(Before I start, I’d just like to say that wifi has been super bad the past few weeks making it hard to do much online, so that’s why it’s been a while since my last entry. That and the fact I have exams and assignments due in two weeks time. However, you can all rest in the knowledge I’m still alive and working away in Beijing.)
I visited the Temple of Heaven (briefly) last weekend. I got a tad lost trying to find my way around and stumbled upon the exact spot I stood on five years ago when I visited as a school student as part of a Hanban/Confucius Institute Summer Bridge Camp. It was strange being back. It’s been so long since I was last there, yet I recognised it instantly. It made me think about how fast time passes, and just how quickly things we think will never end (dramatic pause) are over. I cross off my calendar every day and watch as my life ticks by. I wonder how quickly this will all just become another memory, a photo I look at and reminisce over. I may not be able to slow down time, but I can at least make the most of the time I do have.
I think about how much more freedom I have now. For one thing I’m in China without a school group, I don’t have to follow the teacher or stick with the others, I can just explore. I mean obviously I let people know where I’m going, I don’t have a death wish, but I can just jump on the subway and go anywhere I like. The freedom of adulthood is a nice thing, even if it is partnered with responsibility. I look back at young fourteen year old me who didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life, and think about how much she didn’t know she had to look forward to. I mean she’d just figured out forensic science probably wasn’t going to be her thing with having to be amazing at chemistry and all, so at least that path was ruled out, but choices were still very open. Then I went to China, and I started to see what paths I might want to follow, and I realised just how much there was to learn. Seeing the world is important for so many reasons. It opens your mind, if you’re willing to have it opened that is, and gives you an opportunity to use some of your valuable time on this Earth to better your understanding of the world around you. I had my fifteenth birthday in China, and as much as it was hard to have my first birthday without my parents around me, it made me realise that as I grow up I’ll have to do things on my own more and more. I’d have to become independent. Very slowly I think I’m achieving that goal, I’m still reliant on my parents for many things, but as time passes, I know it cannot be that way forever. I am, and will continue to be grateful for everything they do for me, but as I get older I know I’ll graduate, hopefully do a Masters, and get a job. I’ll start supporting myself. It’s a scary thought, but it’s always been a thought for the distant future. But it’s not so distant really. I’m closer to graduation and getting a job than I am to when I finished school, which is mildly terrifying…
So in the midst of preparing for the frightening concept of being an adult, I have decided I also need to remember to enjoy myself. The past five years since the first time I came to Beijing, I’ve changed a lot, I’ve grown up (obviously), and realising how quickly this time has passed has made me want to make the most of the time I have left in education. My mum and I have always said we could stay in university all our lives, just learning new interesting things. I could study anything, get a degree in psychology maybe, or classics, sociology would also be cool, just keep learning new things. Sadly that requires a lot of money, so maybe wait till when I’m not already in student debt… Anyway, my point is I want to make the most of the time I do have. My time at uni, my time with my family, my friends, all of it. It can all change so quickly. Five years later, I’m not the same girl I was back then, and that’s a good thing. I just think always making the best of things, and always going after what you want, is the only way to be happy. If you don’t fight for the things you want, you regret it, and once it’s all said and done, I want to look back and know I tried. ‘Cause regret is one of the less nice feelings in the world, and I like to avoid it where I can. Looking back over the past five years though, I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out, and I think fourteen year old me would be, too. Thinking about the future, I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I know what I would like to happen, and that’s a good place to start. But who knows, time changes everything!