Rainbows, Gold, and Happiness
Posted on March 1, 2023
Cover Image Title: Rainbow
Cover Image by: Alice
Specification: Taken on May 15, 2022
Ultimately, I don’t expect an overflowing pot of gold guarded by a green leprechaun at the end of the rainbow. In the end, I hope to say: I lived. I loved. I overcame. I wrote.
My life can end any way that it wants to. What will define my life is not how it ended or even how it ended. What defines my life is what I did, how it was becoming, and how it evolved. I used to believe that the end of the rainbow was that pot of gold that represented happiness, waiting for me, one last woo before it ended. This belief led me to think that happiness was the ultimate goal.
Society is, dare I say, plagued with this idea that our lives should end on a happy note, like happiness is the bow that sits on top of a perfectly wrapped present. But our lives are not boxed up and wrapped perfectly. In my life, I am not afraid to say: I sobbed. I lost. I regret. I hurt.
My biggest regret was not visiting my knitting teacher in the hospital; she had cancer when I was 10. I will never have the chance now.
Mandy Lam was her name. An exceptional woman who did not teach me only how to hand-make a beanie and guided me through life. A piece of advice that she gave me and one that I would like to share is when we were eating out at a Chinese restaurant. We finished dinner and sat wrapped around the circle-shaped table, waiting for the orange slices to come out. When they came out, I reached out for the most significant pieces, and Mandy turned to me and said, “Take the smaller, uglier pieces so that they can have the better pieces.”
Now that I am older, I realize this advice does not just apply to fruits. Mandy taught me to love and care for people around strangers and me in need. Even when she had cancer, she would go out and volunteer, make lemonade for her friends, and teach me knitting. I was over at her house constantly as my mom was her friend. Despite our 30-year-old gap, she was my best friend. Eventually, her health declined further, so she had to use a wheelchair. Given this setback, when we weren’t knitting, we would be doing word searches, watching baking shows, or making art out of scraps. In addition, Mandy also encouraged me to find my value. She taught me to put myself out there, to be independent, and to be a version of myself that I’m proud to present.
When her cancer got worse, she needed to be hospitalized. She would call my mom and say I could come over and take supplies I wanted for knitting and art if I wanted to or take the lemons she couldn’t use and make my own lemonade. She asked me to visit, but being 10; I was afraid to see her in that state. I could not grasp the possibility that she might never return home. And so, she didn’t come home. Through Mandy, I grew into who I am today, carrying a piece of her every step.
Mandy is an example in my life that shows there will be ups and downs and how life is unpredictable, so you can’t just expect life will do you a favor and end it on a good note. We like to think that passing in our sleep is the best way out, but we forget that many people die daily from various causes. Some lives are taken too early, some taken by illness, some taken by others, etc. Here are my two cents: we should all work to create happy memories and plant smiles on the faces we surround ourselves with daily. We should work to put less value on trying to plan our lives in a way where happiness is at the end of the rainbow and instead be able to see that behind us is a beautiful rainbow.
[ * The End * ]
[Writing Editor: Catherine]