An Addendum to Manifesto 21

I think there is finally a suitable message to leave for future self in the name of “my 21st birthday”, over two months after a nonexistent celebration.

As such, I feel the need to mark the conclusion of a very interesting stage of my growth.


This is my first post utilizing Parallax Image for entire text sections, please view the original post (not RSS- or AMP-optimised) for the intended effects.



The Economics of Losing ONEself

I flew to California in late May, and, in a series of events that prove the inefficiency of that decision, only brought home a few moments of lasting value. The sentence in the title came from this very trip. I was having a nighttime conversation with the person of interest — a former classmate that I’d so-aptly-thought of as my “statistically significant other” for over a year now. Let’s code-name this person “A” for the brevity of this memo.

After many of my ties to Berkeley Physics ended, I did maintain contact with A. And, gradually, this relationship, despite it spanning thousands of miles and consisted not much more than text messages, did indeed feel statistically significant. For as few contemporaries that I used to talk to — let alone text — and for as much observations / trivia of life that I kept to myself in diaries, I did share with them a lot of things.

In that Berkeley fall, how I introduced news about A and I to my family was “[A] is the first person in a long while to laugh at my jokes,” and, invariably, later, “they are who I dream of the most wherever I sleep.”

Gratitude and an undying (yet unfamiliar) wish for lasting companionship were mixed up and amplified on my side to an extreme. I deal with feedback loops (or lack thereof) in labs and on paper all the time, but was left powerless when the same phenomenon is in my brain / between me and another person.

I took the subtitle from a song called “Sleepless Heart”, “I lost myself as we lost one another.” Indeed, originally, I was to hint that this bond was more of the romantic kind.

However, as I thought more and more about this, I am no longer sure. Less sure than if I know I appear to A as meaninglessly selfless, and insecure, anyway.

Some friends called me infatuated with A. Conceivably, our paths did intersect / bring us together in strange ways, and sure, I didn’t yet switch from writing diaries to dumping information to them, and my diaries somewhat corroborates that infatuation is how it started.

I needn’t hide. I dream of a future with them near me from time to time, as an intimate companion or just a coauthor in an interesting paper, the extent varied.

When we were physically close, A had the say in 95% of the times and places we met. After we parted, unexpectedly, my mental facsimile of A still dictated my happiness at large.

I took the driver’s license holder A gave me everywhere with me; I lost and recovered it twice. I replaced my studio logo in my key chain with A’s fictional name tag that I 3D printed … The mascot bear I bought from A’s graduation ceremony is gleaming at me right now…

Well, I am continuing that mentality further, aren’t I? The urge to be laying these out is how part of me seem to infinitely yearn for A to see this and move us further along, deeper into this story.

What a nice idea of an infinite loop. A black hole of human emotions, rather.

May it consume all that I have constructed, or,

Be it broken upon some words of reality?

TL; DR. Putting too much dependence of my own happiness on someone else leads to less-than-optimal relationships.

Once-in-a-lifetime, REPRODUCIBLy


The loss and pursuit Of Uniqueness

Thanks to my recent lessons in my supervisor’s work on quantum trajectory theory, I finally had the courage to lay all my vague thoughts down.

As an aside, quantum trajectory theory, in my understanding, simulates how detection photons — the only tool yet with which we see the microscopic — interact with atoms in a controlled but random fashion. And, as such, millions of iterations of simulations can offer valuable insight of how the system evolves a single time.

“Because everything came seemingly easy for you,” one of my professors warned me as I applied to Perimeter in January, “rejections, although they are part of life, may hit you hard.” Before I’d inevitably be turned down by the Canadian theoretical physics place for 2019, I mostly dismissed that warning, quietly.

After all, long before A’s name and lines crawled onto my stage book, I thought that I’d had enough rejection and betrayal to warrant a worry-free life ever after. I have survived my fair share of hardships and loneliness to see every other person with automatic sense of dignity (and hubris).

“I have chosen a unique path,” I thought. “I don’t see any one who is quite similar to me.”

“I’m free.”

Or am I?

While in America, I poetically celebrated how a shared passion in physics brought A and me together, thinking our every embrace was as significant a gathering of atoms as the first hydrogen fusion that lit up the universe’s first star.

The reality? We are but beginners in this very young, very human science, and we are not excellent yet per se, and there are peers abound. I feel that I needn’t ask one more time if A’d approve of that comparison.

One of the saving grace for me may be in the farewell words of that trip,

“I love you, but it has nothing to do with you.”

Thus underscored the first love story in my life.

It sounds like something from a badly written teenage romance novel. The interactions are a bit dull, and one party of the relationship should really go out more and get a life.

Is that how I could find myself? In billions of other copies of me?

The story of A and I might last, a bit longer, or this puts a resonating end to it. I do not know which is better, and that is why I want to present this here for the future to decide.

In a way, to be disillusioned is a bittersweet life lesson.

… That all the uniqueness we hold so dear every day is repeated across this planet, across generations.

… That I am but passing on an ordinary and quite crowded road.

… That it is possible to make something no one has seen before, but it’s never easy.

To know them is to be better future-ready. Or, at least, to be more content with backing down into a respectable solitude.

TL; DR. What I am learning here is far from a unique experience, and I am only ordinary if disadvantaged in terms of once-in-a-lifetime romantic encounters at this stage of life. somehow, knowing that is a prerequisite for me to move on.

“happy birthday!”


The hopeful message for the future

For A.

Thank you. Maybe for the last time that I say it.

Not more, not less. For picking up my FaceTime calls, for listening to my 500% more verbose messages, and for simply being in this period of my life.

I have written this post as a technical test, but also to celebrate a new beginning, one that I once elected to ignore in my confusion of priorities. I don’t have infinity, nor will I get it from your hands.

Still, I am happy that I am 21 now.