WEDNESDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2004
The fact is that I function better now as a human being than was the case four years ago. I am more aware of the rules of the game, and I have learned to play by the rules without betraying myself. I am more convinced of my relative value in the broader community, and also more specifically in the Community of Particular Language and Culture to which I am connected by the proverbial umbilical cord. I am more convinced of who I am and who I want to be. I understand more of where I come from as well as the value of that in answering the questions about who I am and where I am going. I also understand the reasons and motivations for this specific vision. I am therefore more convinced of my place in the Bigger World, and more convinced of my own self when I walk into a local bar or restaurant, or when I arrive at a barbecue with friends and strangers. Finally, because I can now speak and read a little bit of Chinese, I can function better in the particular environment where I live and work every day than was the case a few years ago.
It is ultimately as practical as the difference between a bicycle wheel with a problem and one that works as it is supposed to. Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle will appreciate the difference between a wheel with broken spokes, a cracked tire and a leaky inner tube and a wheel with new spokes, an expensive new tire, and a brand new inner tube. One is simply better. One is simply more suited to taking you where you need to be.