When I wrote down 2023, I realized that 2023 had already passed. When I look back on 2023, I feel like I’ve done nothing and yet, also feel utterly helpless.
The entire 2023 was a year when I totally lost my desire to express myself. My JiKe, Weibo, WeChat Moments were almost all in a state of stopping or semi-stopping updates. Whenever I wanted to record something, I typed a lot of characters and then deleted them one by one.
As age increases, desire grows, but abilities do not. On my birthday, Alipay popped up a happy birthday message for me. I felt time was flying by and felt empty about this year. Most of life’s rage comes from one’s own incompetence and the inability to satisfy desires. Among them, the remarkable achievements of my peers on social media and the internet also bring me feelings of jealousy.
The dreams of youth are fading away. The contradiction between the desire to change the world and my own life situation leaves me at a loss.
Is it possible that work is actually meant to liberate you earlier rather than make you a top performer?
During my past career, I’ve always considered myself in a rather inferior position, viewing my relationship with the company as unequal. The company provided me with work and salary, and I simply exchanged my labor for it, but the bargaining power has always been on the company’s side.
However, in reality, I am the master of my work. Even though finding a job is not easy these days, it is necessary to establish my own work attitude. Work is just a part of life, and the relationship with the company is merely a matter of labor dispatch. There’s no need to involve personal emotions in it.
My first job in the US paid just a few thousand dollars. At that time, I thought the company was in trouble, and I wasn’t living up to my potential within the company. I felt grateful that the company accepted an immature me. But after I quit, I realized that my salary was the lowest in the whole company. The system I independently established played an irreplaceable role in the company two years after I left. The company took advantage of the information asymmetry, confusing my development plans in the United States. I chose to return to China earlier, which made me always feel like I was not capable of entering a larger company, and thus I took a long detour.
Nowadays, I work independently, hoping to level up within the company all the way to P7, P8. I follow the established growth path in the company. The biggest feeling I had this year was being lost, lost in my job. I am desperate to build a successful image of myself as a hard worker. I get up early and stay up late, fearing that I am the least diligent person on the team. Through this process, I lost my original self.
Looking back on this year, I don’t recall a complete person, but merely a working individual. This person isn’t real, just a cold, mechanical working machine, lacking vitality and energy, something distasteful to me.
Life is like a gift.
Perhaps I have maintained this work status for several years, but I did not feel it. In the past, I really couldn’t understand why people need to balance life and work. Maybe a monotonous life won’t cause any impact for an individual. But, as a husband and father, I am different now.
First, I would like to express my gratitude to my wife. she took me to music festivals, concerts, and often buys flowers and fruits. As a straight-laced man, I didn’t have much desire for the taste of life. It was my wife who infused our home with the aroma of life.
Second, I’m grateful for my son whose arrival has added concern to my life, ending the previous state of being alone and full with no worries about the whole family. At work, I’ll miss about my son, allowing me to timely switch from work mode. He is a gift from heaven.
我以一声父母为由，向他们无尽索取；他们以一声儿子为枷锁，向我无尽付出。Looking at my wife, I think about how my parents were like us in the past, undergoing layers of changes through the baptism of time. When I was young, I always thought parents are parents, and I am their son from the very beginning, never knowing what they looked like when they were young.
Since I became a parent myself, the time spent with my parents has become less and less, one phone call a week, and it’s often them who called me. When I come across filial piety videos on TikTok, my face is filled with tears. Sometimes, I would feel an inexplicable palpitation, anxious to know if they are well.
2023 was a year of letting go for me, without grand narratives or methodologies, just focusing on the immediate present. Also, it was a year of disconnecting with the world, between home and office, waking up in a daze, falling asleep in confusion, life was not as glamorous or colorful as it may appear.
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