A Unicorn Comes to America

When I was a kid, I loved to read. Growing up in a town with no siblings and no pet, there aren’t many things that you could play with. There were no farms that I could run around, no beach that I could pile up sand, and as a girl, no one seemed to realize playing video games could be an option. Luckily I didn’t love reading out of being bored in our apartment. Or maybe I did and never realized that. I didn’t have children’s literature in my house so I read everything I could find. I read a cooking book so many time that I still remember the beautiful pictures of the western style desserts. I read my moms’ magazines and novels also. Later I found a whole collection of books that my aunt ordered when she was young. A lot of summer days were spent sitting in the pile of those books. Sometime I need to sneak around the books because my family believe reading books outside textbooks were not right. I remember the definition of the most enjoyable leisure time would be the Saturday mornings, when my parents all left the house and I read a novel in bed with my favorite snacks. Disneyland? Never heard of it.

When I think about that time these days, I wish I could be more like that. Not because I wish I still read a lot, well I should, but because when I did the things I enjoyed, no piece of doubt ever crossed my mind. I didn’t question if I was doing anything meaningful with my life, or if I was wasting my time and should feel anxious.

I don’t remember exactly since when, maybe from college, I started to ask questions about my life way more and constantly feel that I am not doing what I should be doing. By my first year in America, this feeling got the strongest. In the same time, the consistent fear of how fragile life could be reached to a top. After adjustment I learned to enjoy life more and discover things that I like a lot that when I do them, I question less. Thanks to my professors and friends that I met here, I was encouraged to explore my interests and try to have fun guilty free, like dancing or watching shows. But this is still the background noise in daily life. It gave more another perspective of a lot of Chinese traditions also. For example, old fashioned people hated anything that associate with death, like the color white, or the talk about death, especially in special holidays. In Spring Festival, people say blessings to each other and wish for a happy new year. We lit fire crackers in those festivals as a tradition because ancestors use them to get rid of monsters. I started to really feel it when people talk about how living a peaceful and healthy life is the best blessing. However, in the same time, peaceful and healthy life doesn’t necessarily match with meaningful life. I wonder if I could ever overcome of the fear of not living a life the right way, the fear of death or find the true peace and happiness.

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