“Writing is a struggle against silence.”

I understand that it is not about the end-goal but it is about the process. And for maybe the whole of year one in university I didn’t understand what the process was, everything seemed piecemeal to me. It isn’t until year 3, probably six months past, that I finally feel comfortable being in the moment and trusting the process to take me to places that I wouldn’t get to otherwise. To others, process might be following a set of steps to get somewhere. Writing isn’t something that I can ‘follow’, it is something that I can only set aside time for. And there is a lot of interference- ‘hey why aren’t you studying for accounting, why aren’t you doing this instead, can’t you plan for this’, and everything is in my head- I have to remind myself that my productivity dips if I stay with one thing for too long.

I get grumpy when I don’t read/write for a few weeks, like literally there’s a screw loose somewhere in my body and I am unable to do things properly. Everything becomes boring and bothersome. It is not something that I can explain, why I feel this need to read about Discworld and to understand how other people live in their worlds. I have friends who don’t read fiction at all, and they are very comfortable with that. Without fiction, where would I be? I used to ramble a lot, I still do. But now my rambles have less grammatical errors. It is smoother now. My thoughts have a flow to it.

Your desires,

Whether or not you achieve them

Will determine who you become.
― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

I was reading a Chinese book online- buying it from kinokuniya tomorrow- about how we are only looking like we are working hard, when we are actually not. It is just a social veneer, trying to fit in but not really wanting that goal. I spent an hour reading excerpts from that book and I was struck by how much of it was just simple stories from the author’s life, about his friends and the things he sees in his life. And yet there was truth in every story. He wrote about how he felt alone in his constant striving and how he dedicated his time to something other than his major. As an educator after graduation, he saw his students wasting their time away. Students who bring a pile of notes to the library but they end up playing with their phones and not studying and then they lament failing the English exam.

Or remembering how he avoided socializing too often because he knew the trade-offs. He wrote about staying in student dormitories and hanging out with friends all the time and after four years, those friends leave and you don’t remember anything significant. Worst of all, you don’t have anything remarkable that you dedicated your time to. You spent four years doing…what? Average grades, average ambition, average at everything, and did you even enjoy every bit of it? It’s good if the person is content. But some of us are not. We are average and lost in our lives. Nothing is what we really wanted but we are stuck with it now. How does one get out of the rut?

I feel that a lot of my stress in JC was because I was trying to maintain this front about wanting to be someone, when I really didn’t know who I was. But everyone else was ‘somebody’, they had a definable character. Because of that it made me quite unhappy, like ‘why don’t I have my life figured out?’ I didn’t understand then that life requires patience and a lot of hard work, that one day (five years from then), I will finally understand myself with a clarity that isn’t dependent on what I have or who I work for. Because I am not tying my worth to external indicators like the kind of salary I receive, I’m motivated to do things every day.  I don’t want to be an office lady having high-tea in the CBD area every weekend because I’m bored with life and there’s nothing that interests me anymore. Because it is something internal, I know that I can let go of that process if I feel that I no longer want to do it. I can pursue something else.Those are things that I want, even if I am not very good at them. It is who I want to be in the future.

I no longer feel like I have to lie about where I want to go- I honestly would like to do something related to HR business process outsourcing, preferably in China. I like that place. The fact that their books are cheap is a huge draw, international shipping from china for HARDCOPY BOOKS is freaking expensive. I am paying four times for the shipping as compared to the actual book. I like their natural environment. Do I understand their language perfectly? Nope. I sound like I am gargling marbles. Do I know their political system or rule of law? Nope. But it is the same feeling I had at the start of year 2- that I have a strong, intuitive, positive feeling about going there. And I’m going to work towards that place. I hope they still have the roadside stalls that sell yang rou chuans.

It is the same as writing, I might not be where I want to be in maybe another five or ten years, but eventually I will reach there and it is something that I truly want. Not something that other people have a say in. I do feel a little alone, why is that I have clear goals and people around me don’t have the same goals, because then I can’t tell people what’s interesting. Right now, I just force whatever I like on my friends, but I know it’s not what they like- I even have a HRBPO book in my bookmarks, I like reading that. It is nothing like what we learn in school, it is actually useful and worthwhile knowledge.

Sigh. I don’t want to end up married with kids and never experiencing that ‘aha!’ moment in my life. I do know of people like that, they just settle and settle and settle and they never have that feeling of ‘this is what I was born to do!!’ I don’t want that.

If you want a thing–truly want it, want it so badly that you need it as you need air to breathe, then unless you die, you will have it. Why not? It has you. There is no escape. What a cruel and terrible thing escape would be if escape were possible.
― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents