The life game
I grew up in an average family in the deepest part of China. Like millions of others from the same region, I studied all my way up by competing with my peers, going to better schools, a top university, a better city, and constantly fighting to see a bigger world beyond what we inherit. For decades, being at the top of the group was all I knew how to play life, and I have never failed that.
Yes, I shall be grateful to be born in an era where education is available for girls, and society is not so corrupted that kids from ordinary families can still make a difference. At home, I was perceived as "the capable kid who had made it out from home." But I knew very well the scars it created on me, that I was programmed by this "Value of relativity".
This is a concept I learned recently, meaning if I can be more capable than you, or better at something than you, I would assume myself to be more loved, witnessed, and perceived "more successful" than you under the societal lens.
Many people have been playing this game their whole lives. But not all of us have asked the following up question: "So what? What's the ultimate value after being better than others?"
It's like drinking the blue pill from Matrix. As long as everyone around us had drunk that pill, what a perfect world. The reality tho, is that we might all be stuck inside a small circle, busy turning around without knowing why, and it seems okay because everyone else is doing the same anyway.
It takes real guts for someone to start questioning and dares to rub at the edges and realize there is no circle. That we are all kidnapped by our connected, timid minds. And we, ourselves, might be the one being the most self hatred for being different.
If we can somehow agree, that life is an adventure, people are different, it's not hard to realize how ridiculous it is to put all of us on the same road leading to conceptually somewhere. We need alternatives, explored through our own steps, that can bring us closer to our inner selves, and make the journey worth going.
Life is not a competition. There are no boarders. Whatever brings us the growth of evolvement, the sensitivity of being alive, we shall cherish it, and call it a life worth living.
Our society is odd. On the outside, we like success stories of people living life their own way. From the inside, people are pretty harsh on the ones trying to make a step out and try to be different. As someone who has gone through the pain myself, I would understand why stepping out of the circle is not for everyone.
It would be a better world if more of us to not put our self-esteem on the value of relativity, but find our own answers to what we are living for. That life is absurd, there are no rules, and this contrast between the absurdity of life and the passion man has, is our drive for life, the color of our human souls, and the energy and art behind every breath we take.
Before I joined Web3, as an architect, I designed the last interior which is a cafe called Gathering. During the design process, I hit a really difficult challenge: there was this massive column in the middle of the hall, and I had to fit a lot of tables to fulfill the client's business goals.
I did many versions of layouts. I tried to allocate small tables around it and even cover it with fancy materials and plants to make it more invisible, but nothing stood out convincing. One day, I realized it was because I rejected the column internally, that it was not welcomed and a problem, not an opportunity.
"Instead of being shy about it, why not celebrate it? " That was a hit one day. I immediately drew the design all over with the column being the hero of the space, co-existing with a 4-meter-long table for people to gather around it. It's like a true gathering space with the column being the pavilion and connection of every corner.
It got built out. The huge bet turned into a huge success. Local communities loved it, clients doing great business, and the cafe was so popular that even brands like Prada came to negotiate its usage for a weekend with ridiculous offerings to showcase their new season.
This might seem off the topic today, but the column in the room for me is like our true selves within society, or the elephant in the room. We all know it exists, but it's hard to be in harmony with it, or undoubtfully nurture it into something meaningful.
“Celebrate it, don't hide it." If you're standing at the crossroads, take the lane your heart is whispering, and I guarantee, you'll find bonding souls along the way.