Life in Stranger’s Hands

“The fact that I have no future except what you can count in hours doesn’t seem to disturb me… There is no place for speculation or hope, or even dreams. Strangely enough I think I like it like that.” A dated quote of the 1970s, derived from a war-based novel written by Jennifer Johnston, ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’. This quote is, undeniably, one of the popular quotes within the book. This particular fact seems to already speak for the kinds of ideas readers are able to relate well with. And the fact that the majority do relate to these kinds of sayings also speaks so much for itself. Therefore, the following sub-ideas will be looked into to a basic extent: misconceptions on forced dreams and ambitions, ‘ninth inning relief pitchers’, and consequences to standing asymmetrical to the world’s expectations.

“How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing?” — John Lennon

Even before birth, the future of the tiny little life has already been planned out—to some extent. Then, when the fetus becomes a baby, expectations are made and presumptions are set. For that ever-growing ball of preciousness, breathing room is scarce. But what’s even more scarce, is respected time for it to voice out the thoughts on such imposed ideas, which will pretty much become its way of life. And here is the lie, a misconception said enough times it has become something alike truth: without planned dreams, kids will live with a purposeless mantra. That is not usually true. Kids do dream many dreams, it is a known fact. What is much less discussed is how adults tend to shoot down those dreams, “Don’t be ridiculous.”

One of the major stressors in teens’ lives is acquiring the ambitions needed in order to follow through with an acceptable dream. Ambition should not be something one must attain, it should not to be treated as a skill. “Kid, you have no ambition.” Says the world. The world needs to think more and talk less. ‘Kid’ may not have motivation for one thing, it does not generally mean ‘kid’ has zero of it whatsoever. Innately, ambition is something one has, something which never dies—unless it is left to starve.

“We’re in a society that cripples people and then punishes them for limping.” — Freddie Prinze

What is not a forced dream is probably a relief pitcher. A substitute, a backseat lifestyle. Most likely a secure path to ensure the parents, for their child’s future. “Your future dream career…government employee? It’s not a forced dream, it’s a ninth inning relief pitcher.” After all, it does provide the parents some sort of twisted comfort. As a matter of fact, it may become hypocritical when ‘caring’ grown-ups talk about having the children’s ‘best interests at heart’. All the while, proceeding to question the child’s less than impressive performance on lack of ability and not the fact that what is lacking may be the heart. From hereon the best way to go at it, is to probably accept that it has never been about the child, and never will be. After all, an acceptable way to act like a complete grown-up is to, most definitely, be sport and mature about it.

“The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want.” — Janet Fitch, White Oleander

The consequences of standing asymmetrical to the world’s expectations come into play when few teens do follow their own dreams, and encounter setbacks. Society, of course, would not have said anything if one does fail on the parents’ terms. How many children have quit playing the piano? However, parents, more than anyone else, tend to worsen the child’s failure and difficult encounters whichever way convenient, when it is the child setting out on their own. Alone, uncertain but determined, should be the time for parents to support their flesh and blood. However, that isn’t usually the case, apparently.

Measuring up to society’s terms and standards is one of the major stressors in teens’ lives. Attempting to fit into a certain mould of the world’s norms can be an exhausting task, especially if one’s interest, talent and heart go against the tides. Being left with nothing but false passion for a career, or not being quite sure whether such dream is one’s own. And possibly, living someone else’s dream. “Be grateful,” they say. “Others would kill to have such a life.” Drowning in preset ideas and expectations, with little to no regards for human emotions, feelings and hidden ambitions.

“What a treacherous thing to believe, that a person is more than a person.” — John Green, Paper Towns


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