Evolution (An excerpt from Ian Joseph’s White Book) 进化 (伊恩·约瑟夫的白皮书节选)

Before I had set out on a mission to rebuild my life three years ago, I must have been over 6K in debt. The duration of this rebuild has had its ups and downs, but the pay off has proven to be bittersweet. I’m now sitting on a solid foundation of money.

I currently have three monthly expenses: my cell phone bill, public transit commuting and a TESOL certification course which are all minimal expenses.

I live like I’m poor. I can afford to purchase my own car, but I don’t want one. I can get my own space closer to work, but what’s the point if I’m not staying for a long time.

As I sat at the kitchen table today and read the newspaper advertisements over a coffee, I noticed that there’s a lot of stuff that I can buy right now. Everything from nicer shoes, fancy watches, expensive colognes and a new backpack. But I don’t need these things. I looked through the flyers for an hour, and the only thing that got me out the door was Giant Tiger’s sale of ribbed tank tops for $3.00 a package. When my mom and sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday earlier this year, I told them to buy me a card. If you said to me that I had a month to live I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t buy or change anything.

What a weird predicament to be in with no want and no object of desire. A few years ago a buddy of mine told me “Sometimes it’s better to want something than to have it.” That holds more meaning to me now. The way I see it is like this, wanting something or someone puts you into an insecure state of mind that diverts you from the critical questions which reveal y[our] foolish characteristics. It distracts us from our existence.

It looks like the time is nearing for me to go international and hit the road once again. Many exciting experiences to come. However, without some mission or pursuit, it can be just as shallow to rack up new ventures like they are belt notches. What’s going to guide me to an honorable end? What will motivate me to get up when I fall? What will make me a better man?

Maybe having a serious committed relationship will do it. I can go to China, settle down with a local and consider having a child. That will keep me challenged for a while. For the majority of human civilization, having a child solved the mission dilemma.

But NO… I’d rather remain a single bachelor. Monogamy to me seems like early retirement from the best parts of life.

Do you know how when someone is sure to die they’re put into a hospice so that they are as relaxed as possible? I feel like I’m in life’s hospice. I’m just fucking around to amuse myself, wishing the hands of time weren’t against me. I’m nowhere near wealthy, but this must be how wealthy people feel.

I feel hollow. Not happy or sad, just hollow.

三年前我还没有来到中国,那是在我试图重建自己生活的时候,我的债务肯定不止6千。重建任务一直在起伏不定,但回报还算是苦乐参半。所幸我现在打下了一个坚实的资金基础。

我目前有三样稳定的月最低开销:手机账单,上下班通勤费用和一个TESOL(国际英语教师资格证)认证的费用。

我的日子过得看起来好像有点清贫。其实我完全有能力买辆自己的车,但我没兴趣。也可以搬到市区内离工作地点更近的地方,但我觉得没什么用——我又不是大部分时间都花在这上面。

就在我今天坐在餐桌旁喝着咖啡看报纸上的广告时,我意识到我可以买下很多上面的东西只要我愿意,像是帅气的球鞋、漂亮的手表、名贵的古龙香水或者一个新的运动背包,但我并不需要这些东西。我看了这些东西一个小时,只买了一件Giant Tiger(加拿大著名家居折扣店大老虎)上3美元一包的背心。今年早些时候我的妈妈和姐姐问我想要什么生日礼物,我告诉她们寄给我一张明信片就够了。我觉得就算有人突然对我说你只有一个月的寿命了,我也肯定不想买任何东西。

这种无欲无求的感觉是如此诡异。前些年曾有一个朋友对我说:有时候想要得到某样东西的过程比得到了它更美妙。我现在深刻理解了这句话。我对这个问题的看法是,渴望某样东西或某个人的这个过程把你置于一种不安全的状态,使你脱离那些揭露了我们愚蠢特征的批判问题,并让我们偏离自己的存在。

看来是时候重新上路,到外面的世界看看了,一定有许多令人兴奋的事情在等着我。然而,如果没有一些任务或目标,就好像没什么意义了,旅行也会变得肤浅。我想知道什么能引导我走向光荣的结局?什么能在我跌倒时激励我站起来?什么能让我变成更好的自己?

也许建立一段认真的忠诚的感情会帮我做到这些。或许我可以去中国,和一个当地女孩安定下来并且考虑生个孩子,这绝对会让我面临一段严峻的挑战。对于几乎所有人类文明种族来说,生个孩子就能解决这些任务的困境。

但对我来说不可能,我宁愿保持单身。对我来说婚姻就是坟墓,它让你在人生最好的阶段提前退休。

你知道垂死的人会发生什么吗,他们会被送进收容所,这样他们就能尽量的放松并享受余生。我觉得我好像就活在人生的收容所里,我只是在一直消遣自己,梦想着时间不会与我作对。尽管我并不富裕,但我想那些有钱人应该也是这种感受。

我感觉到很空虚,没有高兴也没伤心,只是无尽的空虚。

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