At the dawn of something new.
I hate answering the question, “who are you?” What are you supposed to say? Where do you begin? How do you squeeze down your entire identity into a sound bite?
I've started answering with a mere “I’m Tiff.” I don't want to just give you the cliff notes – where I’m from, what I did, maybe a fun fact. I don't want people to think that they could understand me in just a few sentences.
And maybe I also never really connected with my name – particularly with my full name, Tiffany. I guess Tiff sufficed – it was quicker because three syllables can take a long time to say. It was easier to distinguish with another Tiffany with whom I grew up.
So I looked up what my name meant. Tiffany was a medieval name traditionally given to people born on the Epiphany. And somehow it clicked.
I did always have epiphanies.
I’d never be the first one out of the gate in a brainstorm but I'd be the one who suddenly struck gold in the midst of the discussion. I’d be going around my daily routine when boom – I suddenly had a breakthrough. In fact, this whole article was brought on by an epiphany just as I was typing out random thoughts about all these funny coincidences.
For some reason, the affinity my name had with epiphanies – no less because it also conveniently rhymed with my actual name – really struck a cord with me. It became a part of my identity – even though it had somehow always been one.
The actualisation of my own identity and my journey to this point has all come through breakthrough after breakthrough.
For me, breakthroughs were dreams brought in reality. Dreams always seemed lofty, intangible and unrealistic. They were tarnished by constant doubt and overthinking.
I couldn’t really quit my job and travel.
People don’t actually manage to travel and work at the same time.
I’m not cut out to start a business or work for myself.
But it was the breakthrough that has brought me to actually realise all those things. It was overcoming all those barriers of self-confidence that has brought me into my tenth month of freelancing while travelling. And I revel in the fact that it was difficult.
I know I’m not the person who has the dream and just goes for it. I wish it could be that easy. And I know, to a certain extent, when I now introduce myself as a roaming freelancer, it sounds like it could have been that easy.
But the nature of embracing the breakthrough is that there were walls to break down before I got here. It’s realising that it took me a long time before I let myself realise that these were my dreams. And I’m proud that this hard work has gotten me to this point; that no matter how hard it has been, I have gotten through to the other side; that I’m now a product of my breakthroughs.
So as much as that moment of breakthrough can feel like a release; as much as that final moment when the wall comes tumbling down can feel so satisfying, don’t forget the work that it took to get there. Because the strength you built from breaking down those hurdles is how you’re going to get through the next one.
By: Tiff Ng
Tiff is still trying to find herself somewhere in this world. After quitting her job in social media marketing, Tiff is now travelling around Europe, working, blogging and tearing up dance floors no matter where she is. With a heart full of wanderlust and a stomach full of smoothie bowls, she's always ready for the next great adventure.