It’s been two weeks since the second shot; I’m now fully vaccinated. Strangely, part of me still wants to hide from the virus. I have to remind myself that COVID will just be like the flu for me; it shouldn’t stop my life. This is the first time I socialized in over a year. We were still outside, but, given the nice weather, we preferred outdoor dining anyway. It was Kate’s birthday, but the center of attention was her baby.
Before I had my own child, seeing my friends have babies felt like sending them off to a foreign land on a ship. Now, it’s the opposite; seeing them arrive at the port of my country.
When you have a child, you focus less on yourself. Strangely, it’s a relief not to have to think so much about yourself. Kate is decidedly less manicured than she used to be, but she has a certain glow that makes up for it. Another way to put it is that now a part of yourself exists outside, so your energy towards yourself can be directed outward. Instead of talking to yourself, now you can talk to someone else about yourself. It’s very much like the process of making art where you externalize what is inside so that you can see yourself better. When you are absorbed in this process, you don’t care how you look yourself; it’s all about the object you are externalizing. I think this is why both parents and fine artists can seem self-absorbed. They are mesmerized by their own image.
My wife and I will be shipping our kid off to college in a few years. As she begins her internal battle of identity, we’ll be entering the next phase without an externalized self, but our internal battle won’t be the same as our daughter’s. It would be a battle to end the battles.
Fighting, whether an enemy nation or a pandemic, gives us a concrete meaning in our lives; therefore, towards the end, we can feel existential angst. It seems that we humans cannot live without fighting something.
When we laugh with someone, as opposed to at someone, we sit on the same side of the table. Likewise, an enemy is not necessary for a fight. This is why, I believe, those who fought in real wars are more interested in fighting to keep the peace.
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