My grandfather lived to be seventy, I think, and while I didn’t take many lessons from him for we were not as close, I remember this one thing he told me when I was a child. In fact, he was quite insistent and pestering about the idea. He said I shouldn’t look down while walking; that I should learn to walk with my head held high, no matter what. Of course, being a child, I didn’t take his advice.
It’s funny because out of the countless sour memories I have of him, this is the one thing that has stuck with me for all these years. I have a tendency to focus too much on the path. His words are a fair warning for me to look straight ahead at where I’m going. I am not quite sure what I see yet.
I am not sure how many years I have left under my tally. I have come too close to death one too many times in recent years to not trust the idea that everyone gets to an old age. But there is one thing that I’ve learned at the ripe age of twenty-five that I can impart onto others as my grandfather did me.
I’ve learned that life is a bargain, and that wanting is never enough. The wisdom was in learning to take what you get. If you want a love beyond all stories you’ve ever read and all you get is a friend, take the friend. If you get everything you’ve ever wanted but have to trade your peace of mind, you make the bargain. If you get a minute of happiness amidst it all, grab it ferociously.
There’s a truth here, and it’s one of the hardest things to admit, really. The maxims are wrong; you don’t get what you want or deserve, you get what you get. Sometimes, it’s a pint of guilt, seldom it’s a cup of happiness, and often, it’s an untimely death. The only options you have are to accept it or have life thrust it upon you.
If you accept what you get, as gracefully as you possibly can, there’s hope yet for you to have a life filled with smiles and happiness. That’s the only thing I’ve learned so far. Now, I walk around with my head held high, knowing that I am learning to take what I get with grace.
For all my obsession over control, the only thing I’ve managed to learn is how I don’t have any, and how I’ve never had an ounce of it; and how it’s all been for the best.