They say reading a good book can change your life. For me, it was this one narrative which I read as a teen, and has stayed with me since.
13 is the age when you are stepping into a new milestone of teenage life. You want to live like a ‘cool’ teenager, similar to those American TV sitcoms, live your high school life to the fullest, and transform yourself into a ‘grown-up’. You think you are all set to grow older, but, alas, you just can’t digest the fact that you can be 70 and still call yourself young; if that’s how you want to live your life. In short, most young teenagers are easily influenced by the slightest things- you will probably want to show you love a trend which, in reality, you don’t fancy at all. For me, there were quite a few, but in my days as an early teen, when smartphones weren’t that popular, it was this book series called ‘Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul’ which was dominating the young readers’ market and mind.
I was the kind who would only stick to fiction books, and I’m not going to lie, I often found motivational articles a bore! Sounds weird, but if you can relate, you know what I’m talking about. My mum would get me to read newspaper or magazine articles talking about creativity, welcoming change, etc. but I wouldn’t be bothered to read them. But when my friends started talking about this series called ‘Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul’, I decided to give it a read myself and borrowed a book from a friend.
At first, I didn’t find it that interesting; but I had already made up my mind to read the whole book as my friends were going to ask me for my opinion either way. I would flip the book and read random stories, but one day, my eyes reached a page which I never felt would change me as a person.
It was a story about a boy who was extremely attached to his father and considered him to be a ‘cool dad’. In spite of having such a strong bond with his father, the boy found it extremely difficult to tell his dad how much he loved him; he probably didn’t find it a necessary thing to say such a thing as he loved his dad from his heart. One night, when he saw his father working, he had an urge to tell his dad how much he loved him for the way he was, but instead, he said, ‘Goodnight’. Unfortunately, the next day his father died in an accident and the boy never had the chance to see his dad again, or say ‘I love you’ one last time, or probably the first.
I remember reading this story and thinking about how fickle life was. You never knew what could happen and when, so the best thing is to live in the moment, believe in yourself, and to not delay doing something if there’s something you really wish to do. The story was simple yet so strong in meaning; the son wished his dad goodnight, almost before his dad slept peacefully. The very fact that Chicken Soup quoted real stories from teenagers made me believe and understand the story even more.
The story taught me to be grateful for what we have. It is easy to nag, bring excuses to temporarily compensate things, but the reality is to react instinctively in the right way we want to. No regrets whatsoever.
It’s sweet to give someone surprises. It could be something someone would least expect from you, but yet you did it. It could be as simple as giving someone an extra piece of cake, even if they didn’t ask for it, giving someone a compliment, smiling or telling them how much you mean to them; you’ve probably made their day in some manner you would never even anticipate. It’s the little things in life you should learn to love, learn to give and share. The key to feeling self-contented is not to expect anything, appreciate little things, show gratitude and welcome surprises warmly!