Spoiled – (archived)

I only get to come home once every couple of months for a few days at a time. My dad doesn’t like this, saying that we have less and less time to be together. Therefore each time I come home, he makes me feel as though there is more and more weight to each visit. He’ll reveal new stories about his past that he has never told me and give me new insight about heavier and heavier topics.

Tonight was particularly interesting because he brought out a photo album that he’s never shown me before. Pictures of his family from a time that I’ve never seen. Until tonight I had only seen maybe 5 pictures of my grandpa (his dad) who I never got to meet, since he passed early, before I was born. But within this album were quite a few photos of him in his 20s, of when he was young with my grandma, and my dad and aunts when they were children. Decades confound to 40-some faded photos that looked like movie stills from a period movie. My mind was blown. 

For some reason this particular picture of my grandpa stood out to me. He was roughly my age here. I look at this picture and I feel like I haven’t done crap in my life. I see his eyes looking at me, and I can’t even imagine what his eyes had seen in his time. The struggles, fears, and sacrifices he went through. And here I am, sitting comfortably at my computer. Could he have ever thought that everything he went through in his youth would eventually lead to me? Am I making him proud? Am I putting to good use all that he did so that my dad could have a better life, and then everything my dad did so that I could have an even better life? How do I honor this incredible sequence of events? I always ask myself these questions, and I think they’re good for everyone to ask of themselves.

Generations of hardship and hard work have amounted to YOU. We will never fully comprehend, for we are a spoiled generation. Free to pursue our dreams and love in a way that our family before us never could have imagined. For this, make them proud. Deserve it.


This is my ye ye. My dad tells me he was one of the smartest in his village, making his way out of his extremely poor rural home through the military. He had many friends and told stories. He was exceptionally talented in calligraphy, leading to a job at the capital penning their important documents. He was a poet. And he could out drink anyone. My dad misses him very much. I really wish I could hear his stories.

When my grandma passed earlier this year, what made me the most sad and cry the most was when I realized how much of this woman I did not know. I saw on the pamphlet her birth year, “1922”, a date that normally sounds like fiction or the beginning of a historical movie, but this a year she saw. I was in her life for a fraction of her time here. I thought about all the things she may have through decades ago, so important to my existence, yet I know nothing of it… such a shame. And while now it’s too late, this just encourages me to talk to my parents more and hear their stories…because through this, I will be able to really understand and know them.


56 thoughts on “Spoiled – (archived)

  1. Thanks for sharing your revelation. Some time ago I also realized I did nothing to deserve what I have right now. We often take things for granted but you know, recognizing this is in itself already a big step.Sorry…I totally labelled you based on your goofy videos and I have to say, I’m very impressed by your level of introspection. Thanks again for sharing…it inspired me to journal/ reflect more again 🙂

  2. The stories told from our parents are the best! Especially after you’ve grown up and finally starting to understand.. and yes we are defnitely a spoiled generation! Everyone should definitely take a pause and realize how fortunate we are compared to our parents and the generations before us….

  3. I love my grandpa and grandma. 我很愛我爺爺和奶奶I think I”ll love them even more after reading this post.我覺得看完這篇文章後 我會更愛他們Great post. Great picture.Taiwan is just so beautiful.I’m proud of being Taiwanese.

  4. I sympathize with your feeling towards your grandfather. I have also ask myself, if my ancestors are looking at me, are they proud of me? I have a picture of my grand grand grandfather and my grand grandfather and they do not look anything like me or my mother, in the background you can see other people, a tree and a wall, my mother said they were in an Hacienda as we call it on Mexico and they have rifles, cause the picture was taken during the cristera war in the early 20’s. The sad part of this is that my grandfather has never told me anything about them, and I think it’s because of this sad strage way of mourning that my family has. When someone has died, we do not speak of him. They pain is so intolerable that we just do not speak of him. If by any chance someone sais something about him or her in a conversation, everybody starts crying and you end up felling guilty of talking about that, so we just avoid those conversations. Therefore talking about dead people is almost a tabu among my family, my mother sais we remember them with our harts and in our prays. I bearly know their names and were they were born, but that’s it, nothing more. I hope I can break this tradition by telling my kids everything I remember from my family… even if they do not want to listen, haha!

  5. Hahaha Phil, reading these makes me feel like I’m getting to know a person! My dad is like that too! Well…so is my mom. They talk about my both sides of my grandparents, and once my mom went into stories about my great grandparents. I’ve grown up with the fact that my mom was only BORN in Vietnam and her family line contained no one Vietnamese, but after hearing about my great grandparents, I can declare myself 1/8 Vietnamese! -sigh- I love family!

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