Thursday, January 24, 2008

What have the past 5 years meant to me?

I guess that's one of the things that I've been thinking about the past few days.

It's probably coming into very sharp focus because of my interview for UCSF Pharm school that's coming up. Like I mentioned before, it's a really eerie coincidence that it's happening 5 years to the exact time that my mom passed away. Try as I might, I can't seem to shake the weirdness of it all.

After going through my childhood where my life always teetered on religion vs. superstition, I've maintained my fence sitting by being agnostic. This hasn't certainly been helped by a lot of strange events that can't be explained by science, particularly around the time that my mom passed away (read past postings on my blog on this). It's easy to explain it away by sheer coincidence, and on the whole grand scheme of things, this opinion is right.

So why is it so hard to shake the coincidence of this interview with this anniversary?

In any event, it's made me think of what's happened the past 5 years to me since my mom passed away, which has been a lot. I remember hearing someone mention that one doesn't truly grow up until a parent dies, and when she did die, I suddenly felt like I was set free from my mom's expectations.

It also forced me to confront my past, and made me realize that if I was to ever truly move on with my future, I would have to make peace with the past. For too long, I had kept the past hidden, locked away from my psyche, though it always came up in my dealings with people, my inability to make decisions, my fear of hurting people without regard to my own feelings. I had painted my childhood as being pretty unhappy and miserable, and reconnecting with people who were with me during that time made me realize that it wasn't all bad: it was just what I chose to remember. In order to build the myth that I was strong and happy, I had to reinforce my own belief that I had survived a horrible childhood. And it was bad at times: histories of abuse etched in my mind and my body, for example. But it was also very good and memorable as well: finding kinship and solace with friends and family, especially when I was hurting; having a boyfriend in high school and the giddiness of first love; and seeing that the future is always filled with possibility.

Seventeen years later after graduating from high school, and five years after dealing with my mom's sudden death, and confronting the beginning of my body's transitioning into the mid-30s (with the beginning of my balding head *sigh*), I'm suddenly brought to this simple truth again: the future is always filled with possibility. The past can influence my decisions, but it's up to me to decide whether the lessons I learned in the past are for better or for worse. I've realized that the past 5 years have taught me, more than anything, that I can't just hide the past away. It's helped shape me into the man I am now, but that I always have choices in life, even when I think they don't exist.

Maybe that's why I'm so excited about applying and hopefully getting into pharmacy school: it represents the beginning of what I've always wanted to do. I just needed to convince myself that I was capable of doing it. Too bad it took so damn long. :)

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