Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Alice in Wonderland
Today is Lewis Carroll’s birthday, so obviously I thought honoring him via an EINTKILF would be a great idea! The only hiccup in my plan is that there are approximately a billion versions and interpretations of Carroll’s wonderful story. So my lessons come from everything: the weird Johnny Depp version, the books, and of course, the Disney movie. His words and ideas are expressed well throughout all of the stories, so I feel okay with it. Now let’s get to learning.
EINTKILF Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland
1. Celebrate every day.
One of the very first things most people think about when they think about Alice in Wonderland? Unbirthdays, of course! Poor confused Alice is already overwhelmed by the wonderful Wonderland when she comes upon a tea party, meets the Mad Hatter and his buddy the March Hare. They promptly teach her about unbirthdays, and really it is a great lesson in celebration. I love birthdays as much as the next guy, but finding something to celebrate every day is really important to not hate the harsh reality that life kind of sucks.
(This is the in-my-twenties-reading of Alice in Wonderland. Sorry.)
2. We are all a little mad.
Speaking of the Mad Hatter being totally, well, mad, the Cheshire Cat has also taught Alice a strong lesson in accepting oneself. He is the one who points Alice in the direction of the Mad Hatter and the Hare, though she is hesitant because of their supposed insanity. When she resists, telling the Cheshire Cat that she does not want to go among creatures who are crazy (she’s talking to a disappearing purple cat, so like, whatever dude), he informs her that she is mad as well.
It takes her a bit of time, but Alice eventually learns that “mad,” or “crazy,” or any other synonym for “unique” only makes someone better.
Hatter: Have I gone mad? Alice: I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are. (Direct quote from the Tim Burton version)
3. Believe in the unbelievable.
Way before tacky Facebook quote sections, bad tumblrs, and cliche Twitter accounts, I was super into corniness. I truly believe that one of the reasons I am so into astrology and my horoscope is because it is constantly filled with bits of advice quite similar to this lesson. I am all about believing in the unbelievable. I am all about reaching for the sky and falling among the stars and believing and achieving. I am basically a middle school classroom, you guys.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
4. Don’t talk if you can’t think. Though it is quite rude, when Alice is in the middle of saying that she doesn’t think–the Mad Hatter interrupts her and tells her that if she doesn’t think, then she shouldn’t talk. It is a bit snooty and definitely taken out of context, it is, all in all, a good lesson.
(From Through the Looking Glass)
5. Flowers are so catty.
Alice: Oh, but that’s nonsense. Flowers can’t talk.
The Rose: But of course we can talk, my dear.
Orchid: If there’s anyone around worth talking to.
Daisy: Or about.
My kind of girls.
6. It is okay to not know who you are at all times of your life.
One of my favorite things to hear (about other people) is “he/she is just figuring out who he/she is.” (It sounds better not in writing.) But you know what I mean? Because though I am a person who has always been pretty set in her ways (Leo), I can appreciate that some people really need to test the different waters out there before they decide “who they are.” And maybe some people never “decide” who they are. And that is more than okay, as well.
Alice: Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.
And speaking of…
7. “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” (Alice)
At first I hesitated to make this a lesson because I was thinking it didn’t translate well, but you only write this column once (YOWTCO)…or something. Anyway, I decided that I really do like the concept of not being able to return to “yesterday,” and that is a big “yesterday” in my mind because I think dwelling on the past is the worst. (REAL LIFE STUFF CRYPTIC SENTENCE) Not only the worst actually, but the dumbest because it ruins friendships and relationships and really, dwelling on the past just ruins lives.
8. Do things for other people.
“One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
And I cannot make that any better, so I’ma just say “ditto.”
9. There is no right or wrong direction in life.
Cheshire Cat: If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Like the giant, wise, purple smiling cat informs Alice,
And, most importantly:
10. Nothing is impossible.
Alice: I simply must get through!
Doorknob: Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassible.
Alice: You mean impossible?
Doorknob: No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible! (Disney version.)
Featured image via utterpiffle, unbirthday cake image via fanpop, Alice image via aliceinwonderland.net, flowers image via classicfilms.blogspot, Cheshire Cat image via dynamicblogspot, Doorknob image via coloring.com.co.