A Beautiful Paradox

I grew up with this notion of life – that since life is hard, everyone would be equally nice to each other – but I learnt recently that not everyone is nice. We are all victims to our own experience, hurt and eventually we become more and more wary whom we give our uttermost human service aka kindness to.

Believe it or not, accept it or not, we are all money driven one way or the other. We rush to work every weekday or sometimes, on weekends because our work offers income. This income brings food to the table, allows us to spend and live the life we desire.

But what is exactly the kind of life we want? Is life about dwelling a contented, three-story bungalow, driving our dream car or being able to travel everywhere we could without worrying about how much we are going to spend? Or is it about everything listed and more?

Could we unconsciously be vying for power? We want the power to control and the power to make decisions because we are simply too tired listening to the higher-up.

Whatever they are, we thrive to reach those life goals. We take every step we can. We measure every risk we can possibly think of.

Our “dream” life then makes us a goal eccentric individual, which means we cannot be nice to everyone. We have our loved ones and dreams at stake. Selfishness then becomes a necessity.

I reflected on my experience with humans and my countless interaction with every one of them during my travel and coincidental bumps.

I now understand this sad yet powerful thing about humanity – that we can never be 100% kind to each other – yet at the same time, we have to be kind. I now understand this truth as a beautiful paradox.

We have to be kind. But we cannot be too kind.

So where do we draw the line?

Honestly, I still have no idea how. For multiple times I’ve crossed the line I drew and too many times I have retreated and moved two steps back from the same line.

But what I know for sure is the brutality of listening to your gut feelings – not necessarily following them. They somehow already know what you want, what you don’t want and potential catastrophes you might have brushed off.

I emphasized listening not necessarily following because we would never actually fully follow our gut feelings. We simply don’t have the guts too. It is too scary, risky and what if our feelings ended up being wrong? So I don’t coerce obedience towards my instinct anymore. Listening works much better.

In summary, I learn that the perception of life then is not about being right or wrong. It is also not about being rich or poor. Neither it is about living a balanced life. Rather, it is about being entirely certain that sometimes, life just happens to kick you in the butt and throw you up in the sky – we just have to enjoy this beautiful paradox one day at a time.

“My heart is at ease knowing what was meant for me will never miss me, and what misses me was never meant for me.”

One Day by David Nicholls & My Incomplete Short Love Story

(If you are intending to read the novel, One Day by David Nicholls, I am warning you this post is quite a spoiler. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, ok…)

This novel is soooo addictive  and damn it, David Nicholls, you are so right about a lot of things and you write so beautifully I can just dream about Em and Dex for a long time now. Tyvm.

I am actually reading the book for the second time because I kinda forgot (besides the ending) the details in the story. Also, I really love rereading books. This is also why sometimes it takes me quite a while to complete a novel. Haha. I’d be rereading chapters I like over and over again, replaying the scenes in my head. Honestly, rereading a good novel is so enjoyable. You can recollect a chapter anytime you want and plus, it’s like time traveling except it’s free and I am in someone else’s world and thoughts – like a spy!

Here’s a favourite quote of mine from One Day:

“What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another, it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer to an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.

So deep, profound and spot on.

Just googled David Nicholls and he is actually pretty young! and he does give me the “Dexter Mayhew” vibe.

Sorry, David. I kind of visualised you as an old man…. gulp.

They turned this story into a movie but I haven’t watched it because I think I don’t want to be sad and I am still rereading the novel… lol.

Talking about romance novels, I can’t believe I actually came up with the story below 3 years ago.  If I remember correctly, this story (or chapter) was supposed to be part of a compilation of short romance stories I was thinking of completing but still haven’t because I am truly a full-time procrastinator. And right now, I don’t really remember how I want this story to end so I guess I’d be procrastinating again…..

 Une

A cluster of stars was above them and she watched his pale white face stare at hers. There had been many disagreements but as they looked into each others’ eyes, there was an immediate silent concord. It was though they could read each other’s mind. They said if she was Mary then he would be Joseph. If she was Eve then he would be Adam. But she remembered telling them after, she wants to be no one else but herself, and if they could be anything, they would be just them.

The world is weird, he mumbled. Full of people who do not understand, never understand. Full of miserable people. People who hide their innermost feelings. People who bore themselves out with the world. People who hide their emotions. And most of the time, people who are full of themselves.

What do you mean? She asked. Aren’t we all full of ourselves? She remembered herself looking into the mirror perfecting her face with the many makeup products she had. We are all full of ourselves, she said. One way or the other. We look after ourselves. No one can look after you if you don’t look after yourself.

And maybe that’s why she was independent. Maybe thats why they were different, he thought. He, he was always in deep thought about things. A lot of things. He was always thinking. Thinking like a philosopher. While she, she was always like a prima diva. When she walked, they turned and stared at her. When she talked, they listened. They loved her. For some reason, they really loved her. He had found it at first amusing. He had never met anyone quite like her. Someone who didn’t quite fit it but yet so well-loved by everyone she met. His mother even once told him that she was like a red beryl, a rare gem that shines on her own, whether she liked it or not. He agreed. When they first met, he couldn’t stop staring at her. Until then, he still couldn’t. But unlike a red beryl, she wasn’t easily distinguished. If the train did not break down that day, if he had chosen to stay home instead of going to work, he wouldn’t have bumped into her and they wouldn’t have met. Things would be different. Funny how a change in the course of his life could have meant so much now.

But he heard her. She had told him to look after himself. He was not a stupor. He was not daft. He knew how not to trouble anyone. Why did she have to mention that? He was not like the people they met last night at that windy park. He was different. He knew he was different, why couldn’t she see? But.. But…he loved her. Her ivory pale empty face. Her long brown luscious hair. The little folds of fats she mentioned but he could not notice. The smell of her perfume that still lingered in the morning. Her laughter. Oh yes, her contagious laughter. So maybe that is why. He thought. That is why they say, if he were Adam, she would be Eve. Maybe that was why.