Homecoming: Sometimes life says goodbye
Editor’s note: This is the ninth year that Gronhui has accompanied you.Time is silent, home is loving.When I was a child, I always wanted to go far away.As the end of the year approaches, returning to one’s hometown is almost everyone’s unconsolable homesickness.The New Year’s Eve is not only a wish from a long way, but also a steaming meal, or a small talk between parents.What I know is that I have to see my hometown.Go home and celebrate the New Year.At the end of the year, we can unload the heavy armor of life, slow down the pace of the chase, under the dust, Sichuan province, set foot on the taste of the New Year home.On this occasion, The Editorial department of Gronhui launches the “2022, My Homecoming” series, this is the sixth part of the series.I set out from Shenzhen at 8:40 on January 30th and set foot on the journey home for the Spring Festival.I really wanted to see how homesick I was on the Internet, but unfortunately, I just couldn’t make any feelings.The mass homecoming of the Spring Festival is typical of China at a certain stage.It follows the dramatic social changes in China in the past, with all kinds of complex feelings behind it.Once a year, return and leave again, meet again parting, sad, missing, helpless, excited, looking forward to, hesitation and so on, and so on.Combined with the grand traditional festival like The Spring Festival, the homecoming is more sacred.However, human is an animal, the most afraid of is the repetition of the year, when the same thing happens repeatedly, become normal, all its sense of ritual will eventually degenerate into boredom.The first time, all kinds of emotions come up, and the second time, again, but time and time again, expectations are created and fulfilled ahead of time.As a result, the original expectations are gradually fading away.And there’s something else that’s killing the romance of homecoming.That’s the advance of technology.I left at 8:40 and was home by noon, a benefit of technological progress.Technology brings convenience not only in transportation, but also in communication.As long as I want to, I can see my relatives and friends and hear their voices every day.Technology has made homesickness much less likely to accumulate over the course of a year and explode at the end of the year.Due to the lack of emotional accumulation, homecoming has just become a habit. As I observe people of my age in the same village, homecoming, for us, is to change a place to interact with our phones.We can’t stop interacting with our phones.The great migration movement in China, coupled with the new things and experiences brought by the economic boom, greatly promoted the diversity of values, which also led to the estrangement of values between us and our parents and peers, and finally we had nothing to say to each other.I went back home for the Spring Festival one year after graduation, and the script was the same every time, and even the words of everyone were the same, such as when I went back home, how much money I made, whether I brought my date, etc. In addition, the appearance of my hometown was basically the same, the mountain shape remained the same, as if everything had stopped.Two, of course, there is one thing in the relentless record, time has not stagnated, that is, the traces carved by the years, some people in the old, even passing away.When I got out of the car, I shivered. It was really too cold this year. I felt it was the coldest winter in the last three or five years, 1-4 degrees Celsius, with cold rain.I wonder if it has anything to do with the Tongan volcano.It was cold outside, but it was even colder inside. A little cousin of mine asked his mother what was going on at home, how his teeth were fighting.Childlike innocence is very funny, also quite vivid.We young are frozen into this, the old people more imagined, this kind of winter is very difficult, the old people uncomfortable, take care of the old people are also very uncomfortable.During the New Year visit, I visited two old people with my parents. One was 90+ and the other 70+, but they could not get out of bed.On the way home, we were talking to my mom about how to age gracefully.My mother said there were three other elderly people in the village who could hardly get out of bed, but could hardly take care of themselves.Some are cared for by their children or paid by neighbors.Either way, it’s not easy.Some old people will be pain, or delirious, will be abusive.It is hard to grow old with dignity in the countryside.The happiest thing is to die quickly after a disease. The worst thing is to have a stroke and not be able to get out of bed. The elderly are miserable, the children are miserable.When I say this, it always sounds like I’m treating the old as a liability.But I think we do not need to avoid this point, because the old are indeed a burden, there is nothing to admit this point, to take care of the elderly, regardless of the trace, on the heart, I think there are really few filial sons.But to do a good “trace”, in fact, is also very difficult.Ancient China liked to preach filial piety, but today the cost of filial piety is much higher than in the past.In the past, life expectancy was low. For most people, practicing filial piety was just a few years. The latest data from 2021 shows that life expectancy in China is 77.3 years, and the cost of practicing filial piety has risen dramatically.The problem feels unsolvable, not unique to our village, but an aging problem that China as a whole is about to face.Third, I found that the number of people who came back this Spring Festival was not more than that of last year (our village basically came back in the past 20 years, because of the late outbreak of the epidemic, it was almost the Spring Festival, but fewer people came back in the past 21 years).I thought there might be more people coming back this year because of the epidemic.It turns out that’s not the case.There is a sense (at least in my village) that the pandemic has accelerated the disintegration of rural society.I think maybe a lot of people don’t want to come back, but it has become an annual habit, and we are pushed forward by habit.Then the pandemic happened, the habit was interrupted, and we found that there was no discomfort in not having the habit.It can even be a relief.It’s really tiring to spend the Spring Festival in the countryside.In these days of Spring Festival, lunch and dinner are almost every day to eat or cook.What keeps people together is that they always want to go home and visit people over the age of 60 or 70, and that a group of people over the age of 50 are still willing and energetic to prepare meals for a big table, and they also like this lively atmosphere.With the passing of the old, there are fewer and fewer reasons to go home, and with the gradual aging of parents, no one has the ability to prepare a big table any more. The old rural life may really say goodbye.This goodbye, destined from the very beginning of this era of great change, just not everyone can say goodbye to it in a friendly way.