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7 Life Lessons from The Fault in Our Stars
I just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars, which I didn't really intend to read, until it just called my name - asking for attention and wanting to be read. Since it had been a while since I last gone through any books (well, except for academic ones), I decided to be kind and heed its call.
Days later, I found myself tearful as I finished reading the last line of the novel.
The Fault in Our Stars
Although the storyline is romantically depressing and tragic, The Fault in Our Stars is filled with bite-sized life lessons and realizations we could, and perhaps should, ponder on.
Of course, the impact and reception differ from reader to reader since we each have varying perspectives, but I am here to share things I personally got from the book - those things that I want to treasure and preserve by writing them here.
Warning: This post may unintentionally contain some spoilers and hints of what will happen in the novel, so read at your own peril.
A Short Overview
Before I begin sharing the realizations I picked from the book, let me briefly share with you how the story is set to unravel, just in case you haven't gone through the book.
A Fault in Our Stars is a novel by John Green revolving around the numbered days of Hazel Grace, a teenage girl who miraculously survived an impending death from lung cancer. Unfortunately, although she may have survived, the cancer was still left uncured making her lungs fail to be lungs. This in turn made living unmeaningful for Hazel, until she met Agustus Waters in a support group that completely changed her life.
The rest of the details is for you to find out. For now, let's proceed with the realizations I had from the book.
Watch the Movie Trailer of The Fault in Our Stars
Life Lessons from the Novel
1. A pile of dirt may still be a place for a flower to bloom.
Just when you think life couldn't get any better, it suddenly does. This is the same thing Hazel experienced herself when she met Agustus that resulted to a shift of perspective as she found a reason to live.
2. Sometimes life gives you an opportunity to do a favor for others when in fact, the favor is also and mostly for you.
I don't want to dwell much on this since I may spill some crucial details that may spoil the story. Nevertheless, this just suggests that life often plays tricks to us. We often find doing others some favor burdensome, but little do we know, we also get something from it. We just need to be open.
3. People usually interpret an act of selflessness as a selfish deed.
Throughout the book, Hazel mostly thought of herself as a grenade that will explode anytime and inflict ravaging pain to the ones close to her. This is why she wanted to shut herself off from others. A view from the outside may tell that Hazel was being too hard or possibly harsh, but from her view, "she was just protecting them".
4. Humor doesn't just die and so is hope.
Despite the ailments, characters in the novel just couldn't stop humoring themselves, and just like humor, hope seemed to also find its way towards Hazel and all other characters in the novel. Translated in another sense, "even if something is taken away, a replacement in another form will be given". That's hopeful thinking!
“I wanted to know that he would be okay if I died. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of people I loved.” - Hazel Grace of A Fault in Our Stars
5. Death or Losing in itself can be treated as a victory.
Though death may be bleak, it is a victory in another perspective. It's like a small reward for fighting so hard as it takes away all the unbearable pains in your life. However, note that I am talking about unforced death here, since I personally believe that there's no victory in taking lives by intention or by will. It's just a big no-no!
6. A sad and dark past brings both a blessing and a curse, but the choice is ours.
Peter Van Houten, a fictional author of An Imperial Affliction, revealed somewhere in the story that he had a daughter who died of cancer as well. This haunting past pushed him to come up with a great novel, but later this dark past devoured him and turned him into an anti-social alcoholic. Hence, we realize that past events leave us a choice, to dwell on it, or to use it as a weapon to move forward.
7. Living your life the way you want it to be is a choice.
It doesn't matter how long you have. What matters the most is how well you use and live it. The days of Hazel were numbered, though not specifically determined, but slowly, she chose the right choice of living her life and thrash the thought of "just surviving on a day to day basis".
Now, why shouldn't we do the same? Remember that not all cancer-free individuals are "living" and instead choose the path of "mere existence". Let us choose to be different by not waiting for a cancer to strike us just before we begin to realize that living is indeed a choice to make and a choice to take.
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
© 2014 Renz Kristofer Cheng