Icarus journal, entries # 4 & 5

# 4

[I went to Hong Kong for the long weekend to meet up with my older sister who was visiting friends. The visit wasn’t too much soured by an argument we had about what I was doing with my life.]


M’s argument was that I am trying to be different. That I only have one life, and that I should use my chances better. That I am only young once, and that I shouldn’t see my life in the light of history. That I’m not Napoleon.

She also told me that I was isolating myself too much. I don’t have friends, and I detach myself from the world of which I ought to be part. Why should I be part of this world? Because I’m young, and because I only have one chance to be young. She also said that I could have made better choices in my life, and that I had never only had one option.

I think her biggest consideration for these arguments was that she believed I was unhappy. She had been thinking these things because she was trying to tell me, “It doesn’t have to be this way,” and “You can be happy.”

# 5


The past ten years, this whole decade of my life has been dominated by the struggle to overcome one or both of two problems, namely being lonely and being broke. There has been very little time in the past decade when my existence wasn’t fundamentally dominated by one or both of these issues.

My most important consideration going to Stellenbosch in 1991 was to overcome the problem of loneliness. Going to Pretoria in 1996, lack of money. Going to Korea, lack of money. The decision to stay in Korea in ’97 was largely to avoid being without an income again. Just a year later, however, loneliness compelled me to go back to South Africa. The decision to go to Johannesburg after six weeks back in South Africa was motivated by the principles of “Belonging and Commitment” – principles I had formulated to overcome loneliness. And the decision to come to Taiwan? Once again being broke.

I’ve never seen the simple pattern.

If you had asked me before what my view of an ideal life was, I would have said to love and be loved; to have financial security; to have the power to make choices and act on these choices. This insight leaves me with a clear mission: Solve the problems of lack of money and loneliness, and you will have a different outlook on life. It will make you a better person, someone who will appreciate life more, who would want to stay alive, and who will discover dimensions of yourself and of life and of other people you had never known existed.