I’m beginning to think that Life of Pi had a bigger effect on me than I previously thought. When I finished it, I remember thinking it was a great book. It made me think about religion, philosophy, psychology, human nature. But it didn’t really have any true tie-in to my life, as far as I could tell.
But in hindsight, I think it may have. In the week and a half or so since I’ve finished it, I’ve read another book and a half, and I’ll probably finish that other half in the next day or two. Maybe it doesn’t sound like a lot of reading to some of you. But those who knew me way back when know that I can tear through a book in a couple of days, and used to do so regularly. Lately, though, I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t had the desire to read, or really to do much of anything that is typically “me.”
Life of Pi seems to have unleashed this reading beast in me, though. It’s let something loose. I find myself wanting to get lost in characters and their worlds, to learn all I can about the human experience, to undergo that catharsis that a good book always brings me. I want all of that again because I know with every book I read, with every character I come into contact with, I learn more about life, about the world, and about myself. And I want that back.
I blame it on the book in large part because this has all happened since finishing this specific book. But I also think something that something buried deep within this story buried itself deep within me, within my mind and my heart.
At its heart, I really feel like Pi’s story isn’t just about a boy who went through something difficult. I believe it’s about an instinct within us to take a bad experience and turn it around. To mold it, shape it to our needs, and use this shaped experience to shape ourselves. Was Pi really stranded on a boat with zoo animals? Are we supposed to believe that story or the less crazy story in which survival took over and people did the unthinkable? I get the feeling that Pi truly believes the former. An instinct within him took over and wouldn’t let him see the true horror of his situation, and helped him mold this situation to fit his needs. He needed to be a strong person to survive, to not curl up in the fetal position and just die.
I feel like that’s what I need to do. I need to take stock of where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through, and mold and shape that to fit what I need in my life now. I need to stop looking at it as such a horrible thing, stop letting it scare me. I need to simply take from it what I can to become a stronger, wiser person. I need to learn from it, allow it to shape my personality in good ways, like Pi.
I’m all over the place here. I had these genius thoughts running through my head about this topic as I drove home from the gym today. But I just can’t express them as well when the thoughts aren’t just free-flowing. But maybe some of you can piece together what I mean.
In the end, I just need to unleash the tiger inside myself, let it guide me through this difficult time of my life, and become the strong, wise fighter I know I can be.