Fight World Hunger

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Saturday, November 09, 2002

a realist?

My feet gets wet,
as I walk through a shallow stream.
My sunburnt skin,
when I walk under the sun.
What is this life,
that you consider so special?
When all that remains,
is burnt skin, and wet feet?

Sometimes, the simple pleasures of life does a three sixty and whacks you in the head. Everyone imagines a beautiful life. Most may even associate it with perfection as they see fit. But what if perfection isn’t what its all cut out to be. What if you get bored with things going the way they are that perfection becomes repetition, and thus perfection becomes normality? When that sinks in would you think imperfection is perfection because it is unpredictable?

Almost everyone I talk to have never ending dreams of being and doing the exact opposite of what they are, or what they are doing now. The poor man wants riches no matter the consequences and methods. The average man seeks adventure and the rich man seeks peace and tranquility. Would they provide with a life long sense of achievement, or are these requests merely attractive because of its unavailability?

I found myself at a local bank today, doing my everyday chores. The bank was under some form of construction, it was actually quite poorly ventilated and there was a sense of murkiness in the bank, probably due to the construction materials around the area. There were three somewhat hyperactive kids scrambling at the back seat, having fun, I suppose. I was not in a mood to entertain, but I watched intently as they ran about, carefree – truly happy. In the row of seats in front were 2 old men. They didn’t know each other; one was an old Chinese man with a neon blue Nestle cap, probably a free gift. You could see his balding head and the white hairs sticking out of the cap’s edges. In his hand were his bankbook, deposit slip and queue number, tightly gripped by his aging wrinkled fingers in a neat stack. I concluded that he was somewhat a perfectionist to be holding all his papers symmetrically so. But then I realized I was doing the same thing too.

Then I looked at myself; too old to be carefree, too young to be retired. I am at what they generally refer to as ‘the peak of your life’. Life is indeed what you make of it. The whole building process seems like a slow and daunting task. You hardly see much, if any progress as you are trying to pay up all your bills on time. A diversified portfolio? I wonder how some can even manage that at this age. But at least I can say I worked for the things I have, utilize and enjoy. This hardly feels like any ‘peak’ when you think about it. Just an average person being squeezed by major corporations trying to make every last cent you’ve got.

It does worry me that I will end up like the perfectionist old man at the bank. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it is more of, what will I be thinking of as that old man at a bank? Perhaps I will look at the small kids scrambling about differently, I wouldn’t really be thinking along the lines of ‘carefree’ more as I would be thinking about ‘grand-children’. But I would look at the twenty something chap in his semi-presentable khakis and barely pressed shirt and think; am I what he wants to be? Indeed life has so much to offer. Is it really enough to think that normality is sufficient? Or do you think that striving for perfection increases our odds of living our dreams?