No English? No Problem!

Friday, July 03, 2009

A Manifesto to Glass Trombones

Why does it usually take a narrow and painful brush with death for society to give us the permission slip to pursue our dreams, no matter how unconventional? Why can't we do this for people who are surviving very well physically? Was just reading an article on another cancer survivor in Reader's Digest and thinking if she was not afflicted with cancer, if she had lost all her money, or if she had failed in her venture, her story would have never been printed.

Think about it: How many stories do you see of people who are young, energetic, who forgo a real job, who put all their energies into pursuing crazy passions for, I don't know, glass trombones, and who lose all their money, their girlfriends, and end up living with their parents but yet never regret what they have lived?

Because these people we regard as failures in our sense of the word. We don't want to read or know about people who dedicate their lives to making the most elaborately sculpted glass trombones, because we don't like glass trombones. We don't want to read or know about people who lose all their money and their girlfriends and their reputations for mental sanity because in our sense of the world, they have failed. They came into their lives and left with nothing in their hands. To us, they have wasted the precious resource that is life and have left with no tangible or intangible [at least to us] gains.

We want to read about people who beat the odds and survived and nyet, flourished in what they loved to do, because that is what we want for ourselves. We like the stories about cancer/leukaemia/heart disease survivors who nearly died and because of that, spent the rest of their lives fighting for other dying people/made loads of money because that ties in so nicely with what we believe our lives should be like. And the world readily fans that by feeding us more stories of the latest person who added 10 more years to his life, because he got diagnosed with a life-threatening syndrome, so he quit his job, and spent the rest of his life cycling around the world.

1. Life is not a zero-sum game. You don't have to always get something out of it.

2. Even to fail at something grand is to achieve something out of life. A grandiose failure or a mediocre life?

3. Stop waiting for the world to give you permission to do what you want to do.

I think I also know that I'm writing this kind of post today because this is something I have to remind myself of every now and then. How easily does life suck you up in its vacuum cleaner! Only when you get stuck in there do you realise that the 'blow' button is almost unreachable. When you get caught up in the everyday scrambling for the bus, for the next paycheck, or worrying about your hospitalisation plan, too easy to forget how, if you were about to die in the next 3 months, none of this would matter anymore to you.

So I have to remind myself, to live life, to pursue lofty ideals, instead of sober realities.

1. Skip work if you have to blog.

2. Even if you have to work, surround yourself with beauty and music.

3. In a matter of time, nothing you do at the office will matter anymore.

4. And if the world laughs at you, laugh back. After a while, they will worry if they are the ones that are the really mad ones. And then you can really laugh.

No comments: