She was one of the most ambitious girls I’d met. When we were cluelessly hanging out every day without a worry in the world, she already had internships and jobs in her resume (which, by the way, I did not know how to pronounce then). I had no doubt she would make it big soon, and even joked that someday she would be the one to hire me. But after graduation, we never heard from her, ‘til one day, someone told us that she headed home to live with her parents, and was about to get married. After all the efforts to get a foot in blue-chip companies, she decided that she couldn’t live far from home anymore. She came back to the house she had grown up in.
Some of us showed pity over her prospects, but most believe it was the obvious choice. Why would a girl want to live far from home to start off a career, then get married and live far from parents? That’s the common sense in the culture that I was brought up in, but somehow I grew some different beliefs. I believe that never leaving the house I grew up in would be a poor choice. (That’s why I never understand the culture of Orient countries, where the married girl comes to live with her husband’s family: the girl is cut off from her own parents, while the man, who is considered to be the ruler, actually is the one that forever lives under the protection of his mother. Some husbands never sympathize with their wives, ‘cause they never understand what it’s like to live among strangers.) My friend here was ready for every good thing for her, but she couldn’t pass one final test: the emotional attachment to her home. Four years, that was OK; but a whole life that totally departs from her old life was too much for her to take.
More than ten years ago, there was a mouse running through our house, so my mom allowed us to have a cat. At first, he was supposed to be just a mice-killer, but if you also raise a cat like me, you must know how black-magic cats are. They are masters of manipulation: one day you pat on his head, the next day he owns half of your bed, and from the third day on, you’re lucky to have a space in your own bed. The cat became our family’s source of fun, and we love him like a real human in the house. When he got sick and was in pain, he hid himself in the corner, lying breathlessly on the floor with his eyes half-open. It was the heart-breaking moment I never expected. Those were the tears I did not see coming. My mom then said she would never raise a cat or a dog again, because they always have to go before us, and it hurts so bad seeing them go, in pain.
Then again, the emotional attachment reigns.
Emotional attachment has penetrated into my mind for several days. In the field where I’m aspired to work in, people come and go from agency to agency, and they seem totally fine with it. So I keep asking myself “Didn’t they feel any emotionally attached to the place or the people in previous places?”. Yes, they did. But they let it go.
“You’ll be surprised how this never happened.” – Don Draper from Mad Men.
It struck me for the first time that maybe I had been too emotionally attached to this place. “Then would come a new agency, or a new boss, and that would be a whole new era. Don’t hold on to the old ones.” That was the piece of advice a senior gave me. That reminds me of my most favourite scene in Life of Pi: when Pi and Richard Parker hit the shore, the tiger jumps out of the boat and heads straight to the jungle, without even turning back, or any gesture to show it has attachment with Pi. And Pi is broken. He thought they’ve developed some kind of a friendship, and that Richard Parker would at least turn around to say goodbye.
But no. Richard Parker has no emotion for Pi. The boy, on the other hand, has emotionally attached himself to the tiger.
Emotional attachment is just a weakness. Don’t fall into it unless you’re prepared for the goodbye.
But can’t we help ourselves?