A LETTER TO MY ELDEST CHILD
My ever dearest daughter,
You expressed an air of relief or some kind of frustration last night when you sent this message to me “…sometimes I hope the world would be less complicated, less pruning. Glad friends and relatives keep me sane.” You may also, I submit for your perusal, include books and notebooks for that matter. Because if all else fail, it boils down to just one—your self. I remember sometime in the distant past when there was this quiz craze in the school campus when a question was circulated with the following inquiry: “If you will be marooned in an island all by yourself, what are the three things that you will bring?” We had fun answering it; we even intentionally answered it foolishly. We were young, unattached and the world was our playground. We never cared about life at all. Caring and well being were within the jurisdiction of our parents. We can safely afford to be care free.
But as one matures and is exposed to the vagaries of life—a short, at times, challenging and pain consuming life—one wonders, more so if he is all alone, by himself, what it is that makes him safe, secured, sane? He begins to think back and try to enumerate, perhaps appreciate where he is or where he should be or where he is headed to. Looking for meaning, defining every instance, wondering whether there is something to be done or probably folding up for doing something worth leaving, contemplating whether there is still something the world can offer or maybe some plans which the world is as yet to expect from one self. That is right. You said it correctly. Life is complicated nowadays. You add technology and presto! Life is a mixture of everything civilization has jumbled and muddled in the course of its evolution.
That is why there was this fad before, a “back to the basics” movement. There was wisdom in said activity although it never achieved quite a following. It was drowned with the latest innovation in the field of technology. The movement was something worth looking into anyway. It boiled down to contemplation, praying if you may, on reflecting in one corner, call it your room or your favorite side of the altar. No, not to perform a rite or ritual or some kind of incantation, but just to sit and focus on one matter, say a lighted candle, or a blank paper. In other words, only one activity (no multitasking). One tries to strip off everything that meant complication: processed foods, television shows, and dependency on Google or face book, malling, chatting, downloading apps, counting friends or savings, even expenses.
In my case, I scribble. I have an endless list to do as a matter of fact which makes me sane all throughout. I try to list down all my friends and describe them. I tell you its fun. Sometimes, I try to list down all those who became my opponents, those who try to pull me down and describe them physically and my fun is doubled. I have a lot of foolish ideas too; a separate notebook is reserved for that. I write a lot and it is not only very rewarding, it makes me stable and my thoughts always fresh. Thinking is what makes us human; reflection restores us back to humanity. A reading chore, even for a while, is a welcome break. But laughter, that capability to laugh at ourselves, at our mistakes, even at others (although you should not poke a rude joke at anyone, but you can write it down in your diary nonetheless) in other words, the capacity to see incongruity, fulfills our equilibrium. I tell you its more fun that way.
And when you begin to appreciate, to have fun, then life becomes meaningful. As your world becomes platonic and at times swirling through insanely, you feel you are alone in the universe enjoying every minute of the time.
And when that happens, no, you will not become a philosopher or a writer of note or a sage. You simply become your good old self, respectful, vibrant and ever youthful. Also, you will be projecting to your environment a capable, strong and a settled ally to those that matters to you. That in essence is what we really wanted to in the first place.
Take care always.
Your Loving Papey