Life lessons from inanimate objects | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 25, 2019

Life lessons from inanimate objects

We all have different opinions on the activity of shopping. If I were to generalise my own, it would have three staples: children throwing tantrums, mothers being true warriors with their bargaining, and a variety of paraphernalia with incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo written on them.

While the first two may get their fair share of attention, the T-shirts, bags, mugs, notebooks, etc. with mysterious writings on them may be overlooked. Therefore, I took it upon myself to extract whatever lessons I can decipher from them.

In order to begin my noble quest, I decided that I should by reading the sacred texts on T-shirts. Most of the tees I had deemed appropriate seemed to be made for adolescent boys. Thus I had to pretend I was browsing through the T-shirts to find one for my non-existent younger brother in order to save myself from questionable looks. The experience was enlightening.

For example, one T-shirt said something along the lines of “It Is Do Not Do, It Is Strength” in very exciting fonts and colours. Now, there’s a lot to unpack here, but from what I gather, it is possibly talking about the strength in taking actions. It is an important lesson because a lot of us may feel complacent in life, but we need to know that there is great strength even in the most of minuscule of actions. A charming thought from a charming T-shirt.

Afterwards, I proceeded to search for meaning in the ceramics department of the shopping mall. Even though I had found many mugs with memorable sayings on them, such as the simplistic genius of the sentence “I Love America” plastered on a cup, most of them did not hold the eerie and ambiguous sense of knowing that I was searching for. Finally, I found a mug that said “Your here. A smile is the most charming part of a person forever.” I could not stop thinking about that writing, even with its possible grammatical error in the first sentence, which filled me with a sense of existential awareness. The second sentence is both grammatically understandable and a piece of truth. A genuine smile will exhibit the good thoughts a person has and will light up a person’s face, regardless of how they look.

Finally, I ended my adventure in the world of notebooks. This was by far the most overwhelming bit of my little adventure, as obscure cover art seem to be a prominent feature on most notebooks. Regardless of that, a tiny notebook that showed a cartoon of a girl sitting on strawberries on the cover stuck out to me. Beside the girl and the strawberries, it said “I write an important thing, and do not let’s finish, A way of writing for freedom” in the formatting of a haiku. The notebook could be telling us to write for freedom and personal gratification, instead of solely writing for submissions. Writing freely encourages us to hone our skills, of course, but it can prove to be quite therapeutic, as it also lets us be a bit more in tune with our thoughts.

Thus concludes my journey. I encourage anyone reading this to try and find unsolicited advice from objects, too. You never know what piece of wisdom you may find.


Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at

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