A letter to a reader named Alex

I was reading some of the comments on my blog when this comment from a reader named Alex, a fifteen year old girl, caught my attention. This post for Going Against the Current will be my response to what she has written:

i just had this long letter, but i deleted it. we all feel miserable at times and we will die someday on a planet that is one of billions, but even if there are bigger purpesses out there, even if… then why would there be an us if there were no point for one?
maybe we are just a marble (haha–MIB) among many and even though our lives may not have all that much of a point they have all the point in everywere. we need to keep this earth alive– that  is what we should make our purpose, because if we continue thinking like this, if we continue doing what we are doing; uncotiously plannig our own distruction, we won’t get past our human abilities to even find out if there might even be a higher purpose– because if u say nothing maters, automaticaly, everything does.
by asking the far away questions and not going step by step we will go mad, i feel i have bin close to that madness.

i hope i get a reply… even though i am only a 15 year old girl with bad spelling. 🙂

Dear Alex,

Allow me to thank you for writing that honest comment and for making me understand that however small we see ourselves in relation to the world, it is possible for us to create gushes that can eventually lead to change. I am only hoping this letter will give justice to the sincerity of your comment.

Right now I am wrapping myself with several pieces of blankets to keep myself from freezing. Being alone, solitude they call it, can even be colder than the wind outside. I remember I was thirteen years old when I learned the meaning of the word solitude; for me then it was just a fancy word I could use to impress my English teacher. Little did I know that it will have far-reaching role to play in my life. I’ve been alone for as long as I can remember. I may be in the presence of people, of outward happiness, of success, but every night before I sleep, only solitude keeps me company. Why am I talking about being alone here, you will ask. Because all my thoughts are distillation from the moments I have with my self. You say I traveled a lot, meet people from myriad places in the globe, talked to them about life’s secrets. However, these people only set a background on what my truth really is. They only served as foils to help me understand that the only truths that matter to me are the ones I learned before I reached fifteen in the place where I grew up but the last place on Earth where I would want to stay.

You are at one of the most crucial stages in your life, Alex, and it makes me happy to know that at fifteen you already have a grasp of your world. When I was fifteen, I also dreamed of one day having a life that I have now; I was too immature then to have dreamed of this life. Am I happy now? I cannot say. I think this is the reason why you said I have not realized what this “higher purpose” is. You are right. And it took a fifteen year old girl from a part of the Earth which I do not even know to let me revisit the time I was fifteen years old.

I remember my high school teacher telling her class that the way she thinks now that she is an adult has never changed; the same thoughts that crossed her minds when she was fifteen, same reactions, same way of understanding the events that unfolded before her. The only difference is that now that she’s an adult the society is holding her responsible for all her acts. I think she’s right. Adults are just like my teacher and me now that I am becoming an adult myself. Some in their 30s, 40s and older who think like teenagers but know less well. When you become an adult it’s not just about your dreams. A lot of things have to be looked into, considered, and be included in the equation. These make adults unhappy. Including me.

But for you, somebody who has a wisdom of a fifteen-year-old, that kind of wisdom is what we, adults, have lost and have been working hard each day to regain. We do it using different ways. For me it’s solitude, something that is as cold as the breeze blowing outside.

Alex, whoever you are, thank you for letting me have a glimpse of what I lost, something that I look forward to finding someday.

Good night from here.

John

(Hanoi, Vietnam)

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