“My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump” – Some years ago my daughter was curious about the movie Forrest Gump, having heard so much about it and all it’s quotable quotes, and I was more than happy to oblige and watch it again with her. It’s been 22 years to date since the movie Forrest Gump was released but the Gumpisms that emerged from this movie never went out of fashion and have remained with us in an irrevocable manner, so deeply ingrained in our language and life philosophies. Aside from the brilliant script writing and unforgettable characters, the movie hits the nail on the head when it portrays life through the eyes of simplicity and good will, delving into age-old themes of friendship, loyalty, attaining your goals in life in spite of all the adversities you may encounter along the way.
My favourite out of all the quotable Gumpisms is “Mama always said life’s like a box of choc’lates, ya never know what ya gonna get“. It is always at the back of my mind, holding my hand at the verge of every life-changing decision. I can’t think of a better description for fate other than that simple box of chocolates. We live from one moment to another, never knowing how things will turn out, how people will react, or even what the weather will be like tomorrow. I like to believe that if you could predict everything with accuracy, life would be terribly boring. Where is the fun in knowing exactly what people are going to say and how things are going to happen? It’s like watching a movie with someone who has already seen it and they keep telling you what is going to happen next. I love surprises and welcome the unexpected challenges life dishes out. It is what drives me to find strength in the depths of my soul and the zenith of my faith. You have so many choices to make, and each one will have its advantage or disadvantage, and inevitably we will always be victims to “I should have… I could have… What if...” But that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Discovering the mysteries, rejoicing in the triumphs, and savouring the moment.
Like the proverbial box of chocolates of Forrest Gump, we will have our fair share of bitter disappointments along the way, but that is part of our chocolate box life. We all have different tastes and expectations, never being identical to those of the chocolatier or to the person who gave you the box, or maybe even the one to take the box away from you. The point is, you are given several opportunities in life and it is up to us to make the best out of it with our skills, talents, life lessons, faith, friends, co-workers, and everyone else in your life.
We have to be grateful for having our box of chocolates at all. The first chocolate chosen or bitten into may not be the best one, but there is always a lesson to be learned from that experience. The new and unfamiliar taste will remain in our memories, lead us towards a new side of our persona that we never knew we had, and expands our horizons. Each box of chocolates is different, and in my view this is the beauty of life as we know it. Yes, you can definitely trade in your box of chocolates for another one, maybe a fancier one or perhaps a simpler one, depending on what you want out of life. Either way, it is still a blind choice and you will never really know what you are getting into unless you choose, take a leap of faith, and embrace the variety.
What do you do with the pieces you don’t like? Eat them anyway – and learn from them. They are part of the box and complete you.
NB: an earlier version of this article was published in my previous Blogspot blog.