May 23, 2024

They say, we do not age by years but by stories. I learned an important lesson at the onset of the New Year from reading stories of Japanese authors.
In the story, “Sword” written by Yukio Mishima, he said, “The important thing for a human being is to learn and master one thing… it all depends on your grip whether you make that little bit of shaped shampoo come to life or let it stay dead.”
Emotions like pain, hatred, and sadness, all has started small. When we nurse it, it grows but when ignored, it dies. People carry emotional baggage, by internalizing fights, and keeping record of the errors of other people.
One time during our yearly picnic on Jan. 1 at the Burnham Park, I was holding at one hand the strings of balloons I bought, on the other I grip tightly on the small hand of my niece Shekina as we make path in the sea of people, walking, talking and smiling at the beautiful views and sunny weather. If I let go of the differently colored balloons, I would think of red for hatred, blue for sadness, green for pain, and violet for fear. But I firmly hold of the small hand of my niece, of the people – friends and family – important to me. The warmth and company they give. Their frailty whether big or small however I can choose to ignore for my peace’ sake, their errors won’t scratch my soul and if I’m holding an egg and crush it due to impatience and anger I would be reminded to plead for balance and recompensate my mistake.
In the story, “Strange Weather in Tokyo” by Hiromi Kawakami, a beautiful sad ending can teach us of how to let go but hold firm to the memories of people who left us. Kawakami wrote, “It all seems so long ago. The time I spent with Sensei – at first casually, then deepening in intensity – slipped past… Sensei, I hope we see each other again one day, I say. And from the ceiling, Sensei replies, surely, we shall see each other one day.”
Life is like the weather, some days are good, some days are bad but it will all come to pass.
A teacher can resign from work and go abroad, others to marry and become a full-time parent, or simply change career and permanently leave the loads of paper works and toxic environment. Yet, on the other hand, a contractor can get a project by simply bribing or buying votes, or a matter of palakasan system can land him a sum of money. Life is strange too, bad things can happen to good people or bad people are also rewarded.
In the story, “Nocturnes” by Kazuo Ishiguro, a jazz musician thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance.
Ishiguro wrote, “So how does someone like me get to be here among these stars and millionaires? I guess it started with my manager… what he was saying, in a nutshell, was that I was ugly. ‘Look at Marcus Lightfoot, Kris Bugoski or Tarrentini. Do any of them have a signature sound the way you do? No. But they look right, so doors keep opening for them’.”
This New Year, life could be held in balance of letting go or holding firm. Life is like dancing in a strange weather – come rain or shine.
Finally, life can lounge an adverse change, change outwardly or inward – surely these are paths we cannot undo. We are all forging a path, weaving our story piece by piece – what’s important is we continue to live. The goal is live.