I read an extremely personal post by a friend of sorts, it was a letter she wrote to herself, very personal and very honest. I thought all the times that I tried to be brutally honest with myself but chickened out at the last moment. Quarter-life crisis is what everyone would say; to me, it’s the perennial search for one’s identity and goals in life. What complicates these matters is the ever-changing nature of one’s goals, circumstances and ability; what blurs our view of who we are and what we want are the people around us.
This is like taking a rain check. I examine every aspect of my life and determine whether I am satisfied with it. I try to resist taking a cold, mechanical view of things like how I always do. The way I approach things – seeing them as pure academic exercises or logical analyses have upset people around me, and made me come across as unfeeling, nonchalant. I am still driven, still motivated, still hungry to do well academically and in sports. My personal life feels like a mess: air’s completely devoid of social interaction, coupled with a dearth of a family life, I feel like I’m fighting battles on my own, day in day out. Admittedly, the lack social life is a personal choice – I choose to be training or studying rather than shopping or having tea with friends. I once talked about this with a senior, about how I feel like I’m giving up everything else just to pursue success in studies and in sports. She told me, maybe you’re choosing a life that’s more suitable for you. There must be a reason why you choose to do so, and I’m sure you’d choose the same each time you’re given a choice. True that, it’s a choice I make day in, day out, every single time.
I think I have been keeping to myself too much lately, and I can’t help but think that all the physical (gastric) pain I’m experiencing is caused somehow by a build up of pent-up emotions and thoughts. By my own admission, I’ve changed a lot over the years. I remember my younger self – brash, rude, extremely hot-tempered. I would lose my temper over the smaller things, raise my voice at anyone and throw things just to vent my anger. I stomp out of the house whenever I was unhappy, I refused to talk to anyone. I partied, I drank – all just to release that energy and emotions. I couldn’t be bothered with my schoolwork, almost always failed to bring my books to school, but somehow there was some semblance of academic inclination or intelligence that allowed me to do well in school. Then one day, it seemed as if something snapped and there was a drastic change in me – into who I am today. I’ve been almost afraid to look back and admit to myself about who I used to be, and hoping fervently that I would never be that way again. Today, I realize that I won’t ever go back to those days, but at the same time, I’ve turned into someone who’s at the other end of the spectrum. Although there is much about myself that I’m unsatisfied about, I am largely content about who I am and what I’ve become.
I guess one of things about myself that I approach with some ambivalence is what most would call “independence”. Independence, with its positive connotation is what I take as a compliment, and yet I also know deep down that this comes along with a certain self-centeredness and disregard or nonchalance towards others. I leave others alone to their affairs, because I don’t appreciate it when people intrude into my personal life. But this has its consequences – because I’ve come across as one who simply cannot be bothered with anything that does not concern me. Be brutally honest, I tell myself. Yes, it is true, sometimes I simply cannot and don’t want to be bothered. I think about this “independence” and how perhaps it makes me bad “girlfriend material”. I can’t evaluate myself and I don’t know how well I’m doing in this regard, but I can’t help but feel it gets in the way of a relationship, just like how it had previously. I simply seem like I don’t care enough, that I don’t love enough. After two over years in this relationship, I know that I am still holding back. That I’m still not giving my all. I don’t know whether I’ve been honest about this, but I’m not hiding it. Right now, I sit here and face up to the reasons for this. I see it all now, I know exactly why. Disapproval plays a large part in this, but I strive to put this aside and I know that there are many other things that are keeping me away from committing fully. Inherent differences in character, beliefs and value systems, divergence in viewpoints, all these considerations have always been bothering me. I see it in all the little and not-so-little things that we do. There are things that make me highly uncomfortable, but I know that perhaps I am partly to blame because I don’t bring them up, without which we can’t work on them. But I guess a part of me just wants to see whether anything would change, or I just want someone to bend over backwards to accommodate me – because I don’t believe that that’s how a relationship should work. I’ve been avoiding thinking about these things, simply because I’ve been content with the status quo, and because I’m afraid that some other things would change. I am happy in this relationship, I am enjoying all the times spent together, but I guess I’m also afraid go what is to come, afraid of facing what lies in the future. This relationship is special because I can be comfortable with being myself, but ironically the way I’m avoiding dealing with the problems (that I know I should not and cannot put off forever) and approaching it as “taking things as they come” is highly uncharacteristic of me. At this juncture, I’m lost and confused. I have been honest and open with myself, but where has that taken me? I have come face to face with some of the things that have been bothering me, but yet I see no solution to them, and it seems like things are not going to change in the near future.