ONLY THE YOUNG AND WILDBy Wang Wei Photographer: Wang Xiao Bo / Chen Zhi Qiang
One rainy day, a few years, on my way to celebrate my 20th birthday in Hangzhou, I wrote this poem –
The patter of rain on windowpanes,
The screech of wind through the highway,
A rainy day, Music,
Heading to a good place,
Heading to the twentieth year,
In this season, the dullness of a winter’s day lurks,
A yellowing splash, A splash of fresh green,
Life begins here,
The landscape moves towards me,
That which passed by, and that to come.
In Her Own Words
As I begin to write this article, I had an epiphany: wasn’t this poem exactly about the frivolity and recklessness of youth? How can a new spring begin without explosion, and how can youth exist without frivolity?
Today, I pondered for half a day, searching for a way to describe myself. I suddenly realized that I did not know how to define myself – a model? An actor? Although this was not the reason I came to the United States, it is what I had become. When I majored in Fashion Performances and Fashion Design in college, I did not think I would become a model. I did not model, nor did I accept any modeling gigs. I had realized that I could not shake up a storm and be the center of everyone’s attention, so I retreated, thinking, ‘Youth is so fleeting. How can one decide?’ To model professionally, is to depend on the so-called ‘bread and butter of youth’. Rather than pine for the golden opportunity, I decided to pursue something else so that I would have a survival skill for the future. I am relieved that I thought about this issue at 18 years old.
I worked my way step by step, through college, and eventually arrived in the U.S., for graduate school. And, here I am today. Those who had witnessed my diligence at college assumed that my MBA admission notice marks my entry into commerce, management, and economics. However, today, I am pursuing my Masters in Film and Television Performances, while modeling – and, this has allowed me the opportunity to delve into more experiences and insights. Why had I decided not to pursue, and yet returned to the same career?
This story of a meandering journey from and to the same path is the prelude of my youth, and can be summed up in a single word – wild. Youth, although fleeting, is the best of times – fiery, spirited, full of hope and dreams! Youth lays the foundations in our lives, and determines the heights of our futures. In my first year of college, I tried all kinds of work that appealed to me, and met all kinds of complicated characters, difficulties and pressures that I did not know if I could bear. Then I earned the certification that I thought would help my career, and left my country to study overseas. I stopped looking back. But suddenly, one day, I felt regretful, thinking it was a pity I had not taken advantage of the excellent physique my parents had given me. At 23 years old, I felt like I was at the tail end of my youth, saddled with a feeling of certain unfinished business. If I miss out again on the next few years, I would not have the opportunity – my competitive edge against others, again. I felt that I should complete the unfinished business, which I do love. It should not matter how far I am able to go, or how the end might be…at the very least, in the many years I will live – which should be many times what I have lived, I would have no regrets about what aches in my heart.
From my past experiences, I have a perspective of this career that allows me to better appreciate the meaning behind what I do. Perhaps, in the end, everyone will arrive at the same conclusion, but it is more important to me that I am able to navigate this journey, to experience and perhaps, even cut a new path on this road. If there comes a day my path is bramble-filled, I would tread on bravely, and take it coolly. I would be thankful for the offerings of youth, and I would celebrate how far I have come.
At this age, one should embrace the ‘wild’, in thinking, doing and choosing to take control of one’s life. One may not kick up a worthy storm, but at least make it colorful.