2030 Memories Talk

Lately, I've been busy with work, or rather, making money, and it seems like I've also found a girlfriend, which has taken away some of the time I used to write stories. Occasionally, when I have time to write, I find myself looking at dozens of unfinished fragments in my folder, unsure where to start or which story to continue. In my hesitation, I end up creating a new file and starting a new fragment.

Life seems to be stuck in this repetitive cycle, like an incurable doubt about the world. If you start doubting yourself as part of the world, you can never turn back, even if there are reasonable and logical arguments to persuade you, because the person giving the advice will also face the same doubt.

But luckily, I haven't fallen into the trap of incurable doubt about the world. I've only been worn down by the cycle of repetition and the passage of time. Of course, I still have concerns now, but I also know that when my willpower is worn down enough, I won't have any doubts anymore. I'll follow the path of money and everything it represents, just like my old friends did, without hesitation.

Speaking of money, I suddenly remembered something from the past.

It was in the last month of the year 2020, during the great disaster, when China and the United States had a small-scale military conflict in the South China Sea. Shortly after, Bitcoin skyrocketed, increasing more than forty times in just one week. One of my friends achieved his long-awaited financial freedom because of this and quit his job to travel the world.

Before he left, he treated me to a meal and advised me to work hard and learn about investments. "In this day and age, what dreams can you achieve without money?" he said, using his own experiences as examples.

Although I didn't want to listen, I couldn't argue with his undeniable success, so I could only nod and express my agreement and admiration in short phrases.

Yes. That makes sense. You're amazing. Absolutely right. Insightful. Definitely. Necessary. Yes. Yes. Yes...

Later, I did try to study investment techniques, but I realized that my problem wasn't about investing, but rather the lack of capital. So my plan for financial freedom had to be put on hold.

Afterwards, my friend left, and his first destination was the United States. But I never received any messages from him, and I never saw him on any social media platforms. He disappeared. Maybe he suddenly died somewhere, or maybe he went into hiding and didn't want anyone to find him. No one ever asked me about him, not even the police, although I probably couldn't provide any valuable information.

I just thought that maybe he should have waited until 2021 to set off, because even though it wasn't a lucky year, it was still better than the years that followed.

I still remember July of that year when Linda Tomanski announced the successful development of an extraordinary and affordable AIDS vaccine using artificial intelligence technology. Then a self-media writer named "Lin Daofei Fei" wrote a sentimental and hopeful essay, claiming that the bad times were over and the good times were beginning. The article wasn't outstanding, but at that time, I was moved to tears and chose to share it because the world was covered in pessimism and needed a little optimism.

But emotions couldn't change anything. Half a year later, war broke out and ended quickly, and the world had completely changed.

People hoped that the future would be better, but they were unwilling to do anything about it and even opposed those who were taking action. As a result, the world inevitably became worse.

However, it was during that time that I finally started to settle down and write stories because there was probably nothing else left to do. In fact, my most satisfying novel, "53," was started or rather typed during that time. It took me seven years to complete the book, but no one wanted to read it. Without readers, I naturally had no money, so I ended up back on the same path.

During those seven years, I lived in my hometown in the countryside, relying on agriculture, frugality, and occasionally writing some meaningless articles or doing translations to make a living. I also had two cats, but unfortunately, they both died of illness and were buried in the bamboo forest behind the village. During that time, I always believed that the story I wrote would become a sensation, and I even fantasized about the media describing me as "a hermit who wrote a human legend for millions of years in the future." I would receive numerous interview invitations, but due to time constraints and the need to maintain a certain image, I would only accept one or two, and of course, I would refuse live broadcasts because even though I was good at making up stories, I was not good at speaking.

Of course, the result didn't meet my expectations, just like many things in the human world. I didn't become an overnight success, and even the few critics who read "53" criticized it as cliché and even said, "Even the dialogue is dry and weak."

Naturally, I was deeply affected, but I didn't reach the point of self-collapse. I comforted myself by saying that the ultimate goal of writing that story was to tell a story, and that goal had been achieved. The other goals, such as making money, gaining fame, and earning admiration, were not the core, and it didn't matter if they weren't achieved because they were beyond my control. But I did give up for a while, and there was even a month when I didn't turn on my computer, but it all passed, didn't it? I eventually came back to tell stories.

But sometimes, giving up isn't necessarily a bad thing. I started to actively participate in social life and, in 2028, moved to Hangzhou with the encouragement of an online poetry club. We had regular gatherings, recited our newly written poems, and discussed the Chinese language of this era, as well as the influence of war and other things on this language. We often lamented that a certain arrangement of Chinese characters could create the most beautiful poem, but unfortunately, it wouldn't be born in our hands. But we also said that there was no single most beautiful poem because everyone had their own, moved by different reasons.

I still remember writing a poem like this:

When the vengeful spirits of the past curse all living beings in the ashes of war
When the blood-red song of revenge is sung by the broken survivors
When the dead are forgotten
When the living are burdened with guilt
When people pray for redemption but give up hope
I can't do anything

I was somewhat moved when I wrote it, but when it was recited in the club, I felt that it was nothing.

Anyway, it was a beautiful time. Later, the pressures of survival gradually crept in, in the form of rent, meals, and the necessary costs of maintaining personal hygiene. I had to spend more time making money. It was during that time that I met a girl, and she became my first girlfriend in many years.

She was an illustrator, and when I delivered takeout to her house, she grabbed my hand and said, "I want you." I naturally couldn't refuse. Afterwards, we talked about our pasts, and it became more than just a one-night stand. Our relationship gradually became stable.

I still remember on New Year's Day in 2030, she brought up the question that had been asked countless times but never truly answered. "What is the meaning of life?" she said, followed by a moment of silence because she knew I didn't have an answer, and I truly didn't know how to respond. "You're a storyteller, can you make up a story for me?"

"I'll try," I said, "just like what I've been doing all these years."

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