Sometimes I do not know if I am living for my eulogy or my resumé. I’d like to think that I’m neither because I’d like to make myself believe that I am embracing every single day of my life with no regrets— which I admit is a nasty lie because I spend every waking moment in binary: Paranoia and anxiety. In an ideal world perhaps I’d be a lady with a little more spice, able to talk to the man she is fond of with an untied tongue; able to sit over fine wine and have the gall to laugh at life’s absurdity; able to ward off all unnecessary feelings and just enjoy life as is. But this is reality and my fight or flight response is always kicked into high gear; I’m constantly looking over my shoulder every now and then because I’ve learned that things are never as good as they seem.
I came upon a phrase that struck me the strongest. Memento mori, a Latin phrase that translates to “remember that you must die.” It was something that got my mind spinning, got me thinking about my current life and future endeavors, and then realize how hard everything really is. Hard, perhaps, because I am not trying enough. Unlike most of my peers, my future is still hazy to me, just as hazy as the day I asked my highschooler self what my plans were and I was left silenced because I didn’t know what I wanted.
A month ago, I stopped eating pork, beef, and chicken after hours of Reddit-browsing and reading up on cowspiracy, climate change, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I think with the rate that the population of the human race is going right now, it is impossible to even foresee a universal ethical way of farming. I tried to be vegetarian (in the hopes of becoming full-vegan) before but ended up failing because the motivating factor in my head was that it would make me lose weight and I can finally be beautiful, but after doing some reading, I realized that if I can’t be vegetarian for vain purposes, perhaps I can be one for the sake of a better world. And I’m not even being ambitious or idealistic right now, but all these studies on climate change and the destruction of our world because of the very humans created to live in it really scares me. I know I’m just one person, but I’d like to believe that there is a reaction for every action and I guess I can only hope in hopelessness that all reaction is good reaction.
Five days ago, my editor in chief (I am a journalist for the school paper) posted on our page calling for assistant-editor sign ups for the next term. I bookmarked the post, urging myself to try out because I’ve never, but knowing myself, I’d probably back out before anything can even begin because I am such a fucking self-deprecating coward suffering from impostor syndrome or just really, really bad self esteem. Today I think I’m a decent writer and most days I’m just utter crap.
Today, however, I was in pottery class and I was trying my best to smoothen my bisque-d works, pre-glazing, with a piece of overused sandpaper. Pottery has always been familiar to me ever since my dad exposed me to it when I was 11, about nine years ago. I dropped it when I entered high school and eventually stopped and forgot about it, until recently. I took it up again, this lost passion of mine, and started to train my hands again to the once-familiar sensations of pottery. Frustrating at first, but I have fallen in love again.
On my way home, my dad and I stopped by a bike store to look for a city bike for myself because I’ve been thinking of trying out biking. We looked around for a bit before proceeding off, shrugging and telling myself that I can get back to it some other day.
Tonight I am writing and I can say for myself that writing will always be my favorite thing, if not my only favorite thing in this world. But I realize that I cannot write if I do not put myself out there and live. I cannot live inside my head forever, I think, and the only way I can make sense with writing is if I keep challenging myself and telling myself to go out there, be more human. So often I am entrapped by the screen of my phone or even the pages of a book, but what I really should be doing is be out there. See things and for heaven’s sake, do things. Find the strange in the familiar, see the general in the particular, experience things I’ve never done, think thoughts that make me uncomfortable, re-examine everything that I already know. Learning is the only thing to keep me youthful and I must keep my unabating curiosity for life for—well—the rest of my life, I hope.
Again, my future is hazy. At this moment, I feel like a bowl of chopsuey. A bowl of random veggies thrown together, one vegetable for each of my feelings and woes. I want to do so many things and sometimes I ask myself, why do I only have to choose one? And I realize, why are we conditioned to only pick one when we are in control and can choose as many as we want? Why is it that in this life, you just have to pick one course and then follow that till you die? From womb to tomb? Life is too short for that, I think. And perhaps we shouldn’t be afraid to do what we love the most and also pursue other things that we want to try, because really, we have to remember that we must die. And we will, and that keeps me going every single day.
I do not know if I am living for my eulogy or my resumé, but I will admit to myself now and say that I don’t want to be living for either. That if I had the chance (and I do) then I should live my life for the sole purpose of reaching my full potential as a human being, not for praises on my deathday or a forty-page resume of all my achievements. I think that the worth and purpose of life cannot be measured by paper or words of other humans anyway.
I always have optimism in my heart, but the cynicism in my head always trumps over. With all these binary oppositions and contradictions, insecurities and self-deprecation, most of the time it makes me forget who I really am and who is really in control: Me. And if it were so easy to let go of all the toxicity, then I would’ve done so a long time ago.
But there are days when I just feel sorry for myself and tell myself that I will never amount to anything, just like tonight when I can feel my depression swell in me again, like a surge that passes in and out, for no other reason that it just happens to be a late night and I’m left with deep thoughts. But I’d like to think that in these dark hours, I can still have hope and the least I can do is go back to my point of innocence and ask myself, What would 11 year old me do? And of course, little me would say that I should be “a lady with a little spice” to which I take as tenacity for me to go out there and shake the world by the lapels.