One year away from graduating, and a couple months away from completing my year abroad, and to be honest, I’m rather stressed. My thoughts keep drifting to the future, and the ever looming fear that my life’s achievements peaked in high school doesn’t help. I have always dreamt big, and I don’t think that will ever change, but the worry that I’m not advancing and progressing as quickly as I need to to achieve all that I want to achieve, makes everything feel that much harder. I think about my plan, my next steps; do a masters, work on a production crew, gain experience, write my own films, make my own films, work my way up the ladder… It all just feels like if one part crumbles away, if I don’t quite hit the mark, it’ll all fall apart, and it’s terrifying. Of course, I’ve never been one to give up, and if one plan fails, you make another. Yet the whole idea that I turn 21 this year, and my childhood is now behind me, just leaves me without words. My life is flashing past, and I don’t want to look back in old age and have wasted it.
It’s been a few months since I’ve written a blog post, mostly because every few weeks when I start writing something, I end up deciding it isn’t good enough or just isn’t right. I may return to a couple of them and see if I can make anything from them, but for the moment I think I’ll just reflect on the past seven weeks back in China.
One question I don’t think gets asked enough when discussing film is “how did it make you feel?” Along with, “was it effective in delivering its message? And did it inspire as it meant to?” After all, these are the reasons I got into film studies in the first place, because film is inspiring. I watch the critically acclaimed La La Land yesterday. A spontaneous meet up with a very good friend led to heading to the cinema to see the 9:45pm showing, and dear God was it amazing. I had been dying to see it since I watched the trailer, and even with an overly noisy (and dare I say drunk) group of people a row across from us, it was the most inspiring film I’ve seen this year. Being that we’re only seventeen days into 2017, I’m not sure how much that says, but it really is a beautiful film, and it reminded me of why I do what I do. It reminded me of why I study and strive to build myself up to do something (hopefully) world-changing. Films feed the soul, or at least they feed mine. Showing heartbreak and loss, defeat and destruction, love and hope, success and creation… Films show us the worlds outside the ones we live in, perspectives we’ve never even thought of, and we can even watch from the comfort of our very own homes.
When I first began writing this post, it was about staying positive when facing a year abroad. As I wrote it developed to staying positive in the face of challenges and lost hopes. It changed again, quite drastically, after the 2016 American Election results. Now more than ever I feel this is relevant.
The news of the 2016 American Election results will forever be burned into our minds and, for those with any real sense, will have left us devastated, dejected and demoralised. I’m not American, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t effect me, and everyone else in the world. However, the most important thing now is not giving in to the fear and hate that has won this election. Sticking together, supporting all those who have been attacked during his campaign, and who will face further attacks, is crucial. Woman, LGBTQ+ members, minorities, Muslims, people with disabilities, and so many others are now afraid and angry, and rightly so, but these emotions have to be pushed towards continuing to fight for the future we believe in. Staying positive and continuing to fight for equality, against hate and discrimination is our only chance to save our futures from the ‘huge’ number of negative outcomes of recent events. After Brexit, I thought things couldn’t get much worse, but it did. Now I find myself genuinely concerned for humanity. I’m scared of the world I live in, of the closed-minded people in it. So the only way I can keep my head above water is to think of everything I have worth fighting for, and continue to speak up for what I believe is right.
(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.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Death is something I think all of us wonder about. It’s a constant underlying fear, that our time will come sooner than we’re ready for. But are we ever really ready? I try to live my life in the hope that when I die, I won’t have any regrets. We regret the things we didn’t do, more than what we did do, or at least that’s what people say. So with this in mind, I try and make the most of everything I have. I think we all take life for granted, far more than we should, myself included. Continue reading “Life, Death & Everything Inbetween”