New Year

Zhang Sanjian is back 2023-03-18 00:00 


Unknowingly, another year has passed. When I was young, I always counted the days eagerly, waiting for the hands of the clock to tick faster. I looked forward to the summer vacations with field loaches and crayfish, yearned for my first journey as a college student, and aspired to be like the adults I once looked up to. 

 Later, time flew by uncontrollably, and the pause button of growth seemed to be broken, unable to stop once pressed. I can’t remember what prompted me to pick up the guitar, nor can I recall when I started sitting in front of the computer, typing to share memories and insights with everyone periodically. It’s less of a habit and more like a form of solace – time rushes by too quickly for us to record and reminisce. Filled with countless electronic messages every day, we occasionally need to clear our thoughts and emotions. Writing is like searching for a root to lean on, allowing memories to have a trace to follow, warming and spreading through the grooves of the brain.

Words are fascinating. They always create different chemical reactions depending on the context and medium through which they are conveyed. Sometimes, they may seem cold in chat boxes, but here, they always feel warm and full. This article was supposed to emerge during the New Year period. Since it’s coming late, I assume everyone would not mind sparing the belated blessings in such lovely spring weather. So, once again, I wish all the readers a Happy New Year, abundant wealth, peace and happiness, and health and joy.

Speaking of which, I caught COVID-19 just before the New Year. Although the symptoms were not severe, they fully fed the laziness in me. During the illness, my consciousness was foggy. Not only did my brain seem precisely switched ‘OFF,’ but even my usually restless limbs lost their vitality. Basketball, baseball, rugby, golfing on green lawns, or skiing on snowy slopes, everything turned into a blur. Moreover, with the weather getting colder, the most comfortable state was to lie on the sofa under a blanket. What goes best with such a posture? Of course, binge-watching a TV series.

I used to watch this series occasionally while running and always wanted to catch up on it. But piecing together complete time in today’s fast-paced life is harder than Luffy not snoring at night. Now, with plenty of free time at hand, it’s easy to binge-watch five seasons in one go.”

The film’s plot is captivating, and every actor delivers a superb performance, endowing their characters with unique charm. Particularly, the male protagonist’s image and distinct character are both righteous and evil, bordering on madness. His personality is cold-blooded, as if everything in this world is a transaction. There is no affection, no faith, even his wife of thirty years is just a pawn in his game. He craves power and control, ruthlessly removing any obstacles in his way. Such a character setting is like a clash of deep-rooted coldness and intense burning passion, illuminating vitality through self-destruction, realistic yet severe, cruel and sorrowful.

I had this strange feeling that his worldview and values invaded my reality, with a strong magnetic field affecting me. I wondered if I should handle problems following his approach, if I should become someone like him—he seems right, that’s how he succeeded, he is the strong one… Yet, I remember what a teacher once said: ‘Actors are the wizards of our era.’ Maybe I lost myself in his world, but looking back, that’s not me, nor will it ever be. Maybe because he and I have completely different personalities, the mirror is destined to shatter one day. The weather warmed up, the sun shone brightly, the drama ended, like waking up from a pleasant afternoon dream.

The power of an excellent work and a great actor is so immense, it even bewitched me, a ‘wizard’ myself. But a play is just a play. You are you, the protagonist of your own life’s drama—plot, dialogue, story, we need to write and perform them ourselves. Others’ stories are just like sand under the stars, passing far away from the southern bay, leaving no footprints.

After recovering, following medical advice, I reduced my exercise even more, ‘Hand in hand, one step, two steps, three steps, four steps looking at the sky, bowing my head one day, two days, ten days, twenty days, watching the lifebuoy grow one day at a time…’ (and it even rhymes ?), the plan to resume exercising is immediately on the agenda.”

At first, I ran at home for half an hour for several days in a row, which gave me a new understanding of ‘persistence.’ The first day of resuming exercise was exceptionally difficult. It’s hard to develop a good habit of exercising, but picking it up again after stopping for a month is even harder than making cola lose its fizz. Broadly speaking, it’s about having the courage to start over and persist.

To be honest, I’ve never paused my exercise routine for so long. Just ten minutes into stretching, I felt exhausted and had to look out the window to distract myself – my first tactic for maintaining focus. When I got tired of the scenery, I turned to watching interesting TV shows and reciting English words, and thus twenty minutes passed. When the scenery became barren and the TV series dim, I started to swing my arms vigorously, as if more powerful arm movements made my body feel lighter. Then, my biceps felt the strain, my calf muscles tightened, my quadriceps surged with blood, and finally, it felt like even my hair was helping out. At last, I achieved the ‘small’ goal of exercising for half an hour. As soon as the time was up, my concentration collapsed, and I almost couldn’t stand steady. Never underestimate a virus; though small like a flea, it can be equally troublesome.

Therefore, persistence is a belief, a presence that ignites your inner potential. When your legs are tired, your arms help, your back helps, your brain helps, and you mobilize all your body’s energy to assist you in persisting. The prerequisite is having a clear goal and knowing where you’re heading. This is probably the power of the heart. When you strive to the limit, firm belief surpasses everything. It’s not just your body’s potential that helps you; water can wear away stone, waves can crash against the shore, and success will naturally come. It’s like reaching the deepest valley – there’s always an uphill ahead. After enduring a harsh winter, spring must come, as the saying goes, ‘Continuous effort brings endless results, and hard work eventually pays off.'”

(Image sources: Internet)


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