I find it curious. Listening to a sentimental talk show on the Netease music app, the kind that a young woman's pretty face as the icon, and a soothing voice that suggest the picture you see is her, and slow, relaxing, late night style light music in the background, and always topics of thoughts, quite like what I have from time to time, about life, about love, about career, about purpose, about why the suffering and why the choice.

    On the one hand, I feel she is too young to be really understand the depth of these topics. I can't help having the sense that this is 为说 新词强说愁, and many of the arguments are actually, false, in my opinion, because there is an underline assumption that she is not even touching (or making it obvious that she is aware of such assumption). For example, a popular sentiment is the anxiety of young people who is living a city life — so called stress from work, from struggling, especially if struggling alone, from unfair treatment by the boss, by the peers, by the city culture overall. Then, the counter side is always "but she gives up a nice easy life in her home town and chose to come to Shanghai... because she is not ready to live a repetitive life as her parents (and other friends).." and so on. So here is one huge assumption that home town life will be easy and quiet, that she can "go home at 5 and be with parents and spend the night watching TV". Well, if we now examine this assumption, it's obvious this is not true, in many many ways.

    First of all, small town life is not a rosy picture, at all. Small social circle also means closer ties, less privacy, and higher peer pressure. You will have more extra hands to help, but also extra voices to listen to, to show respect to, to follow a stricter social hierachy, to meet a less flexible expectation, to deal w/ tighter control of your each step as if the rail has been laid, for you... by the way, nobody said that less uncertainty equals less stress. Honestly, I simply do not buy such theory at all — this is the same as those talk show of history constantly remind us that life in the Song dynasty was a wonderful. Give me a break! I bet even a nobody is living a better life than the kings back then, better health at least, better dental, better toilet... so the same goes w/ these small town fantasy. If home town life were all gain but no loss, I would seriously consider it a world wonder, cause till today, nothing like this has been found yet.

    Second, feeling loneliness and being alone, is terrible, but is universal, and is necessary. This is not a city disease. On the contrary, being surrounded by friends and family is suffocating and unhealthy. Let me ask this, how are you forming your own opinion on things if you don't have the chance to read and hear from less opinionated source (ok, I know all news are opinions, in a way, but better than a complete opinion from, anyone, parent, relatives, friends, foes, anyone), and have time to think? City is cruel, it is distant, it does not care you and me, it is cold. But it teaches you to look inward, to talk to yourself, to cope with yourself, and to know yourself. It's hard, unpleasant, but necessary, because at the end of day, the only person you know well is yourself, the one who will not leave you, is yourself, and the one who will put dinner on your table, is yourself. I don't enjoy the loneliness a bit. But it's inevitable, sooner or later, in life, that I have to face, to survive. Those who are hoping to dodge this bullet, will be disappointed.

    Now, on the other side of my thoughts on this, is that there is a common theme that occurs from generation to generation, from year to year, from day to day, from person to person — the wish of going back in time, missing the past, whether it was a youth, a young love, a wonderful time in life... why? From the picture and sound of this woman, she is in her 20s I would guess. So really there isn't much to go back to, when I'm speaking from my age. Yet, I remember the feeling, I echo the thoughts, I agree with her sentiments, and I wish to do the same. Sometimes I wonder when I hit 70s, which is another 20 some years later, looking back, wouldn't I wish I could come back to, today!? But now being here, being right now, I don't want to be, here, now, but to go back to a moment in time. How self-conflicting!

    What is this that we want to go back to? Don't we actually only implying a particular moment, period, but nothing before, nothing after? And even for that moment and that period, aren't we also thinking only a person being there, but no other noises, so the experience will be pure, even abstract? I think so. It is cherry picking only the things you like, but can get away with things you don't.

    Logically speaking, this is the same that I despise those history talks — Song was fine, but not everyday. If to relive the glory of a moment, great. But for over 200 years of days, and it would be safe to bet they also had 24 hours each day, and feeling hungry as regular as we do today, life, most of them, were filled with things from Pandora's box.

    So city likely amplifies these things, and accelerates the pace that you must face reality. The real question is always — do you want to know, and be unhappy? or be ignorant, and be happy?

    — by Feng Xia


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