I often wonder how it feels to discover something utterly new, or to do something groundbreaking. It feels as though it has been such a long time since I felt in awe of something I had never seen or experienced before. I wonder how people felt when they first experienced heat coming from fire, or when they landed on the moon for the first time.
Sometimes these things happen on a personal level, and they happen in such a blur, while your consciousness is in a dense mass of disorganized emotions and thoughts. Like performing a solo line for the first time, volunteering (boldly) for an oral recitation the first time, delivering the valedictory speech the first time, or having your first kiss. When those things happen, they can be classified into varying levels of surreality.
What’s worse is when you are going through something spectacular yet it doesn’t feel real enough because you know it has happened to someone somewhere before. Instead of cherishing the moment—like you did when you were a schoolgirl who just left school after school hours, bought a pint of ice cream, and savored it—you think of that movie or that book wherein a similar thing happened and you pondered on those other people’s thoughts while doing it. No one is having a unique experience. You’re just going through something a million other people had been through, which makes the whole experience dull and less impressive. The comparison makes it so.
The fact that you have seen it in different and more exciting ways, although as a secondhand experience, through films, the internet, and commercials, could completely ruin any dramatic event. In this digital arena, every single thing worth committing to memory has been amplified by technology. The angles, the views, are much clearer. The soundtrack could be tailor-fit to blanket the atmosphere. Actual, real-life experiences, without these, could easily be disappointing.
You look at a person and you realize: How much of their character is borne out of their real and unique experiences (maybe none), and how much comes out of their exposure to experiences not their own (maybe all)? It’s quite melancholy to think that we who live in this generation, in this day and age, are living lives derived out of our predecessors’. If something or someone isn’t real, it doesn’t matter, does it?
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Desiree Carawana, 27, is a senior pricing specialist at Citco Funds Services.