I wrote a short essay, some months ago, after witnessing a disturbing incident. I reproduce it here in entirety…
Yesterday, I saw a youthful spirit succumb to cynicism.
This one was a good friend…someone I used to admire through my growing years. He used to buy junk parts from pawn shops and make a cuckoo clock out of them ! He even made a fully-functional motorcyle the same way !!! When he was involved in one of his “projects”, an earthquake could not disturb him. Each such venture used to become an obsession with him. And he used to immerse himself fully into it, ignoring the rest of the world, and its responsibilities, while he was at his task.
But that was then. And this is now. He is now married, and has kids. We went to his house the other day, for dinner ; It was his birthday. And one thing led to another. And soon we were talking about the “projects” he used to excel in…reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”, as they were…
And before I knew it, my friend was telling me how he has come to realize that “simple living is the answer… not getting obsessed with knick-knacks that take up all your free time, leaving your real ‘priorities’ unattended” !
Funny thing is, all my life, I have also faced a lot of criticism. Apprehensions voiced by well-meaning people who had my “best interest” at heart. People who hardly knew me, trying to tell me that the dreams I had and the beliefs I held close to my heart were not pragmatic enough. All the world united on the truth that life is all about taking responsibility…and struggling…(and suffering?)
Was the human spirit created to struggle and to suffer..and to do no more?
We idolize Columbus and Einstein, and envy the neighbourhood backpacker who can set off on a journey to an unknown destination. Yet, we do not even allow ourselves, and our loved ones, the possibility of that hope – always creating obstacles in the way of any one who truly tries, with our many “buts” and “ifs”…always reminding them that life is a struggle and that there is no easy way out.
They say that a rich man is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. There’s a thought, isn’t it? Can we, as individuals, truly muster up the courage to ask ourselves what really matters to us…and then go after the answer with our heart and soul?
My friend, the broken spirit, probably asked himself that and heard the answer as “the needs and desires of his loved ones”. He may have now come to chose that over his so-called “obsessions”.
If so, it will be probably be a gain for his family, but a loss to the rest of the world.
My fear is that no one will be inspired again by his genius and his sense of adventure. My fear is that every impressionable kid he meets will also be reminded of how life is a struggle… If that is not the death of a spirit, what is?
Could it be possible that the only thing that needs fixing is our own perspective ?!