This last year has been bad, the worst. I entered my third decade of life and I’ve hated every minute of it. I have never been faced with so many challenges to my life and personal identity. I’ve never questioned my own self so much, and felt as though I’d lost so much along the way. I’m 30 and I feel like I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing. I’m 30 and I’ve never felt so lonely. But the truth in my heart is, I am who I am. Long ago I came to terms with the fact that I’m not cookie cutter. I do things my own way. And that not everybody is going to accept that, and that’s okay. I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to make others happy, that I’m not happy myself. And I’ve let people make me feel ashamed of myself. March to the beat of my own drum? The truth is, I don’t hear a drum. I bask in the sound of my own silence. And I like it. And I’m going to be okay. I’m going to have more bad years, and I’m going to have great years. In two days, my year from hell will be over, and I survived it. Today, while waiting for my coffee, late in the morning, the woman behind the counted looked at me, and told me she was proud of me. And that was all I needed. In two days, I’m going to turn 31, and I’m going to have the best year..
I have a dream… that one day the obnoxious sounds of hoodlum children running rampant in the neighborhood streets will cease, and my fellow neighborhood man will put down his hammer and chainsaw and realize his house can be fixed no more. I have a dream that one day, I wont be wrenched from early morning sleep by the unholy neighborhood sounds of what-have-you. I say to you today my friends, let slumber reign. Let slumber reign so that I may dream at last..
Last night I went and saw The Farewell. Pre show, the woman working at the theater told us how difficult it was for Lulu Wang to get people to produce her film. But it was a story she desperately wanted to tell. When she finally did find producers, she wanted people to understand that The Farewell isn’t a “Chinese movie,” but it also isn’t an “American movie.” At first, it’s hard to imagine what exactly that means, but after watching this film, I get it.
Yes, there are subtitles. And majority of the movie takes place in China. But it truly was not a “Chinese movie.”
We follow a woman, Billi, who is based off the director. She is a Chinese-American who has grown up in New York since she was 6. When her beloved Grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she goes back to China.
To me, it didn’t so much as feel like a story about a dying Grandmother, as a story about an American woman trying to understand Chinese culture.
The main conflict of the story is in the very long standing tradition of family members not telling their elders that they are dying. In essence, to allow them to die in peace, and for the family to bear the emotional burden. Billi struggles to understand this concept.
The film takes us through various other customs and traditions of Chinese people. While disappointing to hear some of my fellow viewers laugh at the ridiculousness of some of these traditions, for instance a scene in which the whole family goes to Grandpas grave to pay their respects. If you don’t know the process, it is vastly different than how most Americans pay respect at graves..
It is a movie about Chinese customs and life, seen through the eyes of an American. Billi encounters various locals who excitedly ask her about America, if it’s as amazing as they’d always heard. As an American, it is interesting to see how other countries still see America as being such a land of opportunity and freedom.
In a time when Asians are finally starting to get their time in the light, I think this movie was perfect. It wasn’t a “Chinese movie,” but it also wasn’t an “American movie.”
And I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to understand some of the longer standing customs and traditions of another culture.
(Repost from 2 years ago)
Thoughts of a 30 year old..
I used to laugh at people who made the transition from age 29 to age 30. What were they so afraid of? It’s just another year, there’s going to be plenty more. But now that I’ve turned 30, I repeatedly blink my eyes in hopes I’ll wake up and find I’m 29 again and this year never happened. I didn’t go thru all the stress and pain I went thru, I didn’t gain 15 pounds I can’t seem to shake, I didn’t nearly lose one of my parents, we didn’t elect Donald Trump as POTUS… But alas, here I am, 30, and here are my thoughts:
My body: They always told me I’d lose my metabolism by age 30. Having been someone who always ate whatever I wanted and never had to worry about a thing, it is actually quite devastating to find this permanent spare tire around my middle. No one wants to feel less than they are. But the lesson to learn here, is that you don’t have to keep trying to be more than you are. No one has ever complained, mocked, or had a problem with my imperfections. I’m no longer in my 20s and if I’m hanging out with someone who laughs at my chub, maybe I need to be rethinking the people I am hanging out with. Or I need to laugh louder about their bigger chub.
I can no longer eat extrordinarily spicy food without my stomach protesting later. And I find myself saying, “what?” far more than I ever have. I used to jokingly tell my parents that it was simply because they are old, well now it would seem the jokes on me. Our bodies truly do seem to go thru all those horrible changes as we get “older.”
My money: For the first time in my life, it is tight. I am at this strange point in my life where I am making enough to survive, but that’s all. Living alone is pretty damned expensive, and people looking for roommates are looking for college students in their 20s. So what do I do? How do I live? Carefully. For the first time in my life I understand the value of working hard, and the need to think about how I’m spending my money, and the reward in being able to treat yourself to something nice.
I used to chalk it all up to career choice. I simply didn’t make the right choices when I was in college. But the truth is, those things don’t matter as much now. 3 years of experience is equivalent to a 4 year degree in most places. If your 4 year degree is the same as your 3 years of experience, then you can’t say you made a wrong choice. You are doing what you want to be doing. I am doing what I want to be doing. It isn’t glamorous, or exciting, and it doesn’t necessarily pay well. But it is what I am good at, damned good at, and it is what makes me smile.
My family: In turning 30, I reached the cut off point to sell my eggs. Sounds strange, why would I care? Do I even want to sell my eggs? Not necessarily. But knowing a piece of you has reached its expiration date just makes you feel old period. How did I miss the step at which people have kids? The truth is, I didn’t. I chose not to hike up the mountain along the beaten track. I chose to claw, fight, and drag myself up the hard way, and if it put me on a slower path, then it put me on a slower path. I am not at a point in which I am ready for children. My own parents didn’t have my brother and I until they were in their mid thirties and there was nothing wrong with that. They lived their lives first, found each other and truly fell in love, and had kids when they were really ready for them.
As far as falling in love? I’ve felt love for someone else a couple of times. But I’ve never met someone I could see myself with for the rest of my life. Does that make me broken? I’m coming to terms with the fact that I Am A Virgo. I am thought full, particular, stubborn, and wont act unless I am sure of myself. I haven’t met my special person. I am not sad for it. I am in love with my own independence.
My future: When I turned 30, I had a midlife crisis. I lost people I cared about, and at some point, hit a bottom that created an outward ripple. I lost myself. I wasn’t in my 20s anymore and I wasn’t sure what to do. It was a long journey to try to rediscover myself. And the truth is, I’m no one different. I did not magically wake up and find I was an adult. The truth is, I’ll never be an adult, in that sense. I will always need my parent’s help and approval on the serious things. Maybe there is an added expectation on me, to be responsible and a role model and have experience. But I can only be me. Everyone has their own journey to go thru. It was my errs and experiences that made me who I am. I am finally old enough to look back and see that. I am not apologetic for being who I am.
I am a Korean-American woman, I don’t know who my birth mother is, but I know who my parents are, an American woman and an English man. I grew up in small town Alaska and got my degree in Idaho, but spent most of my college years in Oregon. I have two cats and two tortoises. I like icecream, and I like beer, and I love icecream in my beer. I play videogames, speak fluent sarcasm, and watch documentaries for fun. I hide myself deep inside the enigma, buried in the pages of an open book. I am who I am, and I am not apologetic. I am me. I am 30, and in a month, I’ll be 31.