First of all let me start by saying that this has nothing to do with some random soap opera just because of the name. <(^u^)>
Desiderata is a famous poem that was originally written by a wise man called Max Ehrmann.
I will not lie that I am the kind of person who reads so many collections of literature and try to look so intelligent by writing about them. I came to know this poem just this week when a friend suggested that I should read it.
At first, I would have ignored it just as I usually do with those messages that friends text you saying that you should forward to say 10 other people. Haha! Honestly, I do not fancy those messages. They make you feel like if you don’t send to those 10 people something bad will happen to you. Before telling me to text a certain 10 people, kindly send me credit too. Haha!
Onwards… Back to Desiderata.
So eventually I read the poem and I was touched by how simple the life lessons in this poem are, yet so serious. The poem comes out as warm advice yet still like a warning about how serious enjoying life is.
This made me reflect upon a phrase that has become too common amongst the Kenyan youth.
The phrase “It’s never that serious.”
What is “it?” If ‘it’ is pertinent to life, then people got to be playing with fire.
I wonder who came up with this phrase because there are too many dangers that come with that phrase especially when young people say it. My opinion is that whoever came up with that phrase was simply ignorant or inexperienced in life.
Yes, it may sound harsh but just think about this: If you have faced life in its true form which is often a wild blend of the beautiful and ugly, would you have the guts to say, “It’s never that serious?” I bet that your answer will be a No!
I do not mean that you live life with a stone face, never laugh, be busy all the time worrying or just live in isolation. No, that is not my point.
Let me take you for a short stroll through Desiderata in protest against the phrase “It is never that serious.”
‘Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.’
The fact is that life does not know the word slow. It is said that time and tide waits for no man. It sounds insensitive but this is so true. Think about how many plans you want to achieve, how many places you want to go, how many people you want to meet, how much help you want to offer humanity just with your skills, talent and beautiful mind. The fact is that even when you plan it all, there are some things that often don’t come through but you still have to plan anyway. So when it is a fact that the only constant thing in life is change, yet you have all these things to achieve, can you say, “It is never that serious?”
‘Listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.’
Have you ever taken time to just listen to somebody you would never listen to? Perhaps talk to somebody you would never talk to? Or even spend time with someone you would never offer your time? If you have done that and you got to learn something surprisingly important from them then the phrase, “It’s never that serious” would be nothing but a fallacy. I believe that no matter how boring, rigid, interesting or ignorant someone may seem, everyone deserves the chance to express who they really are and this takes a simple act of kindness to show that you care. But what if you missed the chance to learn just by saying, ‘It is never serious?’
‘Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.’
A perfect example for this one is in the work place. Have you ever had one of those bosses who don’t know patience or empathy? Yet all you want to do is achieve your career goals and earn a living. They call you all the time while screaming through the phone. They release their frustrations on you just to make them feel a little lighter. They pummel down your confidence just to make themselves feel superior. Those who refuse to acknowledge your efforts and reject rewarding your victories. If you have had people who make you go through hell when you are still on earth, only for someone to tell you “It is never that serious” this can deliver a serious punch on someone’s face.
‘Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.’
Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever felt left out? Has someone ever made you feel like you don’t deserve something you really wanted? Or maybe make you feel that being you is not enough so you have to try to be like someone else?
This is typical especially during childhood or when one faces setbacks in a social environment where they try to make new friends. When life offers you the chance to love only to end up with a broken heart, the journey to recovery is often excruciating. When life takes away a loved one for whatever reasons, the worst feeling to ever have is regret for taking things for granted. So if you understand what the above examples feel like, I am sure the phrase “It is never that serious” sounds like the stupidest thing on earth.
‘Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.’
This one is a tasty one. If you know those fellows who look old but behave like children, this one is dedicated to them. These are people who just never learn. There are so many people who do not act their age; blokes who are 25 years who behave like 15 year old teenagers or maybe 30 year old ladies who behave like 20 year old college girls. Simply not amusing!
Moreover, there are fellows who have never hustled in life or learnt lessons attained from the bitter-sweet experience of adversity. They literally have no idea how ugly the other side of life is. Well, I know that before you leave earth, one must have an understanding of both sides.
In both of these scenarios, don’t even bother reminding them about the seriousness of life for life itself has a way of unveiling its lessons. And so, “It is never that serious until life teaches you that it has always been that serious.”
As I conclude, I would like to remind you that you really do not have to endure life and also play it safe; afraid of what the other side might look like. Enjoy life, no matter which of its faces it decides to show you.
Learn some more, laugh some more, live with no fear for in the end you will learn that the serious thing about life is taking the important things in life seriously. The most important of them all is LOVE.
The best lesson I learnt from the Desiderata is this one:
‘With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’
I urge you all to read The Desiderata Poem by Max Ehrmann.