Skip to main content

Sandbox: The 6 unspoken rules about life as a Sandcastle


When I was young, I loved the sandbox. In there, I built sandcastles.
They were less castle and more ‘sand mounds’. Being the overly creative kid I was, I piled sand on top of each other and believed that the sand will take its natural form. It was the most beautiful mound I had ever laid my eyes on.

Imagine a pile of sand. Now imagine it beautiful. It was 100 times greater than that, maybe even 1000: I don’t know your perception of beautiful sand mounds. If a sand mound expert could share their earthly wisdom with us that would be fantastic.
It was amazing while it lasted. I moved on shortly after. Flowers are most beautiful when just bloomed after all. I forgot about my sand mound and went home.
2 decades later, I’m back again: I’m building sandcastles. Except, these were less castle and more ‘career’, and I had to live in it. I had to put effort into shaping it.  
Life was a giant sandbox for me. I thought I was just playing around, having fun at the beach.
Turns out, we are all doing the same thing: building something to see if it works:
We create. We improve. We see it crash. We mourn. We learn. We recover. We try again.
No one told me the rules though. People don’t teach you things when you step into the adult world: you end up fending for yourself.
Here is what I’ve learned so far.

Everything is accepted.

Your imagination can run wild. There are no rules or regulations for a sandbox (sandcastle experts, I need your help on this!). You won’t get arrested for building anything you want. Except if it spreads hate. People might kick it down faster than you think.
Yes, society has rules, I won’t deny that. That’s why there are so many different avenues to express yourself. Look at the world: we have singers, dancers, artists, martial artists, actors, everything.
If you want to draw a masterpiece, you go out and do it.
If you want to start acting, just start acting. There’s plenty of sand to go around.
If you want to be a superstar, get to practice. They worked hard to get on stage. Work harder than them. Stop caring about what people think.
You can build anything.
All that we were, we are and we will be, is limited by human imagination.

All that is human is appreciated.

Of course, there are a few other factors too…

It takes time to build what you want.

Time is your most precious resource. I had to leave my sand mound behind. It must have broken down by now.
Do you want to build something? It’ll cost you time. You need to make sure you get the most value out of your time.
How do you do this? You spend your time to build something, then optimise. Optimise, optimise, optimise.
Learn how to spend less time for bigger results. It is validation that you are improving; once you have found time to spare, you can start building new things. You can make bigger castles. Add a tower or two.  Maybe use new tools like a shovel. Blockchain that shit, I don’t know.
If there was a time mine, I would be mining it by now. Better yet, I’ll buy the mine and hire people to mine it with. Isn’t that just building your own business?
I might as well get to investing.

Your sandbox is not only for you.

Remember when you were a child, and things just seemed huge?
The playground was a battlefield. Our toys, weapons for imaginary combat. We sat on the shoulders of giants (our parents). Our voices roared in agony over the spillage of our daily nourishment (milk).
Life was large, the sandbox even larger.
Is it still the same once we have grown up? It’s still one big box.
Many people tell you it’s yours to play with.

The world is your oyster!

Something like that. It’s not entirely true. Others can come to play. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes not so.
No matter what you’re building, the people around you have a large influence on how you’ve built it, and how long will it stand. They might applaud. They might not.
Either way, there will always be an opinion on what you do. It’s up to you how to handle that.
The worst-case scenario is when people ruin your sandcastle. On that note…

Your castle will get kicked down.

When you’ve built something, you have invested a lot into it.
Time. Brainpower. Effort. Creativity. Emotion. Tons of sand. Now it’s done.
What do you do now? You protect it. It’s your creation, why wouldn’t you want to?
In this world, there are many natural predators for the wild sandcastle: waves, humans, creatures.
The creatures are the worst. They see something interesting, they come over and then think of the most devious ways to kick it down. Commonly known as children. Now we have larger children. We call them adults around these lands.
It is natural:  There is a life cycle for everything. Someone or something out there will go against you and will make effort to take it down.
You will get hurt. Things break. Kids will come and kick it. The waves will come crashing down upon it.
It’s all about 2 things when that happens:

  1.      How well can you protect your castle
  2.      How well can you recover after it topples down

How well you can protect it solely depends on your obsession with this castle of yours. Is it the best you’ve ever made? Are there improvements that can be done? Do you know someone with a better castle?
As for what you do after? Once you’re done crying, there’s only one thing to do:
Build a better one.

There is limited sand. Plan accordingly.

Not all sand is yours to play with.
You only have 2 hands to carry sand on your own. It might take more than a lifetime to build something with all the sand in the world. Instead of trying to reach out for so much, why not focus on what you like the most?
You can build anything you want in your own power that way. For that to work though, we have to plan. Make the most with what you have & what you’re given.
Plans help. Most people don’t plan. Most people are lost. Don’t be most people.
I don’t want to be lost, I want to build something.
Get organized.  Do a task list. Make one for 10 years, 1 year, 6 months, 1 month, every week, every day.
Fall in love with the tasks you will do, for these tasks are what make the bricks for your sandcastle.

It feels damn good to have a big castle.

Whenever you feel proud of doing something, that moment is yours and yours alone. It feels golden.
It will take a lot of time, planning and more sand than you think. Your castle might have been knocked down 999 times.
But, on the thousandth, you would have built one so grand, you would overlook the entire sandbox. The audience would clap, you would win competitions. The kids will throw money at you to build one for them. They want to have one for themselves. They don’t know any better. They just want.
The best part is, only you can sit on your own throne. It’s bloody comfortable.
All good things may come to an end, however. The cycle starts when you’ve finished building something.
When it breaks down, does it suck? Yes.
Do you know what’s better? Having to build something again, and feeling proud about something again. We love a golden moment.
For kids, theirs could range from mounds to castles.
For us, we build our dreams and live our lives.