tongari: Tony Leung and Tony Leung - Eagle Shooting Heroes (laying everybody low)
[personal profile] tongari
I remember being twenty-two once. I remember hating myself and wishing I would die. I had just finished my final exams, was quite convinced I had failed one paper particularly miserably, was certain I would not get a job in my favorite city in all the world.. That I would never have a more meaningful relationship than the one I'd just lost, would never be attractive and glamorous and talented and live in an exciting bustling city like a 'real person' - I would just go home and continue to struggle with the same frustration and feelings of loserliness I've been struggling with since I was little. I remember wanting a very specific future for myself, being very upset that I couldn't have it, and preferring to have no future at all.

Today I am twenty-seven and I am living the future I didn't want when I was twenty-two. These days, just before I go to sleep, or while stewing in rush hour traffic, I still struggle with bouts of frustration and loserliness. Today though it is more like a childish tantrum; you get all riled up and then it's over and you're suddenly, awkwardly embarrassed. The truth is I am glad my wish did not come true and I did not die when I was twenty-two. Otherwise I would not be twenty-seven today, writing emails like I know what I am talking about, entrusted with errands for various people, trying to draw beautiful things and having Guinness drinking competitions with the mangz. I am still not much more glamorous or talented than I was at twenty-two. But I am a bit more hard working and practical and in the past five years have met a lot of wonderful people and have seen some amazing places and worked at things that have taught me so much. Also today I have a few pairs of really nice shoes (look every little bit helps okay)

Of course there are a lot of things that I wish hadn't happened, that I'd handled with more grace, more kindness, especially involving other people. My deepest regrets about the past five years have been my own mistakes; very few of them have been due to 'being a failure' to my demanding younger self, i.e. being a non-glamorous person slaving at a boring job in a developing and inefficient country. Mostly I think about how much I have hurt other people - through selfishness or carelessness or poor execution of good intentions - and then instead of dying I wish I could be twenty-two, twenty-three, even twenty-six and three hundred fifty five days all over again. I think I could handle these things more gracefully a second time around having learnt what I know today. I want to handle these things more gracefully a second time around. But you don't get to be twenty-two or twenty-six or even twenty-seven again. You do, however, get to be thirty-two. So when I feel like I want to die these days, I think about how much I have gained and been forgiven and learned in the past five years. Then I feel a lot more optimistic about the next five years.

I wish the person who needed to hear these words the most was still around to hear them. I'm not sure if simply hearing the words would have helped. The worst thing now is to never know whether anything could have helped. To remain forever twenty-two and never give life and other people the chance to offer you anything better beyond what you can imagine for yourself.

That's what I wish I could have said to her, what I'd say to you.

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