2/19/87, my ma was a saint. Laying in a dingy Beijing hospital, she pushed my abnormally large head out of her petite frame with gargantuan effort. Ma recalls, with loving annoyance, that my dad was busy charming the staff with inappropriate jokes. Barely keep a straight face, my uncle recounts his version: the hospital staff told my dad it was a boy. Naturally, he raced home, boasting of the good news, ” It’s a nan hai!(boy).We have an er zi!(son)!”
One hour later, Ba returned to find the staff had some confusion figuring out which baby belonged to who: “apologies sir, your son is actually a daughter.”
Now that I’ve comfortably settled into my womanhood(whew), my conscience begs me to come clean with 2-7. Not that I would ever mislead strangers by saying I’m 15….or 21….at a lounge in Soho…..last Saturday. Twas a little white lie, but begs the bigger question: why do we tend to reflect on youth with beer goggles?
I hold onto the “good ol days” with the vice-like grip of a baby monkey. Sure, there was a freedom to abandoning all sense, rhyme and reason, and the thrill of uncertainty certainly got my adrenaline pumping. Did I repeat the same behavior over and over again, expecting better results(the definition of madness)? Correct. Was there was a sense of loneliness that drove me to the next adventure? Certainly. Was I happier then or now? Now. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, would I dare say you are doing it wrong? Abso-freakin-lutely.
NOW is the time to love too hard. Leap, fumble, crash. Wear your invincibility cloak (Harry Potter shoulda switched it up). Feel free to do it with lots of beer, like the guys in The World’s End:
“I remember sitting up there, blood on my knuckles, beer down my shirt, sick on my shoes and seeing the orange glow of a new dawn break …knowing in my heart life would never feel this good again.”
But guess what? It does feel that good again. To all of you who fear the ticking clock, trust that your sense of excitement, peace and joy evolves. Work to stay in the present. Appreciate your friends and family whenever they make the time.
Efforts of love don’t need to be grandiose in order to be extraordinary.
Thanks for an incredible journey. To infinity and beyond!