A Seasoned Take on the Timeless

By Warlen Vasco, Courtesy of Unsplash

When you were growing up, times were simpler. Everything was black and white, and every story had a moral lesson. The steady turtle won, the ants got through winter, the boy should have never cried wolf. You were sure of life in general, and boy was it easy. Apart from those lessons, your parents gave you little nuggets (the early bird gets the worm, anyone?) that you’ve learned to digest in your own naïveté. To you, those maxims were the end all and be all of a good human being.

As you matured into your teenage years, you learned that this thing they called life was just not that simple. Those previously opaque lines were now blurry, with grey areas left and right. Your experience of the world told you that there are times when fast hares win, lazy grasshoppers survive winters, and liars and crybabies go a long, undeserved, way. And you think those time-old aphorisms you used to live by, no longer apply.

Though Father Time has a way of playing his tricks. He toys with you by simply going full circle. Years more in your belt and you think, “Hey, this thing that mom said actually makes sense.” It did make sense, but it meant a whole world different.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

It’s hard to find a better one to start with than this and its corollary: Don’t lie. As a kid, you were just incapable of lying. Back then, honesty seemed pretty innate to you and no longer bore repeating. However, with the growth of your pubic hair came the growth of your horns as well. You learned how to lie. You felt the benefits of lying. It got you out of trouble. It actually gave an advantage in a world that said the truth by default.

But lies, as you may have known, are just so damn hard to maintain. They breed. They grow. They seep into little cracks you didn’t even know existed. The cover-ups end up causing much more pain than the truth, had the truth been said in the first place. The amount of effort needed to sustain the lie outweighs the benefits. Honesty is the best policy because it is the simplest policy.

Honor Thy Mother and Father

As a little kid, this was illogical not to do. Why would you not honor the superman and the superwoman who knew anything and gave you everything? Why would you not honor the supreme beings who attended to you 24/7, and were actually enlivened by your presence?

As you grew up, you learned to hate them, because, well, they just didn’t understand — that you just wanted to go out, that you were just in love, that the kind of music you listened to didn’t really mean that much.

Then, it hits you. Honoring your parents means honoring this broken, weak, incapable couple who practically doesn’t know what they’re doing; who are basically apologetic for screwing you up, yet still giving you everything they have in the process. Apparently it’s you who don’t understand them, and it’s just plain hard to understand them until you do. Again, it hits you — they are the most freaking amazing people in the world.

It’s hard to understand them until you do

Time Is Gold

There can never be any adage more classic than Time is gold. When you were growing up, one of the first things taught to you was the value of money. With money, you can get as many rounds as you can merry-go. And since you understood how powerful money was, the complementary was simple: Time is important. Time is as precious as money so don’t waste it.

As you grow older, you learn to generate more money. You bought rounds of drinks, rounds of tickets, rounds of golf. You realise you can buy a round of pretty much anything, but never a second time around. You just cannot buy time. Time is not just important, time is the most important.

Time is not just important, time is the most important.

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

When you first heard this you probably said, “whoever said this was a genius.” It showed hope, courage, and strength. Though it’s beautifully said, reality’s quite different, right? You knew that life is hard, you understood that. You were sure that in reality, it’s more like fall four times, stand up ten. Undoubtedly, the ups are more than the downs. After all, we’re all special snowflakes aren’t we?

Oh how wrong we were. When life hits, it hits hard. Hard, subsequent haymakers. It pushes you down and makes sure you stay down. Plus, there’s no count that ends, no referee that stops, no bells that save.

Do you know what the beauty of this saying is? You can stay down for as long as you want, but stand up. You can sulk. You can hate. You can bull with your own shit, for as long as you want, for as many times as you want, but the last thing you should do is stand up. And that last thing, is the only difference between failure and success.

You can bull with your own shit, for as long as you want, for as many times as you want, but the last thing you should do is stand up

It’s funny how perspective changes through time, when life shows us a little bit more of itself. Things you’ve understood before have to be unlearned, relearned, and repurposed. There’s a saying that goes, Old keys cannot open new doors. Well, sometimes they can, you just have to find the right side to use.

So, what did your parents say when you were growing up?

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