We live in a society that even inexplicitly wants us to
follow rules. Unwritten regulations that are the norm. If you go against them,
it is not only frowned upon, but you are seen as a reactionary, even an
outcast. Simply because you don’t conform.
But it is not those who follow the path of the masses who
ever accomplished anything. It is those who don’t fear to find a way of their
own. Who have the courage to be different.
But until you find the strength to do something out of the ordinary, most of the time you are forced to live in hypocrisy. To socialise and be polite to people you are not even fond of, to behave “appropriately” according to context, to press “like” on social networks even if you don’t, to make positive comments even when you don’t believe them, to act constantly out of the character you know you are, simply because this is what is “socially acceptable”.
We live our lives in
fear of “what others will think or say” of us. And as such we end up
suppressing our potential, hiding our true feelings and at times even dumbing
ourselves down because the level of those surrounding us is so much lower.
What if we didn’t do all of this? What if we didn’t oppress
ourselves the way we do? What if we didn’t care what others would say? What if
we simply did what would make us happy and make us feel satisfied and proud of
who we are? The world would definitely seem a better place, if only because we
would feel more comfortable in it.
“A pessimist forgets
to laugh. But an optimist laughs to forget”. He was of the latter type. You
never quite knew though what he was trying to forget. He wouldn’t let you in.
Perhaps he was afraid of what you would find. Or that it would ruin the image
you had of him, of the person who was positive about everything and who always
found a silver lining behind every cloud.
He was sort of like that magical nanny Mary Poppins who was
“practically perfect in every way”
and who brought excitement and thrill to everyone around her.
He too believed that there was no better time than today.
There was no reason to complicate things and agreed that “anything can happen if you let it” because “everything is possible, even the impossible”.
One day his wife found him sitting in silence staring
outside the window into the rain. She asked what was wrong. He answered “nothing”. She was shocked. Nothing is a
word that can mean anything and everything. And it is never what it connotes – it
is never really nothing. So she decided to follow his path of thinking. “Nothing is ever truly lost or gone, it is
only out of place”. She stopped and saw him sigh. “When the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is turn right
along with it” she uttered. He immediately turned his frown into a wide
smile. He was touched that she had adopted his mentality when he needed it the
He believed that there is always a different point of view
to things if you simply change your position and look further. After all,
wherever you stand, there is “nowhere to
go but up”.
It was still dark outside when the suitcase was pulled out
from under the bed. A change of clothes and some basic toiletries were thrown
hastily inside and the zip closed.
The dream had woken him almost in shock. It was as if
something was calling him there.
In his sleep he had seen a puppy, a months-old dog that had
found him by chance when he was staying for a while at his uncle’s farm. They bonded
in a way that seemed karmic. And then, just two days before his rural stay ended,
his four-legged friend disappeared. The sadness that had overwhelmed him made
him not want to return to that farm since.
Until today. Now something was pulling him there.
There was no time to dwell on the thought. The impulse was enough
to get him going.
It was a drive that lasted almost all through sunrise to
It was a lonely road trip, dominated by scenic valley views,
week-old snow and lots of fog. Driving through the mist, he arrived at the
farmhouse with his heart pounding. He hadn’t told his uncle he arrived. He was
ecstatic with the surprise.
But someone else was even happier. Jumping up and down next
to the horses and wagging its tail rapidly with joy.
It was a grown dog now. And he remembered. Because when it’s
meant to be, it lasts a lifetime.
There are certain things you (can) do to get your mind off certain
circumstances. Especially when those thoughts cause a change in mood, dishearten
you and bring you down. One of the most recommended one is to clean the house. It
is the best way to keep yourself occupied. Plus you get the added bonus of
having a clean lodging afterwards.
When Marie put on her rubber gloves and took to general
cleaning, she never expected the surprise she found wedged between the living
room wall and the bookcase.
It was a note folded in four. It appeared worn in the sands
It was handwritten in a blue pen with calligraphic lettering
that revealed sentiment in the script.
“May you live each day
as if it is a wonder. May yourevel
at each new experience. May you never cease to learn, to read, to live. May you
always be inspired by everything around you so that you too may be the
inspiration for those around you. May you acknowledge your worth even when
others don’t. May you never stop caring
for others, no matter who they are, small or big, two-legged or four-legged, bigger
or smaller. May you dream, aspire, struggle, accomplish. May you comprehend
that we achieve something even in our failures. May you be brave enough to
survive the hardships, take the tough choices and be courageous enough to
change things when it is time. May you always smile. May you never stop
believing in magic.
There was no sign of it in the morning. Even before the sun
was out, there was frost in the atmosphere and it was freezing. But it was
expected to stay dry. It was in the midst of winter, however, and snow was
always a possibility.
Not even a half hour had passed when the first snowflake hit
The Chihuahua inside the warm vehicle got excited. As if it
had understood the magic that was happening. It began to hop on the seat,
stretching out its little tongue as if to lick the snowflakes that began to
mount on the glass in front of it.
The driver next to the small dog was smiling. Not only
because of the white scenery that began to spread rapidly now; but mainly due
to the unexpected reaction from his four-legged friend.
When the road began to become more slippery, they slowed
down. Caution was required.
That was when the little dog pinned its eyes outside a
certain spot on the window and began to bark. Its tail was elongated like a
The driver stopped and got outside.
The snow was even denser now. You could almost feel it
falling on you. The Chihuahua managed to slip outside just before the car door
There in front of them, near some snow-covered bushes was a
furry bagel-like-circle. You could barely make out its pointy ears and fluffy
tail. The snowflakes had almost engulfed it.
The dog’s owner approached cautiously and extended his hand.
The fox opened its eyes. It didn’t move. Perhaps it was too scared. Or perhaps
it was too numb from the cold. Its piercing blue-green eyes almost begged for
The driver picked it up without breaking the circle it had
sat in. Inside the warmth of the car, the fox fluffed up its fur and almost
appeared to smile.
The Chihuahua was happy. It didn’t want to be enjoying the
luxury of a refuge when some other co-animal was freezing outside. Just because
you’re safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is too.
When Grandpa got up with the rising sun, he did not expect
that the front door wouldn’t open. Neither the back. He knew it was going to be
a difficult day. But for some, it would be exactly the opposite.
He tip-toed into Jenny’s room and gently shook her to waken
her from dreamland. She half-opened her eyes and stretched every inch of her small
“Good morning, Grandpa,”
“There’s a surprise
outside your window,” he smiled.
She jumped out of bed and looked outside.
Everything was white. An impeccable white blanket had
covered everything as far as she could see. It was snowing all night and it
continued to do so now. They were snowed in.
Grandpa was concerned because they were somewhat isolated in
the village and their resources were scarce. He was planning to go into town today,
had the weather permitted it. But few things in life usually go according to
Jenny was excited; she was jumping up and down and rushing
to put on warm clothes in order to run outside. It was freezing, but enthusiasm
always keeps you warm.
“Come on Grandpa, let’s
go build a snowman!” she called as she tried to open the door.
The old man used a shovel, back-aching and almost sweating
in the sub-zero temperatures, striving to open the door.
When he succeeded the little girl ran outside and dived into
There wasn’t much he could do anyway. He just had to wait
for assistance. So they might as well have some fun in the meantime.
Snow beautifies everything. It is nature’s magic that fills
your soul with wonder.
It was always on the table. Ever since it was set there in a
ceremonial style by the two of them.
No matter what happened after that, the fights, the
disagreements, the shouting, the heartbreaks, it was there. Left there as a
constant reminder of the good times.
Because the bad tempers would pass. And the light would be
The glass jar of coloured papers represented exactly that. The
positivity of our lives. The need to realise that it is not all black and
white. That there is colour. The one we create and we are responsible for
It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to
him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the
required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found
excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts
he would cough up at the moment.
Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he
found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you
did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain
as a person and as a character.
But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the
woods that day he went off-track.
It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent
was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical.
He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.
Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when
there’s none there’s delay”. He
knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.
After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the
cold, he decided to search for a back door.
There was one with an “entry”
Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read
about in storybooks.
“It took you long
enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace
and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.
“Had you figured out
the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from
the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.
“Simply stating your
desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act
upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see
your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.
Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by
chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley
“Stop denying the fact
that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now,
not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something
now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something
important. To show others you care. If
you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later
on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others
will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.
Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.
There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was
not for him to speak, but to listen.
“Character is built on
the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him