The most important thing to a lot of people, is to belong to something that's hip or whatever. To be a part of something that's not society, just a clique. And they get real sidetracked trying to think like everyone else. They don't realize that you have to motivate yourself to do things you want to do. Some people just like going along for the ride. And those are the kind of people I don't get along with too well.
I don't know," I said. "What else did you do for your first eighteen years?" "Like I said," he said as I unlocked the car, "I'm not so sure that you should go by my example." "Why not?" "Because I have my regrets," he said. "Also, I'm a guy. And guys do different stuff." "Like ride bikes?" I said. "No," he replied. "Like have food fights. And break stuff. And set off firecrackers on people's front porches. And..." "Girls can't set off firecrackers on people's front porches?" "They can," he said... "But they're smart enough not to. That's the difference.
It has been my experience that most human stories are circular rather than linear. Regardless of the path we choose, we somehow end up where we commenced - in part, I suspect, because the child who lives in us goes along for the ride.
The 'coming of the Self' is an apocalypse for the ego, the 'you' that wants to hang along for the ride. It may be that the only way to survive the Apocalypse is to undergo it, first, within your own being.
Everyone laughed, and just like that, the conversation shifted, jumping to another topic. It was fast and furious, the talking, the emotions, the back-and-forth and forth-and-back. I realized that if I tried to focus on it too much, I got overwhelmed. So I just decided to relax into it, bumpy and crazy as it might be, and try for once to just go along for the ride.
Alan Paul plunges into Chinese life and takes us along for the ride, through vegetable markets, used-car lots, Taoist temples, divey bars, and a beachside music festival before thousands of cheering fans. He conveys the thrills and challenges of living abroad, the confusions and regrets, and most of all the opportunity to become the person we always hoped to be.