adolescence and identity

was back at brunch bowl today. i hummed the opening notes to "little blue girl" (which i received from crystal some time ago) because it was stuck in my head. they're the notes to good king wenceslas, which is why they're so catchy. so i was humming and jonathan hummed back. "are you just copying what i'm humming or do you really know what i'm singing?" "course i do, it's good king wenceslas."

it's amazing when 2 people are thinking the same thing. contribution of art and culture. of course it begs the question of whether one actually needs to think to hum.

well, it was basically the same configuration as all the other days. i received a mail from my sister too who is thinking what to do with life. it's amazing that she's thinking about universities and everything given that she is a good 3 and a half years younger than i am. but �a y est. that's how things work. but i had an enforced 2.5 year gap year of sorts, and she's having to grapple with many issues that face (faced) the typical adolescent.

she is a good writer. a bit too dark for my tastes, but i think writing is what she really enjoys and is something that runs through the family. especially since she was brought up on my leftover books plus whatever she has the curiosity to read. and louis armstrong's truism applies here. "they'll learn much more, than i'll ever know."

it's the same questions. should i study english? should i study sociology? or mass comm? law? at the same time a vague dissatisfaction running through how stressful life in singapore is, a dissatisfaction with being in multiple ccas (but staying in them anyway), the "i am a car but i am running on empty" syndrome that our young bodies are regularly subjected to. and through it all a sense of identity (i am a good writer. i am not a conventional run of the mill person. what a mugger (implication, i am not a mugger)).

they may very well be questions i am facing now. except they may be different ones. should i write in my free time? should i even bother going out, or take part in more activities? where should i further my studies? should i do more math?

but i think the moment you define yourself too strongly, you pigeonhole yourself. there are so many reasons why people do things, and why people have to. i think you can't judge them nor can you blame them for making life stressful or whatever it is. because you can and you should opt out if you can't take it anymore, or look for a feasible alternative. maybe you need to be crazy and hate everyone to believe in yourself to be successful. but maybe there is another way. if you need to, take a gap year. relax. look for what you want to do (but pls look and not slack away the whole year).

here is a quote from mathematician turned writer (well, turned is the wrong word he was always still a mathematician), bertrand russell.

"in adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered what were the things that I most desired and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire . . . as essentially unattainable. But very largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself . . . . I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external objects."

well, i hope he doesn't mean external in the sense of being overtly materialistic. maybe it's people to love or just observing things in life. but you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself to look for the answer "within you". literally, smell the birds and the bees. eh, but of course easy to say lah in the end knn lan lan must study still aiyah wtf. but fuck up then fuck up lah. maybe fate is trying to lead you down a different path. (oh sorry, stop believing in fate! you can change things).

oh my god i hate being preachy. it makes things seem like all is well with my life. but with a bit of humour you can get a lot of places. but, i must learn to be more coherent with my moral philosophies sometime. cannot talk too much cock.

and if you're too pissed off, there's always jazz.


mich said...

is your sis '87 or '88?

i rmbr being all about identity when i was in jc ... i wonder if the change was brought on by time or just by simply getting out of jc.

i think it's the very social env there ... for one thing you define yourself in opposition to other people. for another, in any culture your identity is outlined by others on your behalf.

here everyone's from everywhere so like 70% of the social signals get lost in translation.

haha i don't know if this is even related to your post!

i wonder why identity is so impt that everyone seems to have to go through this period of being centred on it ... esp when you need to put it aside eventually

Jesse said...

my sis is '88. but jan baby. miss by a bit can be '87.

i don't think identity used to be so important. but i don't want to be an amateur psychologist/sociologist. but it doesn't help when you have films like american beauty from which i remembered the line, "the worst thing in life is to be ordinary." coming from mena suvari who was the run of the mill cheerleader in the show anyway, it was laughable.

at one fell swoop ordinariness is condemned. there is no honour in being the toll collector or for gods sakes even the bankside chef. maybe that's why our food is so mediocre.

mich said...

hmm. america, singapore. maybe it's meritocracy's fault. if you're free to prove yourself it pretty much means you're forced to. and one way to do that is to stand out

Jesse said...

yep. well maybe some people would say it sure beats socialism.