Two years ago, I brought my daughter on a summer vacation to the States, where we got stuck for a month. That led to us staying in Los Angeles while Dad remained in Shanghai, running his nonprofit. Absolutely not how I would have envisioned our family living life the last two years, but so much unexpected joy has come out of the situation. Do you know what? Amidst chaos, we can find that joy when we realize that the only sure thing about life is its unpredictability. 

Emily and Laini life unpredictability

We can’t always understand why things are happening the way they do…

but when we flex, or even dance to life‘s unexpected rhythms, amazing things happen. You see, I’m now leading an absolutely incredible organization, based out of Los Angeles. This team inspires me every day!

life unpredictability Wunderman Thompson

Laini is at a fabulous school we probably wouldn’t have considered, we’ve made amazing friends here we otherwise wouldn’t have met, and my husband’s non-profit MustardTek is thriving in Shanghai.

Throughout the year, Laini and I connect with her dad every few months (in Shanghai, LA, and Italy… not bad, right?!) and it’s been working in a beautiful, unexpected way. But now in December as we prepared to meet up for a safari, Minki suddenly became very ill.

life unpredictability time with Minki

So this week, we canceled all our plans, received expedited visas (thank you, Chinese consulate) and fly tomorrow morning to Shanghai.

life unpredictability visa process

Sure, there have been some emotional moments.

But more than anything, I find myself reflecting on the things for which I’m grateful. Our visas turned around very quickly 💨 and we were able to book flights (my chief of staff is a bad ass who takes such good care of me in all the little and big ways 🫶). I’ve also been crazy impressed by how my daughter exhibits agility and joy in all things, running to the consulate with me multiple times in the middle of finals week ❤️

Whatever happens will happen, because a lot of things are not in our control. So we we focus on managing those things which are, to the best of our abilities. After all, we can either hold things loosely and uncover pockets of joy where we can, or we can grip life tightly and mire in anxiety.

I choose A.

For related articles,