…In a parked car next to a playground on one of those foggy winter nights. One of my friends pulled the song up on Spotify, saying that one of her friends had introduced it to her, and I listened to it for the first time despite having heard it already. There’s was a sort of vulnerability in those moments, sharing a sense of disappointment when your life didn’t match the glamour you thought you would have. Something about those breathy nights that seem to have lost its glitter. Gone are the days when I would wait in my driveway as my friend would pull up in a 2005 Toyota Corolla. I don’t expect that I’ll be able to reclaim that surbuban romanticism again, at least not as a adolescent.

There’s a part of me that wants to reclaim this vulnerability but another part of me that wants to move past it all. It’s rare to get caught up in your feelings nowadays. There was a time in my life when I had a strong desire to make friends, and I wasn’t selective with who I spend my time with. My behavior led me to feel sad a lot, but it was the sort of sadness that flushed my life full of emotion, regardless of whether it was positive or negative emotion. Now that I’ve become more mature, I’m more aware of the difficulties of making meaningful connection, and I’m less inclined to sacrifice my mental health to adopt the same attitude. Experiences that were intense at one point become more mundane, and we seek new experiences with new people to replace our fading feelings of intimacy and intensity.

I remember when I smoked at the Belmont plat, it was a pretty memorable experience. The first time I traveled with someone I had a crush on was also a pretty memorable experience. The first time I made out with someone in the backseat of my mom’s Honda Accord was a pretty memorable experience. The novelty of those experiences was quite overwhelming, and I don’t think I was aware of how intense those experiences were until I compare them to the boring reality of adult life. But now that my experiences have become more mundane, I reflect on these experiences fondly because it proves to me that my life wasn’t always filled with routine. I always thought that I didn’t fully take advantage of my youth, but thinking back to some of my more memorable moments, I realize that I probably gave myself too little credit. I did things, and it’s the desire to keep doing things that continuously drive me to live a life filled with experiences.

I think I’ve changed for the better, but I also think my current self is a more hollowed out version of my former self. The underlying systems of governance are still the same, but I feel things less strongly than before. Heartbreak used to kill me, but now it’s just a mild inconvenience I could just vent out by running and singing. This life I have is almost unrecognizable to my former self. I used to make fun of people for owning Airpods. Back then, there was something about Airpods I found extremely aesthetically displeasing. In college, I used to pride myself in owning a Thinkpad when everyone else owned a Mac. But today, after my Thinkpad gave out for seemingly no reason, I bought a Mac for the first time. Now, I’ve become the person I used to make fun of. I own an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Macbook Pro, and Airpods.

Life moves so quickly. Before you realize it, you become someone you thought you would never become, like how I was when I started to use Apple products. I’m not sure if this is the life I signed up for, but I’m not entirely convinced that it is not the life I signed up for either. This life is a product of my choices and my limitations. There were things I was able to control and things I was not able to control. I continue to live to the best of my ability, understanding that not all of my choices are going to work out for the better. Eventually, these choices will cause me to change. Eventually, enough change will come to the point where I won’t notice that the person making the choices has changed.

A part of me just wants to speedrun life — move to Greenwich, have kids, and call it a day. Another part of me wants to be a digital nomad for a year or two. The dilemma has always been the same since high school and college — security or novelty — but the calculus has evolved to include a stronger sense of responsibility and risk-aversion. The window for making mistakes has closed, and every action requires diligent risk management. I’m not able to indulge in moments of emotional turblence and a frantic desire to prove myself. Everything requires more planning now. Even when I decide to take risks, it’s a part of a plan. Whatever the case, the progression of my life is inevitable. In due time, reflection is all I have left.

I don’t know if Greenwich would offer me the happiness I am looking for, but being young has been causing me a lot of pain lately, and Greenwich seems like the last place a young person would want to be. I need to get away from all the young people in the world because I don’t want to be reminded how I don’t feel the way I once did. I wish life was more intense, but it’s harder and harder to replicate those same moments of intensity. Maybe I should leave everything I have behind and embrace some radical uncertainty. I don’t know if I would want that though. Why has it come to the point where I need to sacrifice anything to feel something?

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