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This digital age has given us so much, but somehow, among the internet chatter, it has also taken away that magical feeling we got when we found something we never knew we wanted to find. The serendipity we once treasured is no more. I used to love exploring a stranger’s CD cases, video collections, photo albums, and even their books. Perusing personal collections that can usually be found in someone’s living room allowed me to measure the owner’s tastes. Alas, I cannot find CD cases anymore, as they have disappeared inside the iPod, videos have become obsolete, as there is now Netflix, books have ended up inside a Kindle, and photos have been publicized for all to see on Instagram, Facebook, etc. With the big 4-0 looming in the near horizon, I have started to panic, realizing that I might be too late to board the whole “love in the digital world” bandwagon. Has my desire for that old-time serendipity and face-to-face discovery gotten in the way of my ability to find love? I cannot help it that I am an old-school, sentimental guy.

So what is my fate in love? Yesterday during my good friend’s 40th birthday dinner, I was surrounded by at least three people who could read “Ba Zi.” “Ba Zi” is a part of Chinese Astrology and is built around the Four Pillars of Destiny as a way to forecast a person’s future. Literally, Ba Zi means eight characters, and they are formed by the year, month, day, and hour of one’s birth and they are stacked in groups to form the four pillars. I have never had anyone read my “Ba Zi” before, as I believe that the plan that my Lord has for me is fantastic and amazing (AMEN to that!). But peer pressure made me succumb to giving these three people my Ba Zi, and immediately they whipped out their smartphones and began to dissect my “fate”. (smartphones. How convenient)

My personality analysis was spot on. Somehow the smartphone app knew what type of person I am. I was intrigued and wanted to know more: Will my company survive? Will my career be smooth sailing? Will I get married? According to the Ba Zi app, there is a “dark circle” in my love life (the translation from Chinese to English is complicated), and it means that I will not be able to find anyone if I remain stagnant and resistant to change. But, if I do change my attitude towards love and our digital world, then the “One” will appear next year. It is amazing that love is still possible for a skeptic like me. Supposedly, the Ba Zi analysis is important so that we can live our life without regrets by knowing which areas in our life need fine tuning. Instead of wishing one could turn back time to change a few things in life, we have to know what the future may hold for us so that we can change ourselves for the better to change our fate. “Change yourself, change your fate” (if “Ba Zi” were a company, this sentence would be their slogan definitely).

Being the over-thinker, I started to get apprehensive the more I thought about change and opening myself up. When one has been single for a long time and suddenly there is a possibility that another person is going to enter your life, it is both terrifying and stifling. I worry about my freedom at all times, and knowing that I need to make reasonable sacrifices in my schedule with no guarantee of a happy ending is kind of scary. Heartbreak is a formidable threat. It is not uncommon for people to go to great lengths to avoid the torment of a broken heart, and I honestly think I am one of those people. Some avoid engaging too deeply with any romantic partners while others consider love to be silly, irrational, fleeting – a waste of energy or something only for the young. This is understandable, since heartbreak really is a pain in the ass, regardless of whether the path to heartbreak started in a digital or analog world.

Still, we are wired for love and it is not easy to escape. Inevitably, each of us will somehow fall in love, get crushed to the ground and broken into pieces. But we will pick ourselves up again before falling into another love cliff. It is just the way we operate. No matter how strong our self-protective measures are, we still often end up longing for the irresistible someone even though it is absolutely frightening. Now, the question is whether you will just let fate take its course and let love find you, or are you going to proactively download the latest app, take the latest sexy pic of yourself, and start swiping for the right person? Whether you are the former or the latter, maybe downloading the “Ba Zi” app to see whether you have dark circle in your love planet is an important step to moving forward. Let me know if you are in the same category as I am. Singletons always welcome company.