Yesterday was my twenty-first birthday. As per tradition, lotsa people wished me well on facebook, and others called or texted me. I appreciate every kind word. So as long as I have this extra birthday attention, though, I’d like to blather about some stuff.
This Summer is nearing its end, but I’ll remember it as one of the more difficult periods in my life. Although my hardships have been relatively trivial, they piled on in a way that made me feel, at times, helpless and suffocated.
I went through some relationship trouble. I’ve been taking an intensive second year Chinese course. A friend was diagnosed with something scary. I’ve been isolated from the majority of my friends and family by a city in which I don’t know anyone. UCLA even tried to kick me out of my apartment a few weeks ago.
Occasionally these problems, all of them individually manageable, would present themselves in my mind simultaneously. I was rendered immobile. Loneliness and despair and self-pity held me hostage. It was here that I realized something. I remembered why I am where I am.
This is not the best situation to be in, but it is of my own authorship. Some things, like the illness, are outside of my control, but I chose to leave my girlfriend. I chose to move to a city, alone, to take an intensive Chinese course. No higher power gave me direction in life, so I am choosing my own. I am here because I have decided to learn this language if it kills me.
Yesterday was my twenty-first birthday. I did my Chinese homework and went to bed early. I didn’t come here to drink. It is arbitrary and absurd, but I am wholly committed.
So I would like to acknowledge my friends and family, even if they mostly exist on facebook or on the phone right now. Everyone is an inspiration. Everyone is an example of motion and happiness that I can aspire to. I’ve thought about you, and I’ve thought about what I like about you. I’ve thought about which of your traits I admire, and I’ve thought about how best to imitate them. You have all helped immensely. Thank you.