There is a saying that goes something like this: "You cannot go back to the same river for neither you nor the river will be the same." This is what I learned yesterday. I was on my way to my mother's house to visit my siblings and my grandson (son of my niece) who was celebrating his birthday yesterday.
The house was home to me from 1971 till I moved out in 1985 when I got married. Since then, I have come to visit my sick mom and everytime, I discover something new. Several, no, make that many, houses have been built and the places I used to frequent with friends are now gone. I have spent many years of learning in that place. Some were good but some were bad lessons I would rather forget. I have many experiences shared with friends who, like those frequented places, are now gone. Either they have moved out like me to some unknown land, or unfortunately, have passed away.
Yesterday, I was driving when I saw a familiar face sitting by a store. I stopped and called out his name. He did recognize me. What puzzled me was his manner of speaking. It was garbled. He said he has retired. Hmm, he is only a few years my senior and I still have a good ten years from retirement. He could not have retired because he has reached that age that he has to. It just dawned on me that he must have fallen ill. Probably a stroke or something. And to think it feels just like yesterday when we would drink, play mahh jongg till the wee hours of the morning, play basketball, watch concerts, etc. He was once one of the village toughies who drove his own vehicle, wore fancy clothes, and much to my envy, was popular with the girls.
Then it dawned on me. Most of the guys who we felt were toughies and who, we youngsters looked up to, are either retired now or are dead. It feels like time has caught up with them. Time does have a way of equalizing things. While I hate to sound judgmental, the only reason I can think of to make sense of all these is that they have seen their heyday at a very early age and as a result, did not see it relevant to study hard and take care of themselves. They have not learned that nothing in this life is permanent. That nothing is immune to change and that if we did not worry about the future, the future will not be good to us. There is a very good ad on cable that says something like, "be good to the geek for someday, he will be your employer."
I don't want to sound preachy but I would like to address my younger readers. You may be laughing at someone now for he looks like a nerd, or that he dresses up lousy, or that he/she may seem to be a square for he/she does not go out with you to join parties till the break of dawn. But if you do not watch it, he/she may be a lot better off than you are in the future. Don't wait for things to happen. Let things happen for you. Take it from me. I learned about this the hard way and probably too late.