How Discovering Shel Silverstein Changed my Life as an Adult

Hint: I will not mention “The Giving Tree”

Photo by Elizabeth Explores on Unsplash

I went to find the pot of gold
That’s waiting where the rainbow ends.
I searched and searched and searched and searched

In the end, he says

It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine at last,
What do I search for now?

No philosophy book or self-help book could have communicated the very nature of what we call happiness better. Happiness lies in the search, not in acquiring the “pot of gold”. This poem really spoke to me and helped me figure out my feelings at that time. I have been trying to be a better searcher ever since.

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by,
And never knew.

As an adult, our masks increase in number and thickness. We hide more and more of who we are as we grow older. This poem encouraged me to show my “blue skin” more. I think about this poem when I have to choose between mask-wearing and blue-skin-showing.

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

I go back to this poem whenever I feel like I’ve hit a dead-end at work or in my personal life. Reading this immediately makes me feel like the possibilities are endless. It makes me think in non-traditional ways about the solutions to my professional and personal problems.

My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.

Then he concludes with:

And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.

This. this. this.

I'm a product manager living in San Francisco with a heart that refuses to leave Chennai! I enjoy writing about product management, technology, and food.

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