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不要问我从哪里来 Sense of Belonging


  In my 20's, I was always 1)craving to “2)hang out”. After work, I would go straight to my friend Nadav's apartment and spend a whole evening hanging out with other friends who 3)commuted to Nadav's every night. We would watch TV or play video games while 4)bingeing on beers. Nothing productive. Nothing constructive. We just sat around watching the clock go around and around. Now I think back, it seems wasteful, but I don't regret it. Our 20's are, in many ways, about a sense of belonging. Part of the process of defining who you are is to find where you belong. It is ironic that after spending a whole decade trying to find your identity by struggling to belong somewhere, you find that to know who you truly are is to know that you don't really belong anywhere. That is, you are you; any differences or similarities that you see are only in your head. Anyone can be similar to you or different from you depending on which aspects you focus on.
不要问我从哪里来 Sense of Belonging  20岁时,我总渴望着跟朋友“混在一起玩儿”。下班后,我都会直接到我朋友纳达夫的公寓和其他到他那儿过夜的朋友玩上一整夜。我们会一边狂饮啤酒,一边看电视或玩电子游戏。没什么“营养”,也没什么建设性可言。我们只是随便坐着,看着时针走了一圈又一圈。现在回想起当时,这一切好像是浪费时间,但我不后悔。从很多方面来说,我们的20岁,是寻找归属感的年龄。这个自我定义的过程离不开你找寻自己的归属地。讽刺的是,花了整整十年的时间苦苦扎堆结派追寻自我归属感,却发现,要真正了解你归属何方就是了解到你其实不属于任何地方。也就是说,你就是你,任何你看到的不同或是相同其实只是存在于你头脑之中。任何人都可以与你相去咫尺或相去天渊,只是你随你关注的方面而定。 
  A sense of belonging is a cause of many problems in the world. Some people spend their whole lives struggling to find a place to belong to, whether it is religion, nation, culture, or race. In many cases, the things that create the sense of belonging are negative aspects of being human, such as drug addiction, 5)alcoholism, racism, and mental/physical 6)affliction. They tend to strengthen the sense of belonging. In a way, they have 7)recourse in the very thing that they criticize.
  Belonging is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you want to belong because you feel lonely, so you seek out others who share certain similarities, but on the other, you don't want to be 8)categorized and 9)generalized. You conveniently switch your position depending on a merit. 10)You want to eat your cake and have it too.
  When I say I'm neither American nor Japanese, people commonly respond to this by saying that I'm a real American now, and therefore should not feel lonely. Some people go as far as to tell me that what makes this country great is its willingness to accept people like me. 11)Be that as it may, they are assuming that I want to belong, especially to America since it is where I live now, but I don't care to belong to any particular country. This is not to say that I never feel lonely or insecure. Loneliness is a natural feeling. So is insecurity. We all feel it from time to time, but that does not mean that it needs to be fixed. We have a mechanical tendency to try to fix everything negative, but not every negative thing needs to be fixed. Science and technology have blown up our egos to the point that we feel there is a solution for everything negative, that we have no reason to feel anything negative, that we can do away with every negative feeling. When I see these people who are constantly running around trying to fix their negative feelings, I feel like telling them to calm down, that it is only on TV and in Hollywood movies that people attain eternal bliss, that it is perfectly normal to be feeling what they are feeling, and that they should stop fixing everything. Ironically most of these people are busy fixing unfixable problems, and don't even try to fix fixable problems.

  Life has a funny way of teaching us its 12)essences. Often it is our own struggles that make us struggle. Eventually we realize that the 13)footprints of the 14)crook that we have been chasing are our own. Only by stepping back and examining our own behaviors, can we see the big circle that we were going around and around. In my 20's, that is all I did. Around and around, until I realized that the pursuit of the sense of belonging was what was making me feel lonely and insecure.