Today I made a decision.
Six years ago, I had one dream. I wanted to become a diplomat, a herald of peace. I hold a degree in Film so I had to work my hardest and gave my all to reach it — sleepless nights of memorizing the ASEAN Charter by heart, mornings of burying my face in history books, afternoons of digesting international news, midnights of learning French. Slowly, I got this close to that dream. One by one, painstakingly but victoriously, I made it through each stage of the four-phase examinations only to fail at the very end. It all came crashing down one day. I was 21.
The years after that were filled with the best days of my life. Needing a detour, I entered the world of Digital Marketing, something I used to despise but eventually fell in love with. Still, there’s a hole in my heart that it cannot fill. I started looking for something in what I do — more meaning, more motivation, more satisfying answers whenever I asked myself why I do what I do.
I remember that eventful 27-hour bus ride from Luang Prabang to Hanoi. The entire time I was seated beside Josephine, a French lady I became friends with on the road. We talked about our future plans and abandoned dreams. By the end of that trip, I was convinced that this dream had remained shining brightly in the deepest abyss of my core, covered in bitterness and drowned in a sea of fear of failing again. I failed not because of my age or my educational background. I failed because I was not ready for it, regardless of whether or not I was brave enough to admit it at the time. I accept it now.
I dreamt of becoming a diplomat. And truth be told, I still do.
I just can’t shake off that dream. It has lingered at the back of my throat like a bitter aftertaste of something much bigger than I could chew. And chew I will continue. It’s been six years and I’m taking time to grow sharper teeth, better taste, greater understanding of the world.
I’ll retake the Foreign Service Exams. Maybe next year. Maybe the year after that. I might take it too many times but I will not back down, not without a good fight.