a little red balloon.

“Floating in the summer sky,

Ninety-nine red balloons go by…”

-Nena.

Ever since I was a little girl, music has been my mantra. From sitting on a piano stool with my legs not quite long enough for me to touch the floor, being told to sit up straight and flex my tiny fingers to stretch the hard chords, to flipping through my dad’s collection of cds on a day when none of my friends could come out to play. Flashback to back then when, one day, my dad got a new cd *insert hoorays and a happy dance*. Trust me, this was exciting stuff! I remember how we all had to make sure our grubby hands were scrubbed pink before we’d even dare venture near the stereo and insert said cd into the slot.

The humming, whirring and purring of the beast seemed to take longer than usual as we waited in anticipation of the new songs. Each one was better than the last. I was being exposed to a whole new genre and I loved the upbeat, retro feel of the music. And I remember, 99 red balloons stole my heart. Which is hardly surprising. Being as young as I was then, combined with fact that it was probably the most upbeat track and finally the (red) cherry on top, it was about red balloons…what wasn’t to love? And yes it was probably on repeat for the rest of the year…and longer. 😀

But why the imminent nostalgia all of a sudden? Two words, movie soundtracks. I love how in all the right moments, a song starts to play and the producers got it just right. It sets the tone, lets you feel all the right feelings in all the right places. And it just so happened that on the OST of the animation Home (must watch!), there was a track by Charlie XCX …Red Balloon. Seriously! What on earth is the deal with red balloons?!

Curious as I am, I did some rapid research. As with all things on the internet, I wasn’t looking to delve too deep or else I would end up going in circles having to consider everyone’s opinion because yes, everyone has one. All I wanted was to whet my ponderings and surprisingly enough, there was a recurring theme. Dreaming and hoping.

I was quite fascinated by this because I am currently, as the proverbial souls would put it, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have about a week left in my job, not entirely certain of my next step…and as expected, I am being bombarded left and right with questions like, what will you do next? Where are you going? And so on…questions to which I am uncertain of the answers. While most people do have good intentions…It’s quite distressing to spend a good five or so minutes of their time, trying to explain to them what exactly it is you want to do….all the while watching their faces becoming crestfallen and more confused than when you started :S . And therefore, I have resolved to rather give the short answer…I’m following my dreams.

The song 99 red balloons, apparently, is about the dreams of the German people that were lost after WWII. Each of the balloons representing the very many dreams lost. The song by Charlie XCX, which is more straightforward, talks about letting your problems go and enjoying life as it comes.  This famous picture by the artist Banksy, is based on the premise that hope is essential, and gives motivation to keep pressing forward in life despite seemingly desperate situations. Balloons in themselves are representative of hope, dreams, and freedom. Used at parties, usually in celebration of something new; a new year, a new age, a new union and great expectations that the new will be better than the old that is passing away.

I think it is hardly coincidental that I’ve been thinking of this even as I am moving on to the next season and phase in my life. It’s as exciting and frightening as letting a red balloon go and letting it fly high into the sky. Where will it go, what will it do? But the best part of it is I know whom my steps are ordered by. I know who it is that is telling me to GO. I know I can spread my dreamer’s wings and fly because I know who’s going to catch me if I were to fall. How often do we lose sight of our dreams, our greatest hopes and what we hope to achieve because our fears are given priority? We listen to people around us, we look at our situations and doubt crowds our vision and purpose. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path”. –Proverbs 3:5-6

Go on, dream something.

Xo, Wong.

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