On lease

At Amy’s birthday dinner, we were talking about jobs and such and the abbreviation PwC got tossed around quite a bit. Nowadays, when someone says PwC you automatically assume they’re talking about PricewaterhouseCoopers. Remember when PWC meant Paulside Wah Ching? From street gangs to professional service firms in 5 years, growing up in middle-class Asian-America is a trip.

Does anybody feel like they’re living in a dream? Bring back a particular memory, complete with the way you felt when that person said whatnot to you in that certain time and certain place for that certain reason. Try to situate yourself there again.  Does it feel like it’s you? Or is it like a movie, like you’re watching someone else? In my first year of college, with all my experiences extending back to the 6th grade, I felt I had ownership. Ownership, as in, “That was me.”

Since then, I feel like I’ve sold those experiences, and I’ve been renting them day-to-day ever since. I have a pretty vivid memory, and I can still pull up minute details. But when I look back, I have difficulty recognizing that it was me in all those sights and sounds. And this isn’t just things that happened years before, but a week ago, even a day ago. It’s as if my physical presence was a leased car. I drive it around, keep it clean, maintain it. I’m there to witness everything that happens around it, to it, but ultimately it’s belonging to someone else.

It’s discomforting. Like with all things I’m unsatisfied with, I sought out the underlying problems in hopes of finding overall solutions. There are a few possible explanations I’ve come up with. The first is, maybe I’m just always dazed from an irregular sleep cycle. I can’t admit I’ve ever had a healthy sleep schedule since the beginning of high school, but maybe I’m older now and it hits harder.

The second is, when I left UCSD, I pretty much set myself on auto-pilot. “This isn’t what you want,” I told myself, “but you have to do it regardless. It’s only a phase. A short 2 years to get over with, and then after you can really start your life.” I withdrew from life. But in those moments of happiness, I do focus really hard to live here and now, to take the world in.

It’s ironic too that my life is not bad at all. Nothing’s perfect of course, but I’m happy. I have the greatest friends, my family’s much more stable than before, I’m with the girl of my dreams, and my career looks promising. Which brings up explanation #3: bliss is still an unfamiliar dream, while hardships are so much more real. Life’s too good to be true!

As circumstances in my life have changed, I’ve changed too. I don’t tether myself down like I used to, and I think that’s a good thing. Consequent to all the incredible things I’ve seen and done that I never thought I would, I’m left without a stable definition of myself. This, perhaps, is why I’m now feeling a disconnect from my memories.

But what really can I do about this last one?