Friday, February 11, 2005

Post No. 3: Losing of Youthful Idealism & Innocence

What follows below is an excerpt from what I wrote in a farewell letter for a special friend when that special friend left for overseas study recently (note: what you all are going to read below may differ from what I eventually sent to my special friend as I made some “last-second” changes when I wrote the actual farewell letter)… To that special friend of mine, perhaps you may not agree to me to publicising the contents of the letter as you may think that the contents should be kept between us two. However, I don’t see any harm possible but I’ll apologise for not consulting with you before I decided to publicise the excerpted contents here…

“Original these thoughts may not be but they are still worth sharing. Remember the dreams you had when you were young? I believe that, similar to me, you should have had great & ambitious dreams in your youth. For most of us, in our youth, we would have believed that nothing is impossible for us and felt confident that we could handle anything the world throws at us. However, that was before we grew older. As we grow older, it is most likely that we will encounter events and experience setbacks which, in a positive sense, make us more aware and wiser but which, in a negative sense, discourage and disillusion us. We slowly lose our courage to dream. We become less idealistic and more ‘realistic’. Instead of seeing the beautiful rose, we see the thorns… Like what I mentioned in a previous email to you, idealism is a privilege of youth.

In addition, we not only lose our idealism as we grow older but we may also lose our youthful innocence and become ‘corrupted’. Imagine in your mind a river. At its source and in the upper course, the water is pure. However, as it gets nearer to the river mouth, the water is filled with sediments & pollutants of all sorts (remember what you learnt in secondary school geography? :p). This situation is similar to what happens to most people as they grow older. They become more cynical, suspicious of others, develop stronger physical & material desires and become more attached to such desires. Also, as they grow older, most people learn how to play the ‘social game’. They learn how to hide their true emotions & thoughts so as to not offend or to win favour with someone. I don’t know about you but I can feel these changes happening in me and trying my best not to be totally consumed by them.

Perhaps it is inevitable that as we grow older, we lose our youthful idealism and innocence. Perhaps this is the price to pay for growing old. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. However, we should not and must not allow ourselves to completely lose our idealism & innocence.

Hence, like what I wrote in my birthday poem for you in 2003, I emphasise that we should not stop listening to our inner child as we grow older. We should not let the voice of our inner child to be crushed by the voice of the ‘adult’ in us. Although our inner child’s voice may be frail, it is hard to kill if we put in the effort to preserve it. Although we may not regain totally the idealism & innocence we lost, at least we can try our best to preserve & retain whatever we can of these two precious qualities.”

“Be yourself. Do what you want & say what you feel. Those who matter won’t mind while those who mind doesn’t matter.”—Can’t remember who said this…

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