Inspiring Conversations

The Way Life Goes


  • SumoMe

Choking while talking with your mouth full, bruising your knees cycling without knee pads, we don’t need someone to come running to us after a fall just to tell us what we should have done in order to stay safe. We get hurt and we’re naturally inclined to know what not to do the next time. If slip-ups are jokes part of life’s master plan to enlighten us, then let them be a pedagogic ones. Lessons are learnt from life’s uncanny situations. It’s not the hard way, it’s the real way.

Penny C shares 5 things she’s glad no one told her while she was growing up.

1. “What’s with the smile? Santa Claus does not exist.”

Why so serious? Fortunately, no one shattered my dreams of Santa being real. No one challenged it. In fact, it’s probably because I’ve never openly questioned his existence. Nobody ever needed to cope with this frazzled little girl’s reservations about monsters under the bed, witches in the wardrobe and receiving Christmas gifts via chimney.

But this isn’t only about the man up north. It’ about the fact I was allowed to believe in things others deemed as hogwash – fairies, magic, Nessie, *insert other legendary characters*. The joy of no one meddling with my thoughts about what’s real and what’s not offered me the the liberty to slowly create a world that would only manifest itself into a haven; a happy retreat in my mind that proved extremely valuable when I got a lot older. It was fun to put a tooth under the pillow and not be upset even though a coin didn’t show up in the morning. Everything was up to my own discretion to believe; and believe it or not, this freedom of thought allowed me to consider the possibilities of the impossible happening. Nothing had its limits and everything else had hope.

2. “Are you stupid? Some people don’t mean what they say!”

“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” — Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)

I was starry-eyed. Despite the detrimental effects, I’m glad that I learnt about this on my own instead of someone constantly warning me about the ugly truth about pleasantries and formalities. If I had known early in life that to certain people, words didn’t hold any truth, I would have grown to become a cynic. At least now when you say you’ll call, it’s possible that you won’t. I won’t get hurt. But when I order ice cream and you say the flavour’s sold out, I know it’s not and you just want the remaining scoops at the bottom of the tub all to yourself, you greedy little waif!

3. “Study hard and earn lots of money!”

To be fair, I was told to always study hard. But I work with kids and when I ask them what they want to be when they grow up, a ten year old replied “A lawyer! Because I can make lots of money!”. An eight year old said, “I don’t want to be an artist because lawyers make more money.” When I was their age, money wasn’t even a factor when it came choosing a dream job. What happened to the potential astronauts, scientists, postmen, presidents, dancers, police officers, nurses and sports coaches?

Suggestions of high paying occupations were never shoved in my face and my childhood ambition of becoming a florist was well received by relatives. If it were otherwise, I might have sat there at the dining table, stupefied. Simply because the idea of earning big bucks would have limited my dreams and stopped me from doing something I was passionate about. Who knows, I might not cut out for life in a suit. Is it me or is it today’s society? Looks like everyone, including the kids, are chasing after the dollar signs…or at least a dollar sign necklace.

4. “So expensive! Don’t buy/lose/spoil it!”

How many times have you heard someone define the importance of their stuff by emphasising the price tag? I hear kids as young as 7 describing the wonders of their school bags, pencil cases and watches by stating how much the items cost. They warn friends not to misuse their belongings because it costs $24 or $200 (Obviously they’re confused, a school bag doesn’t cost $200). We should all grasp the principles of money but is this the way to do it?

Some parents practice the habit of not discussing money in front of their children and though there will be people who think it’ll spoil the kids, it could also turn out to be a much more effective learning method as years go by. Another way we learn about funds is through making our own mistakes. I’m sure the lessons will turn out louder and be much more costly in more ways than one. So right now when we’ve got all to live for, why are we living with a poverty mindset? Time to head out and buy that designer satchel I’ve been eyeing.

5. “TV is evil. Stay away. Don’t watch so much TV!”

I’m glad that I was able to watch all the TV I wanted, where would I have memories of the glorious TV programmes from the 1980s – 1990s? Life was good with Doug, Sooty, Biker Mice from Mars, Saber Rider, Postman Pat, Noddy, David the Gnome, Save the Bell, Weird Science, Clarissa Explains It All (the friggin’ list goes on and on)! Say hello to the incessant, anonymous TV theme songs playing in our heads when we’re sitting at our desks. Even if the shows weren’t classified as “Educational”, we’d still learn something good and earn some good laughs. TV is happiness.

We pick up words, boost a rather bizarre receptivity to humour, take a glimpse at how the rest of the world thinks and we’ve accumulated colourful memories throughout the years of wonderful TV. The joy doesn’t only stem from the feeling you get when you watch a programme, it’s also about how you feel when you stumble upon a discontinued TV programme somewhere on the web 10 years later. The sensation is the same as when the Glee girls perform Halo/Walking On Sunshine. Yup, it’s that sudden rush of adrenaline accompanied with an insane dose of delirium.

Happy Endings

These are only a handful of lessons that caught me off guard and got me right in the face like a banana cream pie. All I could do was eat up and enjoy what I could and get myself cleaned up after that. It’s cool how everything meaningful made an entrance into my life, wonderfully unannounced. Otherwise, I would have become some crazy, cynical chick doubting everything I thought I knew. These were good times, good times that made my delicate heart skip a beat.

One comment

  1. Hah… You watched Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs too!

    Btw, even adults still need to be taught #4. The quote I’ve been hearing a lot is to love people and use things, not the other way round.

    Come to think about it… Everything you own, iphone, laptop, car, designer bag, will become obsolete one day… Focus too much on them, and your friends will go too…

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