Let's talk about my 24 years old.

24 years old, the prime of life.

I. Entering the City#

Like many others, after graduating, I followed the crowd and rushed into the big city, renting a house, finding a job, and gradually settling into life. Since the first 22 years of my life were spent in the muddy countryside, the novelty that the big city brought me was unprecedented.

  • First time taking the cool subway to work
  • First time seeing the city night view
  • First time being in a bustling commercial area
  • First time shopping at luxury stores...

In the early days of my arrival, I felt that I had integrated into this city very well. I would comment on urban development and cherish the beautiful scenery. But these were just products of excitement. Gradually, I started to calm down and reexamine my own heart. Can this city really keep me?

II. A Child from the Countryside#

People face different pressures at different stages of their lives.

When I was in primary school, my biggest pressure was how to avoid doing homework during summer and winter vacations. At that time, I would cleverly tear out a few pages from the middle to reduce the burden of doing exercises, to the point where I tore them so thin that I received a beating from my mother. When I was in junior high school, my biggest dream was to not go to class on Sunday afternoons. However, the reality was that because I never did my homework on Saturdays, I became the first person in the class to go to the classroom to make up for it every Sunday afternoon. When I was in high school, besides the intense preparation for the college entrance examination in my senior year, I didn't seem to have much pressure. It was a period when boys and girls were bursting with hormones, and my greatest joy was sitting in the back row and counting how many couples there were in the class. When I entered university, I started to consider my future. Work, love, starting a family, these issues weighed heavily on my shoulders like a mountain. I never wanted to share my pressure with others because everyone has different views on these issues at different ages. If I were to meet my younger self now, when I was struggling with how to avoid summer vacation homework and couldn't sleep or eat well, I would probably say, "It's nothing."

But for 10-year-old me, it was a big deal as if the sky was falling.

After graduating from university, I truly felt the gap in social class and the fear of my future. As mentioned earlier, the biggest feeling when I first arrived in the city was novelty, but after the novelty wore off, I felt more and more "powerless." I had heard before that housing prices in big cities were beyond reach, but I never had a deep concept of it until one afternoon when I had nothing to do and opened a housing app. I filtered the prices of the neighborhoods where I lived, and the cheapest one was 2.6 million RMB. It was a Sunday, and I stood by the window and looked at the magnificent steel forest, listening to the lonely murmurs of young people in the partitioned rooms who wanted to take root. I roughly calculated how many years I would have to struggle with my current income level, and when I reached about halfway, I turned off my phone.

I knew that this city couldn't keep me.

During the Chinese New Year, while watching the Spring Festival Gala with my family in my hometown, my mother told me that she had found a house in the county town for me and asked when I would get married.

I am really afraid of the future. Getting married means I have to return to the countryside where personal relationships are more important than anything else. I have to return to the small town that "imprisoned" me for 20 years. I dare not start a family and don't want to face the social interactions and family affairs after marriage. I know that this is really cowardly. I even secretly thought about becoming a father at some point after getting married. I glanced at my father sitting by the window, shaking his leg and watching Douyin, and I felt like a child. How could I be someone's father? I casually brushed off my mother's words and passed it off. After the New Year, when I returned to work again, I looked at the busy elevated highways and the brightly lit buildings at night. The sense of alienation from my hometown, which is full of rural atmosphere, made me want to stand at the crossroads and shout, "Fuck life!"

P.S. After one day of work, my parents called again, and after talking about family affairs, they mentioned the word "marriage" again. I listened silently to the endless chatter on the phone and once again brushed it off.

III. Where is the Road#

A few days ago, I was chatting with my roommate on WeChat, talking about life, work, and marriage. He casually told me that he had found a partner. I was shocked because once this person makes a move, it means he is about to settle down. He told me that he is getting older and it's time to consider what comes next.

After finishing this conversation, I sighed.

It turns out that everyone is really growing up under the pressure of time, and adults don't want to become adults.

I counted the current situations of my roommates from college:

  • A roommate with the last name Z has become a pioneer in marriage, getting married at a young age right after graduation.
  • A roommate with the last name W has fallen in love and plans to return to his hometown.
  • A roommate with the last name Y is following his parents' arrangements and has a promising future.
  • A roommate with the last name N has disappeared without a trace.
  • Another roommate with the last name Z has entered the deep mountains and forests to study programming.

And me, I am lost in these countless office buildings, searching for the answers to life. If my life is an exam paper, I don't know at which moment God will tell me the correct answer.

IV. Dreamer? OR Fantasizer?#

Although my writing skills have declined significantly since graduating from high school, I still enjoy writing. I have taken many pictures of mountains, rivers, cats, and dogs with my phone. I have planned many times to list them separately, either as a life manual or a travel diary. But because of the many trivial things in life, I have postponed them one by one. I hope that while I am young, I can broaden my horizons. Although the most likely outcome in the future is to return to the county town, to Henan, and continue the glorious "Henan hukou," I don't want to become a person with a strong "county flavor"==1==.

Here, I would like to quote Li Bai's poem "Drinking Alone with the Moon" to express my current state of mind.

Have you not seen the waters of the Yellow River coming from heaven, rushing to the sea, never to return?
Have you not seen the bright mirror in the high hall, mourning the white hair, as the morning turns to snow?
Life is short, so enjoy it to the fullest. Don't let the golden goblet be empty when facing the moon.
I am naturally talented and will surely make a comeback even after losing all my wealth. 2
Cooking lambs and slaughtering cows are all joys. Let's have a drink of three hundred cups.
Cen, the master, and Danqiu, the young man, let's drink without stopping.
Singing a song with you, please lend me your ears.
The sound of bells and drums and the fragrance of jade are not worth much. I just hope to be drunk forever.
Throughout history, the wise and virtuous have all been lonely. Only those who drink are remembered.
In the past, King Chen enjoyed a feast in Pingle. Ten thousand cups of wine were enjoyed in jest.
Why talk about money, my host? Just buy and pour wine for me.
Five horses and a thousand gold pieces for a fur coat. Call the boy and bring me good wine. Let's drink away our worries together.


==Singing a song with you, please lend me your ears.==

Thank you for reading this far and being willing to listen to my nonsense and rambling. Thank you.

This article is also updated on xLog by Mix Space.
The original link is https://www.xiaozhengyang.com/posts/essay/24.html


  1. I'm sorry to make everyone laugh. I'm not a very arrogant person, and this is not a random criticism. Here, "county flavor" refers to the common sarcastic and cynical people in small towns.

  2. A very ambitious statement.

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