Angie Across America: Shine your light

From paralegal to endurance sports; Angeline tells us what inspired her to let her light shine in her latest post!

For 10 years, I stuck on to a seemingly important-sounding job. I was a paralegal, living life in the fast lane, working in distinguished law firms alongside quick-minded, glib-tongued brilliant lawyers representing high-net-worth clients, sitting in on client meetings, perusing and organizing client files, studying thick law books, researching ancient old law cases in dusty, woody-smelling court libraries, attending court hearings, taking verbatim (word for word) notes as the lawyers eloquently debate their cases before a judge, enjoying expensive lunches paid for by the law firm, preparing numerous sets of  court documents for trial hearings late into the night, losing any trace of a decent social life with weekends buried in work.

I enjoyed what I did because it made me feel intelligent – that I was working in a high-strung environment, and it made me feel important – I felt like I was contributing positively to society. Besides, whenever my friends or family had any matter concerning the law which they were unsure of, they’d ask me, and whenever I offered my little two cents’ worth of advice, it’d always make me feel like my knowledge of the law had been of help and service to others.

I stayed on in the legal industry for a decade because it was the only thing I knew to do to give me a steady income. I had just graduated from college in 1999 and needed to fend for myself in a foreign country, away from my family.

I struggled to keep awake during client meetings and especially during long-drawn court hearings. For years I battled with, and still do, a special condition where I fall asleep in a flash, anywhere and anytime I am not actively engaging in something – in a meeting of any form and manner, while standing in a moving train, and sometimes, while driving. It is dangerous, and I often wish I have more control of my consciousness.

In school as a student, I’d fall asleep and when asked a question in say, history class, I’d stand up and rattle off an answer that seemed to please my teachers. When I was 10 and qualified to be on the school netball team, I happily escaped the monotony of attending classes and heading to the field for netball practices. Still, I fared well in school, scoring over 90% in all my test papers.

While I could pull off my mild case of narcolepsy in the safe, structured environment of a school and a routine 9-to-5 office job, I struggle to do so now in the non-structured world of entrepreneurship.

I am my own master, the captain of my ship.

I recognized my calling as a writer from a young age. Words and stories come effortlessly to me.

I love writing, but I can’t sit still to write.

I feel suffocated sitting down; I come alive when I’m on my feet – running or cycling, gaining distances, moving from one point to another.

Which is why AngieAcrossAmerica suited me well. It married my life’s greatest passions – sports, photo-videography and stories.


Picture: Snake River bordering Oregon and Idaho

I got to ride over 100 miles each day for 39 consecutive days, witnessed breathtaking views and captured them on film, met some incredible and hardy people and documented their personal stories and life lessons for posterity’s sake.

We each carry within us, a little light in which we shine and impact our world. For some, it may be their work ethics, tenacious attitude, resilience; for others it might be their laughter, joy, positivity, faith, encouragement; for another it might be their love for their family, care for the neglected elderly, compassion for society’s rejects; yet for someone else, it may be their athletic performance, financial savviness, technical brilliance or creative streaks.

For me, I discovered my light to be endurance sports. Coop me indoors or in a desk bound situation, and you’ll stifle me. Let me out to cycle, run, swim, etc – and I shine a light so bright it dazzles.

Uncover your light, my friend – let it shine and dazzle the world with who you truly are.

Picture: Manhattan skyline taken from Long Island City, Queens, New York

Angeline Tan


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