This is a letter I wrote to my twenty-four year old self. People have told me my twenties would be the best years of my life; having lived approximately half way through my twenties, I would characterize these years as tumultuous, chaotic, riddled with disillusionment, and as a terribly drawn out existential crisis. I feel that any sort of stability in my life has been ripped away. My family struggles financially. I have ended relationships with my best friend and my significant other. I have a place to sleep, and I have a job. I do not feel that I belong in either, and I almost abandoned both to embrace my greatest fear of becoming homeless. My interest to create narratives has died. I only want to be brutally honest and confront my feelings without the embellishments of story-telling.
I do not intend this to be a sob story. I personally dislike sob stories. While they serve cathartically, I do believe they accomplish no more than letting a wound fester. With my whole being, I believe that one must pick oneself up through work. It’s just that I’m exhausted. I feel as if I lost everything. I know this is the most opportune time to grow and change into the person I want to be. At the same time, I think I need to rest a little. Allow me to explain: I’ve learned one of life’s greatest lessons; you can try your best, you can exhaust all your resources and paths, and you can still fail. But the only thing to do is keep going.
My 8 year relationship ended because we want the best for each other, and we finally recognize and acknowledge that we are not the best for each other. Despite all the work, despite the nights talking, despite trying time and time, we had to let each other go. Because she deserved much better, and if I were truly thinking of her best interest, I would admit that I had not treated her better. Therefore, as I laid alone in that field at a concert, I decided to give her the chance to find someone better. She reached the same conclusion as she drunkenly cried through the concert while my friend watched over her. I am still figuring out whether this is a fairy tale idea of relationships, or it’s what everyone is entitled to –just not everyone is brave enough to pursue it.
This struggle between reality and “something better” plagues me. There are many moments in my twenties when I’ve felt stuck. There were very realistic limitations and constraints: money, living situation, family ties, and this need to find independence. But throughout these existential episodes, I had this burning belief that I was meant for better; that I was special and better than whatever situation I was in. I’m proud to say that each time I took the risk in pursuit of something better, I eventually found it. It took work. Each time I spiraled into depression –or my depression exacerbated the times I was meant to be patient. I always had so many emotions wanting to erupt out of me. This might be a product of my childhood, for I was always told I was wrongfully emotional. Must be an Asian upbringing. I suppose I answered my own confusion. This is just the time I have to carry on. Despite how exhausted I am, I must. It’s the only option other than dying.