Old ghosts, or sleeping dogs


Yesterday brought an old idea in new clothing: My Four Failures:

1. [Better Chinese language skills]

2. [More money]

3. [Permanent residency in Taiwan]

4. [Driver’s license in Taiwan]

The thought kept me occupied for so long that I never came around to the opposite list: My Three Successes:

1. Writing – precisely the type of material that I had hoped in 1994 I would produce in the future, but which I feared would not get written due to the pressures of a “normal” adult life.

2. I behaved myself decently enough, and I was just funny and clever enough to persuade a beautiful, vibrant woman to give me a chance.

3. I read a lot – not so much acclaimed novels as one always thinks you should, but about what goes on in the world, about history, and about the human condition.



Who am I? Where do I belong? Where is my place in the world? What is the purpose of my existence? What should I do with my life?

I find it strange that I don’t really think about these things anymore. As if you only ponder these questions at a certain stage of your life.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to wake these old ghosts from their slumber? Or are they sleeping dogs?


Do I not think about those questions anymore because I have discovered or worked out the answers? Or is it because I don’t care anymore? If the latter, it is because I have become more cynical over the past ten years? Why have I become more cynical? Was I naive ten years ago? Or rather, in what ways did I still believe like a child ten years ago?

A few days ago on my way to the convenience store I asked myself a big favour: Please do not become a bitter old man.



You have to sell yourself on life. Why? Because otherwise another part of your person may sell death-at-own-hand to the Decision-Maker and Executor of Behaviour.

To hasten your own death can after all be accomplished in many ways: by smoking too much, by drinking too much, by sending a bullet through your brains, by depriving yourself of oxygen, by eating too much, even by living with what appears to be passionate abandon, like jumping on a manic bull’s back and riding him until he throws you off and drives his horn through your heart. “He was so in love with life,” people will say. “He had no fear,” others will add.


Is it good or bad that there is no one who can convince me that what I have done so far with my adult life has been worth the effort?


A thought has been swirling in my head for a while: The question “Who are you?” (in the broad sense of the word) should be answered with another question: “Who is asking?”