Have you ever experienced how the simplest of things can trigger and unfold a whole world of profoundness, weaving itself into the weft and warp of our lives? Be it a gesture, a remark, or a few words, they sometimes leave behind an impression on our lives that last for ages. One such thing that has gone a long way to rearrange my perspectives on life is the timelessness and wisdom of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.
Calvin’s conversations with Hobbes have become life lessons for thousands around the world, and I am no different. Having read and re-read numerous Calvin and Hobbes comic strips over the years, I realize that through its humour, simplicity and wisdom, it has become one of my guides to understanding life.
Here are five life altering philosophies that are landmarks of my journey with Calvin and Hobbes, and have contributed to making me what I am today.
1. Curiosity does not kill the cat!
Calvin cannot stop thinking about things and happenings around him, and neither can I. It is his musings about life, relationships, school, parenting et al that has made me a highly reflective person. I cannot comprehend how people stop thinking about things when there is still so much to know! Delving into Calvin’s explanation of phenomena around him has exposed me to a world of humour, perspectives and a different culture of thinking. Needless to say the perils associated with being a thinker cannot be discounted for. But the depth I’ve gained is priceless!
2. The best things are learnt outside of textbooks.
Calvin’s rebellion in Ms. Wormwood’s class has been my biggest source of joy because it resonates with one of my beliefs which I value most: Learning through experience is powerful, life changing and everlasting. Texts books are only meant to clear exams. It is also this belief of mine that got me my job! The constant effort to evolve as a better human being in any role we play is only enhanced by life’s lessons, and not through chapters or pages. Any experience holds in it the magic wand of transformation, and when embraced, it helps us become the architects of our own lives, designing our own big picture.
3. Play saves the day!
No matter what happens, each day in Calvin’s life has an element of play in it. Only then does he consider it worthwhile. When practiced, I found that I could not let go of this habit. And over the years, play for me has taken different forms. Today I like to indulge in a variety of activities like writing, music, cooking, running, painting, or anything that gives me a sense of immense joy and satisfaction at the end of the day. Though the child in me wishes I could graze my knees more often.
4. Express. Not suppress.
Calvin’s favourite form of expressing how he feels is through snowmen. It seems strangely cathartic, and I love it. Unfortunately I live in a country which doesn’t get snowfall. But learning from Calvin’s bravado, I consistently use various forms of expressing myself. Predominantly it is through blogs or colours. And I have found it to be extremely liberating. This practice has helped me deal with days when “even lucky rocketship underpants don’t work”. Brings things into perspective!
5. There is treasure everywhere.
What has amazed me constantly by this last Calvin and Hobbes strip is the feeling it leaves the reader with. This very piece is what has inspired and triggered my love for travel. Every time I read this I feel a great sense of wonder and it pushes me to explore all the possibilities that await me. I have come to realize that I’d rather save up to travel and see the world, than trade the experience for ‘things’. The explorer in me thanks Calvin for instilling and reinforcing this outlook.
Though when Bill Watterson ended the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip in 1995, he said he had contributed all that he could, for me the Calvin and Hobbes School of Learning does not end at all. The reason I picked these five today is because I have constantly made an effort to live these and it has changed me. So now I welcome you to dive into the goofy world of Calvin and experience the magic. Pick your favourites and share with me your experiences with Calvin and Hobbes. I would love to relive the magic!
This post is dedicated to the genius of Bill Watterson. In eternal gratitude.