What You Should Be Doing, Part 2

Resuming from last night, I had been saying that I felt like a loser for living at home and not having a job, and that if I stopped to think for a second I’d realize that I have no reason to feel this way at all. So, let’s stop to think for a second…

I believe that people are mostly responsible for the situations or predicaments that they find themselves in. I take pride in being able to take complete responsibility for the things that I do, regardless of whether the outcome is positive or negative. Thus, I am responsible for my current situation. I made the choices that put me here in the first place. This is what I wanted.

***

A little more than a year ago, I was working a well-paying job with a lofty title. It was a good job at a good company, but I had been there for almost 7 years and some aspects of the job were starting to wear on me. Remember what I said about following the “should” path. I had thought that I would be at this job for the next 30 years, if not my entire working life. Maybe I was naive, I don’t know. In the end, I just couldn’t handle it and submitted my resignation in November.

Despite submitting my resignation in November, I stayed on until May to ensure a successful transition for the company. During that period of time, I thought about all the things I could be doing in the near and distant future. I could finally read all the books I had bought hoping to learn new subjects. I could finally play all those PS3 and PS2 games that I had bought on sale. I could move to Hong Kong like I had always imagined. JC and I even bought a bottle of Lagavulin, pledging not to open it until we were settled into our new place over there.

Finally, in May I was free. We moved out of our apartment and back into my family’s home (in other words, my mother’s house). We gave away many of our belongings and shoehorned the rest into our rooms (JC has a room at her family’s home as well). A short while later, we were in Hong Kong.

After spending three weeks in Hong Kong and loving every minute of it, we decided that yes, we were making it official. We will move there at the end of August. The rest of the summer would be used to prepare for this life-changing event.

Then, a couple of life-changing events happened within weeks of each other. The health of JC’s family dog, Brutus Maximus, abruptly took a turn for the worse and we had to put him down. I saw my cousin for the first time since learning that he had stage-4 cancer. I saw him again a few weeks later, this time in worse condition than the previous. It was understood that we were seeing each other for the last time, since we would be flying soon. I’ll never forget seeing him walk into the elevator and the doors closing after we said goodbye…

All of these things happening reminded me of how short and fragile life really is. To be honest, I was traumatized. I wanted to take advantage of life and to not squander it. What if I died tomorrow? I would not be able to do the things I’ve wanted to do. At the time, I had an opportunity to do those things, to visit Tokyo and have JC show me around, to go to the British Museum in London, to visit a distillery in Scotland. We had some money saved up that we were going to use as our safety net in Hong Kong. We had time. Why not do a once-in-a-lifetime thing and see the world?

***

Now, three months later, I am back in my room inside my mother’s house. I have eaten ramen in Tokyo, I have seen the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum, I have sampled whisky at the Glenfiddich Distillery, and more. I am here because I made the choice to be here. It’s not like I’m bumming around with no direction in life and living at home. No, I have another opportunity now like I did back in August. I can do all the things I still want to do, like read my books and play my video games. I can spend quality, valuable time with my family. I have no time limit, no need to rush. Why not take advantage of it?

I feel better after reminding myself of why I’m here in the first place. It is true, I have been conditioned to follow a script and to automatically assume that only losers live at home in their 30s. If I don’t think, then the script takes over. But, remembering this and actually stopping to think, I find that living at home does not automatically make one a loser. Life isn’t always about doing what someone or some tradition tells you you should do. Living in the present is important as well. Being able to adapt, to stick and move. Life is so fragile. At any moment, it could end. Knowing this, I think doing what I want to do is better than doing what I should do.