Bare minimum


When I was a kid, me and friends used to exchange personal bio with each other. We will use a fancy loose-leaf binder paper and write things that define our identity like our hobby, favorite food, favorite band, etc. That’s pretty much how we learn to get to know each other.

As we grow older, we use things like our major in college, our job, or our expertise to give other people ideas of who we really are. It’s almost like, we need to have a certain label to exist in this world. And I used to hate that.

I have this idea in my mind that I want people to know me just as a human being. Or even a lump of raw meat. Scrapping those identities like personality, religion, job, activity, or hobby. Think about a variable in programming language that doesn’t have any value.

int i;

Very basic and simple. No attachment of any kind.

But then this pandemic is kind of reminded me of something important. It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their family members, job, or simply not be able to do their routines. And those things, however mundane, are things that make up our lives as a human.

I guess the hardest part of all this is to realize how empty our lives are without those nitty-gritty details.

Sure, you can have a variable without any value. But those values are basically what makes us unique. If it weren’t for those values, then we’ll be nothing. Just like it doesn’t make sense to allocate memory for a variable that has no value.

I guess I’ve been wrong all this time. The most important part of our life is not the variable, but those values. Just like how variables are merely a name you give to computer memory locations which are used to store values in a computer program, we are merely containers for those nitty-gritty details of our lives. If we scrap out those details, then we become an empty container.

And in time like this, when our capacity and movement is very limited, it makes us rethink about which values are more important for us. Priority over urgency. Significance on top of responsibility. Necessity over totality.

I hope you can also use this moment to contemplate. How would you like to fill your container back when things restored to normal. (: