Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Downside of Good Intentions

Every step of the way, there will always be well-meaning people who’ll try to steer the course of your life as to how they define success and happiness that a person can achieve in a lifetime. They could be family, friends, colleagues, bosses and random people you just meet and chat with.

Somehow, without meaning to, you’ll begin to feel that you’re not doing enough with your life just because they don’t understand why you pursue things that wouldn’t earn you the big bucks. This is when you begin to feel again that you are walking along a straight and narrow path but you can’t just get to the end fast enough. Mostly this is because you love juggling too many balls, you often stray from the path and lose yourself in diverging roads, swim against the current in streams you find a long the way and take a leisurely rest under the canopy of leaves in wooded areas you stumble into.

The trouble with well-meaning people is that, they mean well. So you find yourself thinking maybe you should try to follow what it is that they want you to follow, dream that dream they wish you to dream and succeed in life as how they wish you to succeed. You consider doing all these and desperately ponder on how you can recreate your life to make the well-meaning people happy.

You find yourself trying. One by one, you drop all the colorful balls you’re juggling effortlessly. You choose the prettiest ball, the one you know is exactly what the well-meaning people wants you to hold on to. You stay on the path and play a game that is acceptable to that path.

You now are playing to win, like what you’re used to doing, only this time it’s in a game they chose for you. You give everything of yourself to that ball and to that game. And the well-meaning people at the sidelines are pleased with your focus and intent to win.

The thing is, you miss the other balls. You miss the colors they infuse in your life. You miss the feeling of being alive in juggling so many balls. But still you play with that one ball you chose. You begin to win games. You begin to make people happy. You imagine yourself happy.

Sometimes, in the quiet of the night, when you’re alone with your thoughts you hear your head and heart ask you if the prettiest ball was worth losing the simple and ordinary balls you’ve been juggling with for most of your life. It is only in the stillness of the night that you let the façade slip and answer honestly that the prettiest ball makes you feel dull and unhappy.

Everything now revolves around one straight and narrow path, one pretty ball, one game, one rule and one goal. It’s the oneness that makes you wonder about how fleeting everything is. Sooner or later the pretty ball will be gone. And you know with all your heart that when that time comes and there’s no more pretty ball, you will be left alone with nothing at all. There will only be vivid memories of colorful balls you let slip from your grasp.

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