2019年9月29日 星期日

Far From Home 離家


My older daughter just started college on the other side of the island.  I message her on Line several times a week.  She says everything is OK over there.  I believe her, but of course I worry.  It's her first time living away from home, and I just want her to be safe. 我的大女兒剛搬到台灣西部念大學.  我每個禮拜幾次用Line問她的近況.  她說沒事.  我相信她真的沒有事, 可是我當然還是會擔心.  這是她第一次離家住在其他地方, 我希望她平安.

Soon her younger sister might be headed in the same direction.  She's not going to college, but rather to a senior high school where she will, I assume, study cooking.  The senior high school in question is also on the other side of the island, about half an hour south of where her older sister is studying. 可能很快地她的妹妹也會跟她一樣離家.  只是不是念大學, 她想在高中學烹飪.  她想念的高中也在西部, 離姊姊的大學很近.

It's a strange feeling, to have spent so many years fretting over someone only to later see them move away.  If my younger daughter goes away to school next year, it'll just be my wife and I all over again, almost as if we'd set the clock back to 1999.  It's difficult to wrap my head around the idea of living in a house with only one other person, but I guess I'll have to adjust to that fact. 這種感覺很奇怪, 關心一個人那麼多年, 最後他們要搬到那麼遠的地方.  如果下學年我的小女兒也去西部的話, 家裡就只有我和太太二個人了.  好像我們家庭的時鐘調回到1999年.  我覺得家裡只剩二個人很奇怪, 我想只能調整我自己來面對這個變化.

Sometimes, when I think of my older daughter, I remember her in Seattle, strapped into a car seat at the age of 4.  Back then she liked to sing along with The Darkness*.  And that little girl, who knew all the words to "Get Your Hands Off My Woman (Motherfu%$er)" is an adult now.  She probably doesn't even remember doing that. 有時候我想到大女兒時, 我記得她四歲的時候.  我們那時候住在西雅圖,  她坐在兒童安全座椅裡唱The Darkness樂團的歌.  那位喜歡唱"Get Your Hands Off My Woman (Motherfu%$er)"的孩子已經長大了.  她應該忘記她以前做過那種事.

Now, 14 years later, she's living in another city, making new friends, and hopefully learning something.  Of course I'd like to be there to help her as she does some of these things, but when your kids reach 18 you just can't.  She has her own life to live now; she's got to find her own way.  I can offer help from afar, but I can't be there to guide her through everything. 經過了十四年, 她現在住在外縣市, 交新朋友和學習(希望吧).  我當然想在她的身邊幫忙, 只是她已經十八歲了.  她有她自己的人生, 她要建立自己的生活方式,  我可以從旁幫她的忙, 可是我不能再事事幫她了.

As my daughter tells me about her new life in college, I often think about myself at the same age.  In my late teens and early twenties I veered between self-love and self-loathing on a daily basis; I was never sure about my goals, and I was always asking myself what was right versus what was wrong.  When I look back at some of the ideas I held at 18 I feel embarrassed, but in other contexts I admire my bravado at that age, and my willingness to take chances. 我女兒跟我說她的大學生活時, 我也常回想起我大學時的生活.  我十幾, 二十歲的時候, 每天都有自愛, 自恨的感覺,  也沒有明確的目標, 我都問自己 "什麼是好" 跟 "什麼是壞" .  我回想起十八歲時的自己當時的想法都覺得不好意思, 可是有時候我也覺得那時候的我很勇敢.

At 18, 19 and 20 you spend a lot of time wondering what shape the rest of your life is going to take.  What career will you pursue?  How will you make your mark on the world?  Who will love you, and for how long?  When I think of how I obsessed over these kinds of questions I can't help but smile.  For the most part it all worked out, and when it didn't I found something else (or someone else) to do. 18, 19或20歲的時候, 我們花很多時間想人生的未來.  要找什麼工作?  怎麼出名?  誰會愛我?  會愛多久?  我那時候花很多精力想這種問題, 真是好笑.  隨著時間的經過, 問題都解決了.  碰到沒辦法解決的問題, 我就找別的事情做 (或是愛情).

Add to this the fact that at 18 you really don't know how long (or how short) 5, 10 or 20 years really is.  You don't know how your perspective can change over time.  You don't think about all the weird, random stuff that can happen between now and then, and about how a lot of that weird, random stuff can be good or bad depending on your point of view.  Of course you try to arrive at decisions about these things, but your personality is still forming, and your worldview is still in flux.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It's just a reason not to be too set in your ways too early. 加上事實是人們十八歲的時候還不知道5, 10或是20年到底多長 (或是多短).  年輕人不知道自己對事物的看法會隨著時間改變;  也不會想到現在到未來會發生什麼奇奇怪怪的事情; 更沒想到這些奇奇怪怪的事情的價值只有他們能決定.  年輕人當然有自己的看法, 只是個性還沒有那麼穩定,  觀念會改變.  這不全然是壞處,   這只是不早固定下來的原因.

After she graduated from senior high school, we told our older daughter that we wanted her to get out into the world, to experience different things, and to meet different sorts of people.  We told her that if she didn't go to college it was fine, but not going to college meant going to work.  All we wanted was for her to DO something, and we weren't that concerned with where that something led.  It was up to her to make something of herself, and as long as she wasn't lurking at home we figured she would do so.  大女兒從高中畢業之後, 我們告訴她要走出去, 要找新的經驗, 要交新朋友.  我們跟她說不上大學沒關係, 可是不上大學的話一定要找工作.  我們只想要她出去找事做, 不管那件事的未來性.  只要她努力就好, 不要躲在我們家裡我們就沒意見.

I still feel that way, mostly because I know her and I know that (on average) she'll make the right choices.  Will she make mistakes?  Sure.  Will she fail sometimes?  Of course.  But it would be wrong to shield her from that reality, because on the other side of that reality is the adult version of her; the person she's supposed to grow into. 我仍是這麼想的, 因為我知道她是個懂事的人.  她會犯錯嗎?  當然.  她可能失敗嗎?  當然.  可是我不應該成為她經驗現實的阻礙, 因為在她經歷錯誤與失敗的另一面, 就是被塑造出的成人的她.

But yeah, I worry like most parents worry.  I want her to be happy and successful.  I want her to live well.  Yet exactly how she finds happiness and success is up to her.  I'll certainly be there to lend a helping hand if I can (and if I should), but most of it comes down to her own decisions. 我跟很多父母一樣擔心自己的孩子.  我希望她開心和成功.  我希望她的人生順利, 可是她的開心和成就感是她自己的責任.  只要我有能力, 我一定會幫忙, 可是她要自己決定走什麼路.

I just hope she knows how much we love her, and that we look forward to hearing about all her adventures on the other side of Taiwan.  Maybe one day we can even laugh about this time together, when we're all much older people, and when she's sending her own kid off to school, somewhere far away. 我只是希望她知道我們很愛她, 我們也很想知道她在西部的冒險.  未來某一天我們會一起嘲笑現在的我們, 可能是當她自己要送孩子去外縣市的大學的時候, 我們能一起開開心心的討論這個時候的事.

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*Anyone else remember this band?  They're still around, and have a new album due this year.  Not the greatest musicians in the world, and never as clever as they were sometimes made out to be, but they were alright.

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