Thursday, October 15, 2015

On Plan Bs

7:09 PM

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Sticks and stones may break my bones (but dreams will always find me).

Yuuki Ono was absolutely sure he was going to become a pro soccer player one day. He’d been playing ever since he was a kid, and his team even got a taste of going to Nationals (which, as all sports animes insist, is the capital-G Goal). He’d even gotten scouted by a professional soccer team! For a guy who lived and breathed soccer for just about his entire life, his future was pretty much set in stone.

…or so he thought, until that nasty debilitating ligament injury that put his promising soccer career to an abrupt stop.

On the other side of the world, another aspiring soccer player was the guy who would grow up to become Gordon Ramsay. A rather well-known team thought he had potential, and had enrolled him into their monitoring program for three years. He was a trialist then, and he just knew he was going to be signing up for the team sometime soon. Life was good.

Until that injury to the knee that forced him to focus his attentions elsewhere.

In the realm of unfairly attractive anime crushes, Free!’s Sousuke Yamazaki had been swimming since he was an adorable little child. Flashbacks show us how he swam with and against his best friend Rin and how, as he grew up, he became even more amazing at it – eventually being a nationally-ranked butterfly swimmer, scouted by a university with a professional swim team waiting for him after he graduated from high school.

Only for the story to unveil the secret he’d been hiding all along – that he’d overworked himself into injury, and the shoulders that had once spelled out his prowess in the water now hindered him from taking his talent further. you notice the pattern I have going here?

No matter how hard we try to sidestep it, somehow, we’ve all been through this at some point in our lives. Maybe not always with an actual physical injury, but with a psychological one – that time in your life where the world just seems too cruel and you have absolutely no idea where you’re going to go next.

I’ve been through this myself, just a few years ago. A few months before graduating high school, I still had no clue what course I wanted to take up, much less which college I wanted to take it in. There was a distinct sheen of uselessness that tainted my thoughts during this time – it seemed like everyone around me had places they wanted to go and people they wanted to be, but why didn’t I seem to have either of those? What was I supposed to do? I knew I was going to have to go somewhere somehow, but where exactly?

In situations like these, it’s all too easy to break down and give up – when you’ve gotten your dreams ripped away from you, when your dreams don’t seem like they’re in the normal commerce of humans anymore, or when you haven’t even got a dream to call your own.

Call it cliché, but truth is that without a dream – something you’re passionate about, something you’re working towards – it doesn’t really feel like you’re living. It feels like you’re just surviving, and sometimes you even feel like you’re not being really good at that.

It’s normal to think that way. Heck, I’d go as far to say it’s only human for us to do so. But there’s another thing one should remember, in times like these—that someday, these things too will pass.

It all gets better.

All of this does.

Right now, it may not seem like it will. It may not seem like there’s any way out. But who are we to know what life’s got in store for us? Inspirations and dreams come from the most unlikely of places, and all we have to do is soldier on and take our chances. They might lead to better things. They also might not, but the important part is that no matter what happens, you’re still going forward.

Eventually, Yuuki Ono got drawn into the life of a voice actor after a friend in uni asked for his help. He decided to take it seriously because, in that project, he’d worked alongside someone amazing—someone he found himself wanting to work with again someday. That man’s name was Kishou Taniyama. Ono got his wish fulfilled when they got to work together for Kuroko no Basket – playing childhood friends so close they call each other ‘brothers’, no less!

Along the way he’d made a name for himself as one of the recognizable voices in the anime scene, amassing a bunch of popular roles. Even though his voice acting career is relatively young, at this point in time it’s safe to say his work has touched a countless number of people across the world. (And I’m proud to say that, obviously, I am but one of them.)

And who doesn’t know of Gordon Ramsay nowadays? Hot-tempered, brash, and unmistakably badass, he’s undeniably a hard worker, despite all the scandal attached to his all-too-famous name. And damn, does it show. From Hell’s Kitchen to The F Word to Kitchen Nightmares and all the countless other stuff he’s worked on in between – and don’t even get me started on his many restaurants and cookbooks. He’s the guy everyone loves to hate, but because of this, getting his approval carries more weight than it normally would.

The way Free! ended never really showed where Sousuke Yamazaki eventually went with his life after high school (the last shot we have of Sousuke (chronologically speaking) is of him with a bag over his shoulder, in some vague place near the ocean, looking out into the sunset). Although it doesn’t sound as nice a conclusion as the first two, it’s not a bad one, either.

Life, after all, is a work in progress. The important thing here is that even though swimming is no longer the be-all, end-all of Sousuke’s life, as surely as the sunset he was watching turns into the sunrise of tomorrow, he’ll have better things in store for him.

As for yours truly? Well, I eventually took up Accountancy as my major, and graduated from it pretty recently.

While sometimes I still do feel I have no clue where I’ll be going, I clear my mind and think of other things: Ono’s unexpected happiness. Ramsay’s overwhelming success. Sousuke’s imminent sunrise.

Their stories are but three of many in the history of the entire world, but even then, they make me feel better about the world. About myself, even.

That being said, let’s keep on dreaming bigger dreams together.

Article by Trish
Art by Alexie
Trish is an accountancy grad with a fic-writing habit. She's older than she seems to be at first glance (don't let the height fool you), tends to go rambling off at the worst of times, and can't really see the appeal of consistent sleep patterns. Save for a one-time stint at her high school paper, The Thing is her first foray into non-fanfic-related publication. She has a twitter account, @postscriptress, where she spoils her own writing and re-familiarizes herself with her third language.

Alexie is 18-year-old multimedia artist, self proclaimed dried mango enthusiast, and lover of all things raw in the grocery's wet products section. When she's not focused on appreciating things, she likes to draw and hold concerts when she's showering or alone in her room.


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