Have you ever lost meaning in life, or suddenly lost the goal that you were trying so hard to reach?
This may seem pessimistic, but most of us have felt this way at some point in life.
The 12-episode Chinese Tv series “Remembrance of Things Past”(我在他乡挺好的) reveals the pressure and struggles that the next generation faces. The series offers advice on releasing stress and finding a place for oneself in the huge crowded world.
Caution: There might be slight spoilers in the article below. If the description got your attention, go watch it on the MangoTV Drama Youtube channel with English subtitles!
Come back with your own thoughts and insights!
“Remembrance of Things Past” tells the story of four young girls from a small town, who try to pursue their dreams in the big city: Beijing.
Unlike the popular sweet romantic shows, this is more realistic and closer to reality. It portraits their hardships in personal and professional life, with special attention to the toxic workplace culture.
The TV series starts off unusually – one of the girls, Hu Jingjing, commits suicide.
The following episodes focus on her other 3 friends as they try to cope with the loss of their close friend. Together they figure out what drove seemingly the most optimistic person of all of them to end her life by jumping off the bridge.
Her sudden death is a shock, so the friends start looking for evidence of her secret struggles. They gradually put the pieces together and find the real Hu Jingjing behind the happy mask she put on.
They find that she was diagnosed with depression.
Her job loss on her birthday was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Her toxic boss accused her of leaving on time and not helping out her colleagues. In other words, he fired her because she was so efficient that she did not do any overtime.
His criticism itself was a denial of years of her hard work. She began to doubt what is right and what is wrong in this society.
In addition, the pressure coming from her family and her financial situation all contributed to her death on the day, which should have been the happiest day in the whole year.
As her friends grieve, they also find a deeper meaning in their lives and ways to thrive in the metropolis.
They continue to navigate their own problems in life, varying from romantic and work-related struggles to cancer recovery.
Through the 12 episodes, we see their growth, the gradual change in their mindset, and the value of life. We gain new perspectives on our lives along with them.
As one of the main characters, Qiao Xi Chen, once said, “I love Beijing, because it is huge. It is huge so there will be a place for you; it is huge, so it can tolerate your small mistakes.”
We as the outsiders of the story wonder, “but how did they not notice the change in her behavior? Isn’t it obvious?”
In fact, Hu Jingjing was a great pretender. She chose to only bring happiness to her family and friends.
She put the antidepressants in a vitamin container so others wouldn’t find out. She always had a smile on her face; she never shared the struggles in her life.
So how do we know when a friend or a family member is struggling with mental health issues?
We may never know.
It is important to check in with your friends and family from time to time to see how they are doing. Listen to them and notice the change in their lifestyle or way of talking.
As you will also see in this show, Hu Jingjing had a very good relationship with her friends, they were there for her, caring for her, she was just very good at hiding her feelings. But at the same time, we should realize that nothing can be hidden perfectly.
Everyone is busy living their own lives, so were Hu Jingjing’s friends. There is nothing wrong with that.
However, hopefully as more and more TV series and movies highlight mental health issues, we can become more aware and learn to check in on the people around us regularly.
If you are struggling or feeling down, please talk to your family and friends. Don’t keep it inside. Seek professional help when needed.
And remember that you are never alone fighting in the darkness.