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Start over where you mess up

Posted April. 17, 2023 07:57,   

Updated April. 17, 2023 07:57


"Play the ball where the monkey drops it." This quote from poet Ryu Shi-hwa's book "The Earth Traveler” is part of an anecdote he heard on his trip to India. British people built golf clubs in Kolkata, India during the British colonial era. Almost every time they played on the course, they were unluckily disturbed by unexpected troublemakers – monkeys. They stole the ball and dropped it somewhere else. Human players had to start over or build taller fences. However, none of their efforts made any difference. Instead, they set a new rule as the quote from the book.

This mirrors what life is like. I used to expect a seamless life to unfold only if and after being discharged from the military or getting a job. However, yet again, whatever I planned on turned out to be only a part of a wide margin of error. Looking back, closely, at where things started getting messy, I once wished to have a "life recall” system in place. However, neither God nor my mother seemed interested in giving me a completely new life. Coming to my mother trimming water dropwort, I jokingly brought up the what-ifs about the recall thing, only making her mad at me. Afterwards, I gathered and laid the broken pieces of my life on the basis from which I started over anything I could do.

I once spent a week or so lying in bed, overwhelmed by remorse and sorrow. I often thought of myself as a poor main character in so many pathetic movie stories of villains always putting me at risk. At one time, Thanos challenged me. When I went to Peru to gain a permanent residency permit, I fell for a scam, lost all of my money, and returned to South Korea. Eating a bowl of rice with water due to a decreased appetite, the quote suddenly popped up in my head, leading me to open the book. Mr. Gupta's advice hurt me but was very helpful. I instantly bought a bus ticket to Seoul and hopped off at a construction site in Sangam-dong. I told older men, whom I met at a manpower agency for construction workers, that I returned home after being scammed overseas. They consoled and welcomed me. Afterwards, I could become a firefighter and a writer, proving that the new rule set when I was 35 was still valid.

When it may sometimes feel as if the universe were working against you, I hope you are reminded of this phrase: "Play the ball where the monkey drops it."