The One That Got Away
There was a sharp pull in my right foot as I ran to catch a train. The more I pulled, the harder it became to go ahead. Until I stopped. And let that train go away.
As I ran towards the platform, waiting for another one, it pained me that I had let that train go away. That I was late for class is a given but the whole system of running from one place to another was taking a toll on me.
The more you push yourself headlong into the world, the more it tries to bounce you out. They didn’t come up with ‘push or perish’ for any specific reason. Our whole life it’s been, push yourself to get better results, push others to make your way to the top, push your point to win an argument, push so you can get your work done fast without worrying about the consequences.
A very wise man once said to me that the world expects you to be like the moon and show only your bright side, the one lit by the sun. What everyone fails to realise is that there is always a dark side, a flip side, the back side that nobody sees. It’s become such a routine really. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing very well cut out roles in someone else’s Iliad or Odyssey.
I wondered how it came to be this way, all of us acting different lives everywhere. Putting on a face at work, pushing through the week with glassy eyes and then pushing through the weekend dreading the week ahead.
When we were small, they told us about values and ethics and how to be a good girl/boy. And the minute we started dreaming, they wanted a share of that too. It’s like the whole world is out to tax every bit of your happiness that you must share. Even though your arm is twisted, you have to smile.
All my life at least, I’ve been told to grow up. To take on responsibilities and to do things simply because they should be done. Even I haven’t spared myself some downgrading critique when I didn’t come up to someone else’s words.
When did letting a train go become such a crime? When did we start taxing smiles and exempting anger, moodiness and arrogance? How did we come to function like “adults” but instead displaying the most childish behaviour everywhere? And then we complain of meltdowns and curse ourselves when sometimes we just can’t help crying for no reason at all.
Indeed I’ve come to realise that life is what slips by when we push to stay in the train. Maybe those few minutes looking at yourself in the mirror weren’t so bad. Maybe I can cut myself some slack if I fall asleep while watching TV. Maybe you can just laugh at your mistake instead of wanting to kick yourself.
Maybe letting go isn’t so bad after all. Maybe, in a hidden way, we all hope someone helps us let go and grow up after all!