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Helping people in need was a good thing, but for some reason Sijie Yang felt sad. He was deep in thought by the time he returned home. He felt like he had lost someone he loved.
A feeling of losing someone I love… Sijie Yang laughed at himself. He had never been in a relationship before, so how could he know what it felt like to break up with someone?
Sijie Yang shook the feeling, opened his computer, then transferred the photos to his computer and started looking at them.
This one isn't good either; deleted.
And this one too, ugh. Deleted!
Sijie Yang looked at the photos he had taken this morning, deleting two-thirds of them. He then began going through them a second time. By the time he was done there were only about ten photos left. But the longer he stared at the photos, the more he wanted to delete them all.
Sijie Yang suddenly came to the realization that he was really bad at taking pictures. The pictures taken by college students in the photography festival were much better than his.
Sijie Yang was bummed out. He had always been the best at almost everything he did; this was something he had inherited from his father. Every time he wanted to do something, he could always do it well.
But today, he had to admit that he was bad at taking photos.
Sijie Yang sighed. He opened his computer and went on a few photographers' blogs to see their latest photos. The more time he spent appreciating their works, the worse he felt about his own.
I need to practice more. As they say, practice makes perfect!
Sijie Yang looked outside the window as he thought this. The weather was really nice today; the sun was about to set. Sijie Yang took his camera out again to capture the moment.
Two hours later, Sijie Yang returned home. He looked at the photos he had just taken, still looking bummed.
This is not the effect I was going for! Sijie Yang thought to himself silently, sighing.
Ding-dong! It was his WeChat. Sijie Yang checked his phone. He had received a group message from the Tsinghua University shutterbugs. One of the group members had just posted some pictures of the sunset.
This is so much better than my photos. It was said that the only way to avoid getting your feelings hurt was to not compare yourself to anyone. Now, Sijie Yang suddenly felt bitter.
At this moment, Sijie Yang felt like although he had wanted to be a photographer, once he had actually started doing it, it didn't bring him the satisfaction or joy he had expected. He used to get excited when he thought of his so-called "photography skills," and was eager to try and test those skills. However, he did not feel excited at all this time.
Sijie Yang felt weird. He picked up his brand new camera again and put it down on the chair.
He had dreamt of this camera for a long time, and had been over the moon when he had gotten it. However, Sijie Yang could no longer feel the happiness and excitement he had felt when he had first gotten it. He felt like a child who had craved a toy and tried everything to get his parents buy it for him. Now that he had finally gotten it, he felt nothing.
At this moment, Sijie Yang suddenly realized that his enthusiasm for photography was declining.
A three-minute passion! Sijie Yang thought of the Chinese saying. Though he did not want to admit it, he was now a vivid example of the phrase.
I want to be a photographer! Sijie Yang murmured, trying to convince himself. However, in his heart, there was a voice saying, No, I am an athlete!
All of a sudden, Sijie Yang thought back to when the policeman had asked him if he was an athlete and he had said yes right right away. Sijie Yang knew it had been out of instinct. He had answered it without a second thought.
Why is this happening? I am supposed to hate sprinting. I am supposed to hate being an athlete! Sijie Yang was confused. The more deeply he thought about this, the more he wanted to go back to being a sprinter. All of a sudden, Sijie Yang was beginning to realize that after five years of sprint training, he had already become a sprinter in his own mind.
But I don't want to be an athlete, I want to be a photographer! Sijie Yang was annoyed by this thought. He grabbed his camera, trying to convince himself that his real dream was becoming a photographer.
As he held the camera in his hands, it became heavier. It now felt like more than a camera; it had become a burden for Sijie Yang! And the root of this burden was the thought of being a photographer!
Sijie Yang felt more anxious. He thought photography was his hobby and interest. He was supposed to feel happy doing the things he liked, not consider it a burden.
Maybe I don't really like photography, Sijie Yang thought to himself. What if, my dad hadn't asked me to become an athlete, but a photographer instead; what would have happened? Would I still hate the idea of being a sprinter? Would I have hated becoming a photographer?
Sijie Yang was confused. He closed his eyes and forced himself to stop thinking.
If my dad had forced me to become a photographer, I probably would have hated that as well.
As this idea popped into Sijie Yang's mind, it terrified him. He had just realized something—he didn't hate sprinting or being an athlete. What he disliked was his father's arrangement for him!
He had always wanted to be given the opportunity to make his own decisions, but he had never had the chance. He wanted to fight against his father's wishes, but had this unhappiness buried in his mind.
Sijie Yang suddenly stood up, astonished.
I don't actually want to be a photographer!
Sijie Yang finally realized that being a photographer was not his real dream. The thought of being a photographer had only been a reflection of his desire to be independent; it had only been a placeholder. In actuality, he could now be whatever he wanted to be, regardless of whether it was a photographer, a painter, a musician, or a writer.
It was not about the career path he chose; it was about him being independent and beginning to listen to himself, and making his own decisions, instead of being in his father's shadow!
Sijie Yang felt hurt and confused. He had realized that being a photographer was not what he really wanted. He had lost his goal in an instant, and now didn't know what to do.
What Sijie Yang had wanted was the freedom to make his own choices. He now had that. His father respected his choice, but Sijie Yang did not know what was next.
You are the owner of your own youth!
Dai Li's words kept appearing in his mind.
Sijie Yang looked toward the corner of the room subconsciously. He had left his training clothes there. He walked towards them, picked the tracksuit up, and looked at it quietly.
Suddenly, the memory of him winning the championship as a middle school student for the first time when he was 14 years old popped into his mind. He still remembered that he had tried his best, and had run the fastest when the starting gun sounded. It had been five years, but the scene was still fresh in his mind, almost as if it had just happened.
He turned around and looked at his shelf, where a gold trophy was sitting. It was his first trophy. There was some dust on it; it was no longer shiny.
Sijie Yang couldn't help walking towards the trophy and grabbing it. He suddenly felt like he was not just holding a trophy, but something he should never let go.
Five years! I've been training for five years! Sijie Yang lowered his head. Tears started flowing from his eyes nonstop. Sijie Yang had finally realized what he had given up and lost.
After five years of training, Sijie Yang had become an athlete. There were still athlete juices in his body. The word "athlete" almost felt as if it was embedded in his body; it could not be erased.
I am an athlete!
Sijie Yang finally understood what he truly wanted.
On the training field.
Dai Li turned to Guohong Wang and said, "To make this movement work, you have to put down your leg as fast as you can when you reach the highest position. While you're doing this, you also have to lower your front leg so it can support your hip more easily…"
Dai Li demonstrated the position as he spoke, but noticed that Guohong Niu was not looking at him; instead, he was looking at the entrance to their training space. Dai Li turned around and saw a familiar figure.
Sijie Yang? Didn't he quit? Why is he back? And why is he wearing training clothes? Dai Li found the situation odd at first, but the next second he realized what was happening.
Sijie Yang walked towards Dai Li quickly, looking at him with a determined look on his face.
"Coach, I've made up my mind; I am an athlete! I want to be a real athlete!"
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