• Daniel Li

    Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

    How far is the distance that you should have between yourself and the people around you to be comfortable? According to cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall, the answer is 1.5 to 2.5 feet. He did his work in 1963, coining the term "proxemics," which he defined as "the interrelated observations and theories of humans' use of space." Is 2.5 feet enough for someone to stay away from annoyance? My personal experience says no way.

         As the only child in my family, I get the full attention of my parents. I have mixed feelings about this attention. On the one hand, I enjoy it--it makes me feel like the king of the house; on the other hand, it annoys me to hear what the "reverends," aka my parents, tell me to do. I really don't like how my parents tell me what and how to do things, and thanks to the advancement in technologies, this continues even when I am halfway across the globe, which is about 25,000 miles, or roughly 132 million feet, away from them.

         One hundred and thirty-two million feet may not keep me away from my parents' lecturing, but it has slowly and surely changed my attitude towards them. From 2.5 feet away, they can help me hands-on, correct the mistakes I make; 132 million feet is a huge gap they won't be able to cross when I need the help. The best they can give me is comfort when I am frustrated and advice when I am lost. 

         My parents have always said that I am like a satellite in space only sending messages when I need something. Now I understand the so-called "lecturing" is just the way my parents help me avoid obstacles based on their experiences and provide support from the other end of the Earth. But, even knowing their good intentions, I still talk back. I'm just full of gratitude that they haven't yet shot down this satellite who seeks help yet still talks back to them. 

         Four years ago, I encountered the first star in my orbit, Blue Hill, a place that gave me the courage to take on new adventures. For the first time, I went into the woods to cut down my tree and made my own chair, although it squeaked like it's gonna collapse any second. For the first time, I stepped on a snowboard, but sadly rolled all the way down the hill. These are great experiences, the pain is nothing compared to the fun I had. Blue Hill has been a great influence on my life. It has been the brightest star that guides my path. Even though the satellite will continue its journey and travel to its new destination, no distance can erase its importance to my galaxy. 

         Two and a half feet or 132 million feet, I don't see a difference, because I will continue annoying my parents and they will continue lecturing me. Everything goes as usual. I am sure I will talk back again, but the distance has changed me on the inside. It makes me appreciate the deeper thoughts behind those squabbles, and I know that my parents are the other brightests stars guiding my path.