Do you know the meme of ‘What my friends think I do’, ‘What my family thinks I do’, ‘What I think I do’, and ‘What I actually do’?
It’s usually funny but sarcastically accurate at the same time.
Last Saturday, I was invited by some high school friends to a Christmas reunion dinner. Some of them I meet on regular basis, some of them not. I haven’t met one for a year, another since our graduation way back when. It was good to catch up, and of course, being so long apart without knowing each other’s ‘life status’, we begin by asking the obvious: What are you up to?
Nothing, I said. I am enjoying life as a tai tai* before actually being married.
Laughter would follow, along with a variation of the sentence, ‘Such a good life! It’s so nice!’ Then they’d ask me to elaborate, and I’d say, Nothing, just doing wedding prep, enjoying time with family and babysitting my niece and nephew.
‘Really? Until when?’ they asked.
Until I’m being tai tai for real, I said with a laugh.
Before plunging into this season of having no responsibility, I imagined myself doing everything I love doing and trying those stuffs that I want to do but never gotten the chance yet. I never actually thought that I’d have another ‘gap year’, and at times the idea doesn’t sit well with me. Well, I used to be ambitious. Now, I’m just lazy. It’s really much, much easier to just sit on the couch and browse the net.
So if I can draw a meme about myself—The Tai Tai Before Marriage—it would look something like this:
What my family thinks I do: Sleeping in then wake up only to ask Mom what’s for lunch that night. [Somewhat true. I haven’t touched the kitchen since I’m back sleeping in my parents’ house.]
What my friends think I do: Having a creambath and getting my nails painted every two weeks; shopping and gossiping with friends on a weekday lunch at a fancy brunch place. [Somewhat not true. Oh wait, I did get a manicure last week…]
What I think I do: Doing something useful with my life, such as reading more books and writing more stories and having deep, honest conversation about life with my family. [Erm, somewhat true?]
What I actually do: Binge-watching old movies and battling to get my almost three-year-old nephew to sleep. [Ding ding ding! We’ve got a winner.]
If my second sister is still living with me now, she would scold me every time she goes home from work, telling me she can’t stand watching me wasting time, and hiding the TV remote.
And my friends? Well, I believe they’re all doing something useful with their lives. At the very least, they are all working. (My occupation at the moment: Full-time daughter, part-time babysitter.) Some totally love what they’re doing; some are okay with what they’re doing; others are on the path of loving what they want to be doing.
They have some sort of goals in their lives. I haven’t had one since I graduated my Master’s.
And not being able to cross anything on any list makes me feel lost. Doing nothing is fun for the first couple of months, and during those months I’m doing wedding planning anyway, so I’m not really not doing nothing. Plus, I have one long-term project that I’m still waiting for the other party to give me an update, while resisting the urge to send a friendly but eager email every couple of days or so. I do have a plan for another project, but I can’t find the will to start that just yet.
So I’d settle on a shorter, easier goal: My reading challenge. I’ve pledged to read 40 books in 2016, and I’m six books short. There are still three-ish weeks left, so I’d focus on that.
Happy December everyone. Don’t worry, there is still time to change your ‘what you think you do’ into ‘what you actually do’.
*Tai tai is a Chinese colloquial term for a wife that lives a hedonic life and does not work. [Marcella’s dictionary]
Photo is used with Creative Commons Zero license.