Jonathan ES Lin
Life · Tech · Faith

The Hard Reality

Jul 30, 2015

I graduated from high school in 2005. It's 2015. There's talk of a 10th year reunion. I would go, but only because I feel obliged to, as I was the Head Prefect. I don’t really want to, actually. I’ve nothing great to talk about since high school.

Ten years on, some peers have become MDs, successful entrepreneurs, PhD candidates at prestigious schools, high-flyers at top companies, movers and shakers in the news, etc., and the ex-Head Boy who was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in the 2005 Nostalgia school magazine just isn't kicking anything.

He came back from the U.S. after college for some reason that nobody understands, and then stumbles around a few startups no one hears or cares about, while for years his mum kept pestering him to get out of startups and get a career. He got all caught up in the programming fever, which is something he finds he is ably suited to do. But the younger are coming at him now, with their talent and exuberant energy. And now he's tinkering with JavaScript in the browser in a corporation that few have heard about, having relented to his mum’s wishes. In his spare time, he desires to make apps, but finds little time and energy to make it happen.

In the dating scene, he's quite a flop. He puts all his eggs in one girl's basket, only to see her smash all his proverbial eggs and also damage his already bruised heart. Repeat this with one girl too many. But he still does it, because his brain is still a Pentium II CPU in romance computation, with no hyperthreading concurrency. Maybe it’s time for him to shut this CPU for a while. He’s an only child, and he learns to keep himself company.

In church, he goes through his motions. Because he knows someone has to do it eventually, and since he's one of the highlighted ones, he agrees to doing stuff in church. He feels it's his responsibility to take up church tasks and roles. He struggles to find the heart for it all.

With what's going on in the country right now, he just feels helpless and tired. When will justice prevail in Malaysia? When can we be governed by sincere, honest people? He is resigned.

I guess this is life. It’s not the school bubble. That’s why parents should allow their kids to just be normal. Don’t pressure them to perform. Be normal and not be a somebody in school. It might get in your head, and if you can’t live up to your own high school hype, you get disappointed. Though, looking back, it wasn’t really my parents who pressured me. I got into it myself.

I’m not that hungry anymore, in the Steve Jobs sense. I’m satisfied with being a so-so now. I don’t feel like I need to go out there and prove myself to be somebody great. Sure, I check-in an honest day’s worth of code daily and push to get my job done well. But that drive for anything more is already somewhat spent, and isn’t yet replenished.

Maybe there’s much value in just staying put somewhere for many years, be it in church, in a company, in the country, or while waiting on someone. Maybe there's much more to be discovered in more of the same.