Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes was undoubtedly, an integral part of my childhood. As a child, it entertained me and made me think and laugh at the same time.
The comic strip that revolved around a six-year old boy Calvin and his satirical wise tiger Hobbes, is known for its simplicity, humour and light heartedness.
They were found talking about life, friends, wisdom, love and many other interesting strands of life. There are valuable lessons to be learnt from this comic duo. I personally connect to the “easy going” style of profound storytelling and I know some of the strips philosophy is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.
Here are ten beautiful life lessons from Calvin and Hobbes.
1) Keep exploring!
We should always be open to possibilities. I have come across people who feel so burdened by responsibilities of modern life that they forget to look outside the window. Dolly Parton said, ‘Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.’ In this mad rat race, we are slowly succumbing to monotonous ways.
It is true that best things in life come for free and for that one needs to keep exploring. You never know what can bring you immense joy – a flower, a passing stranger, one particular tune from a song. You will be surprised and it’s not a bad idea to keep surprising yourself every now and then rather than getting stuck in the routine.
Break the boundaries and as Calvin said, “It’s a magical world Hobbes, Ol’buddy, LET’S GO EXPLORING!”
2) Spend time with friends
Life is a journey and on this journey we come across several people who teach us a lot, give us strength when we are in despair, help us in overcoming our fears and also give us immense happiness.
We choose to call these people our true friends. Aristotle said, “A true friend is one soul in two bodies.” Friends nourish your soul and always be grateful to such friends as without them you would have been lost somewhere.
Calvin and Hobbes share great friendship and they said, “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget.” Always try to spend some time with your friends as without them life would be dull.
3) The real source of Happiness
Calvin and Hobbes in this particular strip are discussing about conditional and unconditional source of happiness. There is no denying that we live in a materialistic world and most of us are conditioned to gauge our happiness in terms of the wealth we possess. In fact, this mentality has led to destructive capitalism where greed is ruling over people’s mind.
But people in the pursuit of happiness know that materialistic happiness is temporary. The real source of joy comes from within and nothing in the outer world can change this. Troubled by people’s affiliation to materialism, Calvin and Hobbes hope that someday people would understand the worth of unspoiled beauty, wildlife, solitude and spiritual renewal which is priceless.
4) Changing Perspective
In life, we all face situations or people that shatter us from within. Most of us find it difficult to forgive or move past the situation, but dwelling in the past is not going to be fruitful, as it will only intensify the damage everyday. In this strip, Calvin says, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
This implies that one should be able to separate the sinner from the sin. If you look at the person who harmed you with love, you may or may not find the reason behind their harmful behaviour, but you will be at peace.
5) Life has no order and direction
This strip talks about the wisdom of uncertainty. We all feel comfortable following a well-experimented path which guarantees success but what worked yesterday may not work today.
Here Calvin means that we should stop looking at present with historical lenses. Life has no order and direction. One would be happier living in the now.
6) Be cool
Life is far too important to be taken seriously. Being serious gets us nowhere but closer to a denial of reality.
Live in the moment, enjoy the small things in life like a child, and not get trapped in the web of thoughts and feelings, and don’t forget a sense of humour goes a long way!
7) Enjoy the present
One cannot enjoy the present because of two reasons; worrying about the future and dwelling in the past. The present is all we have, and if you are not living in the present then you’re living in illusion.
If you’re living in the past, you can’t do anything about it, it’s gone. If you’re worrying about the future, you’re living somewhere that doesn’t exist. The only way to change your life is by enjoying the present.
“Change is a shark in the ocean. Change never stops, never sleeps: it must always keep moving. The good news is if you hate the way things are, they will change. The bad news is if you love the way things are, they are certain to change as well. The only thing inevitable about life is change, not death. Change is here to stay!”
Change is here to stay and change is what makes life beautiful. You enjoy sunshine after months of rainy days, you enjoy rains after months of sunshine.
One of the most ironical yet poignant truth of life is that we wouldn’t enjoy sunshine if there were no rains and vice versa. Change is how we evolve and experience life.
9) Stay happy
When the chips are down, and our backs are against the wall, happiness is a choice. It’s up to us. We all have the capacity to cultivate our own happiness. Being happy isn’t an if/when proposition – “I will be happy if…” or “I will be happy when”– It’s a will/won’t admonition. As Calvin realises, “It’s hard to argue with someone who looks so happy.”
10) Everything depends on you
Calvin and Hobbes
1) Exploring 2) Friendship 3) Deciding mental paradigm
4) Changing perspectives 5) Life has no order and direction
6) Be cool 7) Enjoy the present 8) Nothing lasts forever
9) Be happy 10) Everything depends on you