered in the safety of your comfort zone, something I'm all too familiar with, then life just passes you by. For most of us, this is fine, but if you want to make changes in your life, then it is necessary to break free from convention and shake up your routines.
Furthermore, what greater challenge is there than being a good parent to your kids? This whole experience is redolent of parenting in that it has pushed me to the extremes of my physical and mental endurance, but by hanging in there and persevering, I've come out the other end (at least for now) with a greater appreciation for many things in life, especially in light of the fact that we didn't quit or give up.
Bear in mind, of course, that you can't quit at being a parent. Then again, plenty of people do, right?
Anyway, excuse me for getting a little thoughtful, trying times tend to do this to me. In fact, that is another valuable part of challenging yourself, it inspires you to think more about life and what is important to you. When you're caught up in your routines, how much thought do you really give to life? Maybe that's a good thing, because too much thinking often gets people into more trouble.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mario Sanchez for the pic.