Today I remember my past as a little girl raised in a little village where everyone knew everyone, and just like daylight could not be hidden, so could no one keep a secret. The people there toiled the earth under the scourging sun, leaving their hands as hard as a rock. Sadly, not just their hands were hard their lives were equally hard. It was a little village, where children wore rags and walked barefooted on the stony earth.
Thinking about it today I realize this hard life made me bitter. I was one of the few children sent to school and going to school entails walking for miles on barefoot. On the way to school, there was this mansion, standing firm and touching the sky. Its gallant beauty always left me marveled and I never failed to stare until my eyes hurt.
Sometimes, I would see some healthy-looking kids walking out of the mansion with their neat uniforms, clean hair, and above all smiling faces. Though they had footwear they didn’t trek, they entered a glamorous object which I later learned is called a car. They looked happy and I wished I was like them. Their luxurious lives made me hate my life. I became a recluse never associating with the village kids or chatting with my parents. I hated our way of life and my father’s almost fallen hut.
My hatred made me study hard. I learned that the man who owned the gallant mansion was well educated and I wanted to be like him. Years later, my hard work paid and I earned a scholarship to go to the big city to further my education. Gina, I left and never went back.
Pondering about it today I realized my parents knew I won’t return. Mother and father had tears in their eyes as they bid me farewell. Poor them I was their only child but I could never treat them with love. Today all my dreams and desires are my reality. I live in a mansion, I own many footwears and cars, still, why can’t I smile happily like those kids?
As a child I thought, I knew the answer. I was sure the problem was the village. Nevertheless, in my old age, I have finally found the answer. The problem was never living in the village, the problem was my conceptions. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a hut or in a penthouse, what matters is how you view the world.
I have come to understand that life in the village was not just hard, it was also beautiful. Everyone knew everyone and greeted everyone graciously. We were poor but united. Everyone was a brother, a sister, a mother, and a father to all. People’s hearts were innocent and filled with love and smiles on their faces reflected in their eyes. When the cloud gets dark, children would sit around a fire listening to folktales, and they used to laugh from their hearts. The men sat together at night discussing their experiences, and the women would form a little cycle and chatter into the night air. Life at its simplest form is a real beauty.
However, my poor insight stopped me from enjoying this bliss. All I cared to notice was their torn clothes and sufferings. I wish I could go back, but it’s a wish that will never be fulfilled. I have my regrets, but I don’t regret working hard, I only regret never playing hard too. I regret never sharing my success with my parents and people. Dad and mom are long dead, I regret never telling them “I love you and I’m sorry.”
I’m not writing for sympathy Gina, nothing can undo my mistakes. However, please learn from my words. It doesn’t matter if you own a hut or a penthouse, love what you have though you strive for something better. Enjoy the little things of life especially your family, in the end, that’s what really matters. One can never be happy until one learns to love what one has. Too bad I realized this too late a time.