Thursday, November 11, 2010

Follow Your Heart, That's What I Always Do

Guess what? Today is my 30th birthday! WHOA! Where did the time go? I've been thinking recently about life, and my life in particular, what with this momentous milestone. This post is something that I wanted to share with you on my birthday, since I consider birthdays a great occasion to be celebrating life, yourself and all the reasons that make you...well, you!

My children's-themed 27th birthday party

We, as women, often get told that we're too "emotional". We think "too much with our hearts and not enough with our heads". My response? So what?

Everything, and I do mean, EVERYTHING I have ever done in my life was a result of me following my heart and I have absolutely NO regrets in my life! If my heart is the reason behind all this, then I am grateful that I was brave, courageous, and strong enough to listen to what my heart was telling me.

The first time I truly followed my heart was immediately after I turned 21. I was in a three-year relationship with a GREAT guy. My family adored him, his family adored me, and we loved each other. But something just didn't sit right in my heart. Even to this day, I still can't explain it. All I know is that my heart was telling me there was more to my life to live. It was practically screaming in my ears and eventually, I broke up with him. It's pretty safe to say that if I hadn't listened to what my heart was telling me, I would probably be some years married and with at least two children by now. That's not a bad thing, it's just not the life I wanted back then.

Another time listening to my heart paid off was when I went to New York City for the first time. I met another GREAT guy who was studying at NYU. My head told me not to pursue the relationship since I was living in San Diego and he was in New York City, but my heart convinced me otherwise. Emails turned into long late-night calls, which led to a six-month long-distance relationship (and lots of accumulated mileage) before we decided to travel Europe together for six months. Ultimately I moved to New York to be with him. The relationship didn't work out in the end but by following my heart, I got to live in New York (my heart of hearts), experience all the wonders that that incredible city had to offer, make friends with some of the MOST amazing people in the world, and most importantly, I really came into my own in New York. It was truly the first time I felt like the real me.

Loving my life in New York City

Fast forward three years and my heart was once again feeling restless. I was still living in NYC and working for an international consulting company. My social life was filled to the brim, I had incredible friends and I was living a life close to a dream. Yet I felt I had bigger dreams to catch. I wanted to travel more.

I struggled between my heart and my head for a long time. I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to do more with my life, that I had been so lucky and I needed to start giving back to the world. My head, on the other hand, sounded like my mother. I was soon to be 28 and needed to settle down, not give up a great job just when the economy was started to crack. In the end, with the love and support of my dear friends, I conquered my fears and decided to follow my heart.

I saved up my money to fund my travels, sold off and/or gave away my possessions, quit my job, gave up my lovely apartment in Manhattan, and packed my bags.

Oh, I miss my Hell's Kitchen apartment

That was in February 2009. Since then, I have lived in Istanbul for six months teaching English, sailed the Mediterranean, belly-danced in the streets of Cairo, scuba dived in the Red Sea, slept under the stars in the mountains of Petra, visited distant relatives in Burma, learned meditation in India, trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal's Himalayan range, volunteered for three months in Thailand with Burmese migrant workers, watched the sunrise over Angor Wat, rode along the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, and that's just the beginning!

Getting down with the locals in Cairo

If all that I've done with my life is a result of me being too emotional and not thinking logically with my head, then I fully embrace my heart and if I could, I'd bow down to it and offer the most gratuitous thanks I could possibly muster! Logic can only get us so far but it's our hearts that will make us leap and soar to allow us to make our "impossible" dreams a reality. My heart has made me the person I am today and I have absolutely NO shame in that! So maybe I do think too much with my heart. Good for me!

© Connie Hum 2010


  1. Hi Connie,

    I found your article via Twitter (@lilyleung). Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful, inspiring and honest stories, and congratulations for having the courage to follow your heart. By showing how following your heart has led to a fuller life, you also help inspire others to do the same.

    Once you start tapping into your heart to make decisions, you never make any you'll regret - that's what I've learned. In the past year, since I've followed my heart, I've: travelled, got a new (and better job), moved in with my (then) partner, quit my job, travelled, started learning a new field, and now I'm about to take an extended trip solo (something I've been too scared to do before). That's all in just 1 year. I can't wait to see what the next year holds.

    It's incredible how many great things flow into our life when we just follow our hearts and let things happen.

    Big happy birthday, and I wish you joy, happiness, health and success in your new year :)

    - Lily

  2. Yes Connie, good for you!! And happy 30th birthday. You've done so much in a short time - I think we need to get out there a bit more.:))

  3. Hi Connie. Beautiful post. You truly are remarkable. Wishing you many more adventures. Julie

  4. Happy birthday! It sounds like you've had such a great time of it! Keep it up, and I hope to do the same, whatever that means for me and my life.

  5. I just sang to you Happy Birthday!!! :)

    Girl, I'm so freaking proud of you. I always tell people, listen to your heart and not your mind and you will NEVER be lead astray. I'm so glad you listened to your heart. What a gorgeous life you've had thus far. I can't wait to see where your 30's will take you.

    Much love and big hugs on your very special day!!!

  6. Happy Birthday

    I love that you follow your heart
    I recently wrote a poem
    About The path of the poet
    That I end as follows

    Do your best
    on the path you choose,
    even as you recognize
    the folly of thinking
    that we are in control of our lives.
    More important I think
    is to find a path with heart.

    It makes me happy to hear
    That you have followed your heart

    May you follow your heart
    All your life


  7. Thank you for all your well wishes! It is very important to listen to your heart and I hope that this post can help people to start heeding that little voice inside themselves a little bit more!

  8. happy (late) birthday !!
    I so admire you for following your heart, you have a great life!

  9. Happy belated b-day! Seeing the childrens themed birthday party brings back many memories (was it really that long ago????!!??). I hope your birthday was fabulous (how can it not be, your traveling!) Mine is creeping on me....

  10. Ack, I missed your birthday! Happy belated birthday to you! And yes, good for you for thinking with your heart. Perhaps more of us should do that.

  11. I know it's late, but Happy Birthday! This was such a beautiful post and something I completely agree with. Although I haven't made any significant life-changing decisions yet, I always try to follow my heart over my head. That way, there are no second-thoughts because you're not left wonder "what-if." Thank you for sharing your inspiring stories!

  12. Connie, that's such an inspiring post! I can really relate with what you are saying here. I often make illogical or what seems to be irrational decisions (at the time) following my heart but it's often lead me down an exciting path. It takes a certain person to buck the trend and go off and explore. I'm sure your 30's will be the best years of your life :)

  13. Great writing, Connie. Such a heartfelt post. I wish I could do a once-in-a-lifetime trip like you did. When I turned 31 (and that was in HK), I did a similar reflection of my life and wrote about it. Thought I'll share it with you.

    Keep living.


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