Sunday, January 10, 2010

Viet used to be too young to live

Here's your special guest writer, Viet Nguyen, dutifully informing us of what year it currently is before talking about the year it just was.

"Most of my life I’ve felt like I was too young to live life. I felt as though I didn’t have any stories to tell or experiences to purge or loosely hold on to in vain. At some point over the years, I’ve slowly transitioned from my eager and dissatisfied self, to a self-aware version of imperfection. I’m pretty apathetic about that. The things I cared about in 2009 are a bit less evolved than the important things in my life today. Does that zit on my chin really matter? Do I really need to tweeze my eyebrows when I have awesome bangs? Why do I have to choose between the egg and the chicken when there’s possibly another dimension?

In 2009, I transitioned from a work environment where I was the youngest and brightest star in the sky to a “non-traditional” student in a competitive academic environment where I am one of the oldest with an arsenal of experiences and stories for a rainy day. I was a stereotypical graduate from a Master’s program at one of the top public schools in the country with an expensive degree that didn’t serve me well in this fumbling “economy.” Using a vague term that encompasses so many causes and consequences is a bit disheartening for me, but it explains a lot. It explained why I moved back in with my parents after living alone for 6 years. It explained why a significant amount of people I knew got laid off. It explained why I was working a shit job where I was smarter than my supervisors and couldn’t say anything about it, which nearly killed me.

But when I look back at this incredibly long year, I am grateful for everything. I’ll be quite honest here and go ahead and say I didn’t learn very much. I probably didn’t mature very much. And I probably didn’t overcome very much. Maybe that all happened in 2008; I’m not sure since I reset my memory. All I know is that 2009 began with me vomiting in footie pajamas on the 10 free way because my then boyfriend farted out a stomach gurgling stench (and I was really drunk). And it ended in San Francisco, with my now fiancé vomiting cashew-like chunks on a quiet street in Glen Park (he wasn’t really drunk). That’s right, ladies - I’m going to marry that guy. Read ‘em and weep.

But in all seriousness, in the 363 days in between, I had many rough moments that can be misinterpreted as depression. I wouldn’t deem it clinical depression, especially since those moments could be cured with a bottle of wine - hey, I’m almost a doctor. I look at those moments as being sad. And I am pretty apathetic about that. I was sad, I traveled, I grieved, I cooked, I enjoyed myself, I was happy, I was bored, and I was plenty anxious. I enjoyed my dear friends. I grew further apart from my parents. I was honest with myself. I downsized. I upgraded. I started medical school. I QUIT MY JOB.

I’m planning a future.

I used to be in this hurry to live life so I can have all these amazing stories to tell every stranger I met during the course of my life. Now that I have a few stories to tell, they are no longer reserved for the next acquaintance I meet. They are for me. And the older I get, the more movie-like this all seems. Maybe I’m starting to live in a screenwriter’s fictional world. It’s probably just coincidence. In either case, thank you in advance, 2010. And just like my good buddy, Zuhair, I’ve got a good feeling about you too.

/end cliché"

Viet Nguyen is a med student in Riverside, CA. Her hobbies include all sorts of things she likes doing. She secretly tweets @nguyenthuyviet. Check out her (unfortunately defunct) blog, 100 Ideas.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style