* Below is an account shared by an account named Dang Mai posted on China’s Zhihu page.
27 years old, I’m still working as a salary man in the city. After many years of graduation, having experienced many layoffs, I am choosing to work in a rather leisurely office job with a living wage. I’m single, life doesn’t have too many things to spend, so every month, I still spend 1/3 of my salary to save.
The rest, I use to pay for rooms, meals and random fun with friends. Sharing my story, everyone thinks my life is boring but I feel satisfied with it. Of course, everyone desires to have a fuller, more energetic life, but I understand my person and my abilities, a light life like this is probably more suitable for me.
There is a fear called “going home”
My family is in a rural area in Sichuan province, leaving the village to go to the city to study and start a business, my parents and relatives all expect me to be famous. However, because of my limited ability, by the age of 27, I could still only live a “mean” life. Every year outside of Tet holiday, I arrange work to go back to my hometown to reunite with my family. But in the last 2 years, I suddenly “lazy” to visit home. This is for a reason.
27 years old, I accept a salary of “3 piles of 3 dong”, “wasting in vain” in the city, rather than going back to my hometown to suffer the contempt of my relatives, inferior to my friends.
When I went back to my hometown to celebrate Tet, my parents were also nearly 70 years old, so they told me that they hope I can get married soon. My brother and sister-in-law also told me that I should go back to my hometown to find someone to get married and live closer to my family instead of being alone in the city. Both promised to find this little sister a stable job. But with my stubborn nature, I was determined to stay in the city and do what I like. Moreover, I am not ready for the problem they talk about.
Just like that, the next time I returned to my hometown, my parents and siblings constantly put pressure on me. Now every time I go home, I no longer feel the warmth of my family, but feel the pressure on my shoulders. I feel like my life is no longer completely in my control. My relatives want me to do what they like and understand their logic. When I don’t go along with it, I become a freak or even a failure. To get rid of that invisible control, I limit my return home and make the most of every time I live the life I want in the city.
Staying in the city for fear of being inferior to friends and being looked down on by relatives
I graduated from a university in a big city, got a job right out of school – something that not all my friends in my hometown can do, so I used to be very proud of myself. But after going to the class reunion last year, I suddenly realized that I was far behind them. My friends every year are now very successful even though they started their businesses in the countryside instead of working in the city like me. People who open their own companies, people who can buy houses, buy cars, etc. It seems that everyone has a stable life, except me. Therefore, I have another reason to “afraid” to return to my hometown.
In the city, even though I am not a prominent or known person, I can be myself and above all have control over my life. I can live an average life, with a normal job, with no outstanding achievements, …because no one cares about that. In the city, there are many people who have the same salary as me, rent a house like me, single like me… There are many people out there who are living normal lives like me, and I feel comforted because that.
In the middle of a big city, everyone is under the same pressure so it becomes very normal. As for the countryside, those things turn everyone and me into an underdog in the eyes of people with “stable” lives.
When in the city, I can also confidently declare that I cannot buy a house because the price is very expensive, increasing rapidly. Moreover, there are also thousands of people out there who can’t buy a house like me, they also have to rent and earn a living to make ends meet. In the countryside, when you can’t buy a house, can’t buy a car while your friends have enough, not only your relatives but even yourself have to doubt yourself. You will fall into feelings of anxiety and insecurity like never before.
That is also the reason that not only myself, there are many young people out there who are “afraid” to return home, “afraid” to return to the place where their umbilical cord is buried. Staying in the city is the best way for us to hide from the prying eyes of our relatives and neighbors and live comfortably with our own lives. Therefore, even though I am considered “unstable”, I still want to stay in this magnificent place.