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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Futility Of It All

Mondays are like the "reverse beer-goggles" of life.

On these days, the stark reality appears in high definition detail. Everything is laid bare in glorious repulsiveness. No blemish is edited away and nothing is swept under the carpet.

As I drag myself to work with a heavy computer (yes it's old) and heavy feet, I always ask myself - what if everything I do is merely a pointless exercise in tedium?

Last weekend I watched a National Geographic documentary about a Japanese man who wanted to become a cowboy. Despite family and societal pressures for him to conform to the lifestyle of a salaryman, he dropped out of college and worked odd jobs in order to finance his trips to Texas.

His dream was to become a professional bullrider. To make the grade he needed to hang on to a raging bull for 8 full seconds. And so he trained and trained during the off-season, working long hours in manual jobs in order to make ends meet. He endured the criticisms of others and the drudgery of life in Japan with the sole purpose of fulfilling his dream - those 8 victorious seconds.

Alas, as they often say, "life" got in the way. His long suffering girlfriend wanted him to choose between bullriding and her.

He got married.

And thus he hung up his cowboy boots for years, but deep inside he yearned for just one more try. Finally his wife agreed, and he went back to Texas to chase the last opportunity to prove himself.

He found himself on the bull again. The gate was opened - and off he went!

After what seemed like an eternity struggling with the bull, he was thrown off its back. The bull came storming back and nearly gored him with its horns. He escaped by inches.

The results?

He came up half-a-second short. Disappointed, he walked off the arena and back into the arms of his anxious wife.

After watching the documentary I found his story curious, but also hilarious. A stubborn, pig-headed, idealistic man pursued his dream - and failed. Ha ha ha!

But I suddenly realized that I have no dream at all.

I think I used to have dreams, but I don't remember them now. Maybe I never had dreams. Funny how much difference a few years make.

To live is to put one foot ahead of another, one foot at a time.

Do you remember the time when your dreams died?


Blogter said...

I can't remember the day I lost my dreams. Probably very young.

Yup, to live is 1 foot at a time. It's the curse of being religionless.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

To Blogter:

Was it a person, or a situation that crushed your dreams?

I don't think that being religionless is necessarily a discouraging thing.

The reason why I live one step at a time is not because of that...

Anonymous said...

He didn't fail. He fulfiled the dream by trying-even the last time. Even though he missed by a bit.-LH

Lim Leng Hiong said...

He didn't fail. He fulfiled the dream by trying-even the last time. Even though he missed by a bit.-LH

Perhaps you're right. He is still young and able-bodied - maybe he will write a book about his little setback one day and make a ton of money.