No, I’m not lost. I insisted this to myself. I just never knew where I was going.
Not while I was in college in China – on one hand I was hoping to get student visa to come to the United States, on the other hand I had to think about the real possibility of staying in China, maybe drop out of the college and get into a trade. My life was a total mass. But the world around me changed and saved the day. I was not particularly depressed or worried then, because 1) I was young, no one expected much of me. 2) I didn’t know better, and grew up in a warm protected family and under communist ruling, I had a false sense of safety in believing that I would be somehow taken care of. 3) As people I knew were jailed and exiled for political causes, I was secretly relieved that I didn’t have a goal or a vision in comparison to them to cause any hardships to myself. Then it was the life changing moment when I did get the long sought after visa to come to the United States. In retrospect, especially after I read the book “Outlier”, I know now that my “luck” was not “luck”, it was the result of the United States’ sympathetic gesture to all Chinese college students under the political backdrops of the time. But of course I didn’t know at the time, and the incident firmed up my belief that “God loves me and He will always take care of me”.
I still did not know where I was going when I was in college in New York. But that was also forgivable. Language and cultural barriers turned me into a quiet introvert. Even to this day, I feel that unless my back was against the wall, I won’t assert myself in front of people. More over, it was literally the very first time in my life that I was faced with having to pick my own destiny. I sucked at that, as I never had any practice of exercising free will. With limited understanding of the world and available choices, I studied Economics and Statistics to build a foundation for my future and got involved in public service when I didn’t even know what it entailed. All-in-all I felt that although I was not “together”, but given the circumstance I did the best I could.
If I knew what I wanted out of this life, obviously I could have done better. But by then, I had developed dependency – on God as I thought that he would give me signs and carry me through to my destiny.
Somehow I finished grad school, found a high-paying job and started to interact with people and travel the world. My confidence grew. I was, for the first time in my life, part of the “in-crowd”. I didn’t understand then that I was working with Europeans and eccentric Americans, and that I never did truly fit in to the mainstream America. That aside, my life-view at the time and ever since has been – your path has been set for you, you could try to figure out where you are going, to make your journey more enlightened, but you could also just go with the flow. The end result would be just the same.
That’s why I’m saying that I’m not lost. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. I’m in my own sailboat and waiting for the next current or wind to take me somewhere. Or not. Yeah, idly waiting, day after day.
A boat comes by with many bystanders. They cheer me on. “Way to go!” They say, about my job, art, travel, family, whatever. I fake my smile and wave them off.
Another boat comes by, asks, “Are you lost?”
“No, no.” I explain that my stale progress is by design.
Yes, all I’m doing is to “kill time”, to kill time so I won’t be dying out of boredom before the death of the physical fresh. To escape to the imaginary world because what happens in the real world does not matter.
And of course it DOES matter…
The God who would always take care of me has not visited for a while. He had come a few times over the years and had guided me on the right path, such as marrying my husband. And I so wanted a hint from Him right now as I face big decisions in my life. He still loves me and cares about me, right? Please, don’t just leave me on the boat as I am getting anxious.
I was taking about the topic of “killing time” with a friend of mine, and he could not comprehend the concept. For him, and most people, they are at the driving seat of their lives, and seem to know where they are going. I feel like I’m an annoying passenger on a long journey – not contributing to driving or giving directions, just sat there either complaining or day-dreaming.
But, I’m not lost. That part I know.