I’m taking advantage of the fact that it’s still January to partake in some of that corny reflection business that people are inclined to do at the start of a year. But instead of mumble-jumbling about 2009, a recent incident (in which I offhandedly said to Sean re some HTML nonsense, “I haven’t done this in ten years” and realised with horrified amusement that ten years ago I was actually doing things) has inspired me to dig a little farther back.
At the start of 2000, I was in Canada writing a lot of poetry, working on my first website (RIP Geocities), and hating pretty much the entire world except my family and a handful of friends from school.
At the start of 2010, I am in China not writing any poetry, working on the first website I’ve ever paid for, and hating select things about this world but loving my family and many more friends now scattered all over the globe.
What does this mean? Not much, except maybe that I’ve become 1) less inspired; 2) richer (well, relatively); 3) more discerning; and 4) a more frequent flyer.
Neither to prove nor to negate the above assertions, I’ve also reached into the dusty depths of my electronic file cabinet, where my grubby hands happened to be scrummaging yesterday in (a failed) search of an apt name for this site, and pulled out something I wrote in 1999 at the too-young-to-know-anything-but-thought-i-knew-everything age of fourteen. It’s a poem titled “And it was the Year 2010”, about a sturdy, reputable oak chair that one day, without warning, is replaced by a new metallic black one. I’ll spare you the bulk of the below-par poem, but if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share the final stanza. Stanza. Is that what they’re called?
And it was the year 2010
That Earth collapsed
Amidst social and political upheaval
And it* itself did too.
And only the faithful oak chair
Survived, and still remains.
*the new chair
It’s funny to think that ten years ago—just ten years ago!—I perceived 2010 as a faraway date, a time when sci-fi, crazy things like the Earth collapsing could happen. (Granted, I think I was reading a bunch of science fiction at the time and was a little obsessed with, you know, the end of the world, battle between good and evil, that kind of thing.) But then again, things–buildings, ideals, economies–are collapsing all the time. Something else just gets built in their place. 2010 has barely begun; I suppose I shouldn’t be so quick to underestimate the things that could happen in a year.
This just goes to show that I still have no accurate or reliable sense of the progression of time. I may sit here every day and think about how far off my mid-thirties are (not that I really do…), but then ten years will fly by and while Armaggedon might remain a fiction, so might my dreams and aspirations. On the other hand, I’m also sitting here (on a metal-framed black chair, actually) thinking that a year, a month, a day is not enough time to do the things I need/want to do—and by the way, what were the things I wanted to do again? I suppose I could start with actually figuring out what those dreams and aspirations are.
Thanks for indulging me in this rather pointless exercise in self-reflection. I’m down with a cold, and being sick does have a way of making one slightly more prone than usual toward existential thoughts.
P.S. I am much more self-conscious these days than I used to be back when I had all my creative work online for any and all to see, so at first I was a little iffy about quoting my own writing in relative public (what presumption!). But whatever. My recent life has been partially defined by nostalgia for my writing days—loosely defined as my mid-teenage years—and a search for clues as to how to get even a part of it back, and maybe part of the answer lies in overcoming my fear of sharing (thanks, Lez, for writing very eloquently on those sentiments). It might sound horribly self-indulgent to you, and it probably is, but let’s face it, we all have certain personal struggles that sound a little wacky when put into words and shared.
P.P.S. If you didn’t already catch it, the title of the post comes from Pink Floyd’s “Time”. Listen to it. It might never leave you.
P.P.P.S. I’ve finally realized why I don’t blog as much as I’d like. It takes me freaking AGES to write one of these things! Definitely something I need to work on this year.