While Singapore dramas these days seem to be obsessed with the supernatural genre, I heard from my sister that over in China, there have lately been quite a few new Chinese dramas dabbling with the recurring theme of time loops. Just a couple of months ago, I watched one such drama titled “Reset” on Netflix with her.
Reset (Chinese: 开端) is a 2022 Chinese time-travel/whodunit series based on a novel by Qidaojun. It tells the story of a college student Li Shiqing and a video game designer Xiao Heyun who are trapped in a time loop on a soon-to-explode bus.
After repeatedly finding herself dying in an explosion while riding the same bus, Li Shiqing finally concludes that she is stuck in a never-ending time loop. Inadvertently, she drags fellow passenger Xiao Heyun into her loop. They then realise that there are chances to disembark from the bus and avoid the explosion. They also discover that calling the police is counterproductive and leads to them being interrogated as suspects instead of being able to avert the disaster. Taking the matter into their own hands, they pair up to find the dangerous bomber on the bus. (from Wikipedia)
Implications of Time Loops in my life
You know how the events happening in your life seem to repeat themselves in a cycle over and over again until you finally do something right? Each time it happens, it might not be the exact same situation you would find yourself in but it could be of a similar nature under slightly different conditions that forces you to come to face a same decision point or dilemma. If you are allowed to start all over again, would you still make the same decision or would you do something different this time in order to change the future, just like how the pair try different ways to save the passengers and themselves from the bus explosion in each time loop in the drama?
Schizophrenia – A Time Travel Back In Time To Save My Old Self?
One thing that puzzled me was why I was uncontrollably drawn to the song “The Scientist” by Coldplay when I went through my onset of schizophrenia in 2013. The lyrics write about how the character wishes to go back to the start, him running in circles and wanting to change certain events or undo a mistake that happened in the past… The music that was so melancholic to the point that it was kind of depressing yet beautiful to listen to (read more)…. “Time Machine” by SNSD also had a similar effect during that same time of my schizophrenia onset while they were on their 2nd Japan Tour (read more)… One explanation for schizophrenia that I did ponder about of was the possibility of a disruption in time caused by the interception of my future self with my present self, thereby resulting in my confusion with reality. Could it be I am now living in a different reality and my original reality could have been far worse if it hadn’t been for schizophrenia? Or could schizophrenia be a mistake that my future self badly wanted to go back in time to save my past self from?
Multiple Resets To Break Free From The Mind-Singing Ghost Contract with In-Between Jobs
Due to my initial uncertainty over the purpose of mind-singing, I faced a great deal of opposing energies pushing me away from and pulling me into doing it. Many times after expressing my intentions of stopping, there were always something that pulled me back at it again even though the outcome was always the same – no achievements and recognition for what I had done (like the bus explosion in every time loop except the last one in the drama). It was like being fooled into doing something for free under the illusion of getting a good reward at the end.
In my other post, I discussed about how mind-singing was like a form of ghost contract which I had been unknowingly and reluctantly signed on to. So far I had been through at least 2 resets or so-called time loops of getting job offers (from BST and Singtel) under the disguise of renewing the ghost contract for mind-singing. It’s quite a scary concept but it’s true. How many times were I lured to a job that would give me a stable pay in exchange for my free service to do mind-singing, but in reality I was actually working double jobs without adequate monetary compensation equally from both sides? Practically speaking, if I could choose for myself, it is wiser to focus my energy on only the one job that actually pays and recognises me reasonably for the work I do for real. Similar to what I wrote in my earlier post about schizophrenia being misused as a cult, I might have been led astray by the voices in my head and other illusions, causing me to be blinded and deceived yet and yet again by the fake glory of mind-singing. And so, the time loops would never end; year after year the same thing or situation that I wanted to avoid kept coming back to me unless I had done something right.
The Last “Factory” Reset with COVID-19
After I was determined not to renew my contract with Singtel (so as not to renew that ghost contract for mind-singing at the same time) and started taking up only ad-hoc part-time jobs, things ended up a lot more difficult than I thought. Earning only meagre pay not enough to sustain my living and pay off my bills… My savings that I earned from all my previous jobs dwindled close to zero… My situation had become so bad that my future already seemed so bleak and was unlikely to get any better… It was at my lowest point that COVID happened.
This particular reset was like a long-haul, most total and complete reset (like the factory reset on your phone), making me experience similar things that I had already gone through way back in life all over again but in a much more fast-tracked manner (just like how each time the two main characters in the drama wake up in a new time loop, the time is brought earlier by a minute away from the explosion). During this COVID period, I started working part-time jobs again, like how I used to work several ad-hoc jobs during school holidays to earn pocket money. I returned to school again, taking a short course at Republic Polytechnic for about 3 months. After re-experiencing life as a student, I found a temporary 5-month contract job, initially to cover another staff in the company for her maternity leave. It was akin to taking up internship during my university days, getting a taste of how it’s like being in the workforce again and treating myself like a beginner despite already having 4 years of prior work experience. Later on after 5 months, I was then converted to a full-time permanent staff in the same company, back to earning a fixed monthly income again that was almost comparable to my starting pay at my first job 4 years ago…
It’s like my whole life, even down to my income, was getting reset and restarted back to where I started on a brand new page, experiencing the different stages in my life all over again. But have I done everything right this time? Is this the very last “time loop” that I would have to go through now just like the very last final time loop in the drama? Is this the right way to go now?
Whatever it is, there’s definitely one lesson that I had taken away for sure with me from all my previous “time loops”. That is, to always be humble and never take things for granted for you would never know when things might change again, for better or worse. As the saying goes, “change is the only constant in life”. I guess, no matter what happens now or how many time loops there are in life, the most important thing to do right now is to embrace the present and enjoy it while it lasts.