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Monday, August 27, 2007


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.

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Blogger BatJay said...

i know a lot of people who lived like your friend. we called them the "no tomorrow" boys who lived... well, like there was no tomorrow. lives full of excess drugs, drinking and good time.

most of them are dead.

3:13 PM  
Blogger gilbert yap tan said...

Hi Rolly, at some point in our young lives, we felt were invincible like immortals. Then as we mature, like sun-ripened fruits, we become aware of the laws of gravity and nature which make us feel vulnerable. It is my prayer that we grow old gracefully accepting the lines and creases like badges of courage.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Mickey said...

buti na lang mabuting bata ako. mapagmamalaki ko na kaya ko makisama ng hindi nag dodroga at naninigarilyo. hindi ako ganoon "ka-cool" e. hehehehehe

ginagastos ko lang ang pera ko sa mga kailangan ko sa labas tulad ng pagkain. kaya prepitip... pahingi extra baon. buwahahahahahaha

7:34 PM  
Blogger ipanema said...

i remember what happened to my more popular classmates and people around my village with your article.

yes, i think God has some ways of 'neutralizing ' things. i thought all my brilliant classmates were bound to have a good life ahead. now almost 30 years, i thought my mindset all wrong.

good post!

4:34 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

batjay I could have been one of those "no tomorrow" boys had I not woken up just in time.

gilbert yes, we did feel we were invincible at one time. How wrong can that be, huh?

mickey mabuti naman. hindi mo naman kailangan ng extra baon. tama na yang bigay ng mama mo.

ipanema I guess life is like that. How many more lives do you think had been wasted because of irresponsibility?

10:01 AM  
Blogger Just Another Day said...

Ganuon talaga ang buhay kaya merong kulay. Kanikanyang istorya. Mabuti pa yung galing ka sa hirap at alam na ganuon lang ang puede mong gastusin. Maraming naging ganito ang buhay at palagay ko ay nasa magulang kung bakit sila ganito ngayon. Good work sa yo Pare at kita mo naman ang naging bunga ng paghihirap mo para sa mga anak mo. Kung maganda kasi ang puno yun din ang ganda ng bunga.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous kat said...

sage advice. i've known people like that who just seem so cool when i was younger only to find out the bad turns they took later on in life.

p.s. love the painting!

11:40 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Pareng Lito Oo nga. Variety is the spice of life. Dapat lang talaga marunong tayong mabuhay ng tama, no? Ikaw nga, malalaki na mga anak mo at pareho nang titulado at nagtatrabaho. Bilib nga kaming mag asawa sa inyo eh. Kamusta na lang kay Mareng Thelma.

Kat YEs, I've seen a lot of those "once" cool dudes. Spent time with them thinking their coolness would rub off on me. It's a good thing I got shaken up at one point.

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous pepe said...

i can relate to that "river.." saying. me and my wife grew up in the same place and yet every time we visit the place during our pinas holiday, we felt like total outsiders.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

nerds rock. they do what they have to do, look the way they want to, and not give a crap about what other people think. we should all be so lucky.

1:06 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

pepe Yes, I can just imagine your surprise everytime yuu come home for a visit. Especially after a long time siguro, you are in for a shock. A lot of changes have occurred and everything seems different - I hope for the better.

miki The guy I admire most is the nerd who knows how to party! Someone who can balance enjoyment and very important tasks. I know you do! Rock on. :-)

5:01 AM  
Anonymous myepinoy said...

Ganon yata talaga ang buhay kapag nasa other half (right side) ka na ng bell curve.

Marami ka ng bagay na nakikita at napapansin na noong araw ay di mo man lang pinag-iisipan o pinapansin.

Ang maganda dito, umabot pa tayo sa ganiting stage, ang iba hindi na.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Fidel said...

I got your point perfectly rolly. I noticed at this stage in my life and career ,people who are eager to have reunions were the nerds and less noticed of the batch but are quite successful in their chosen fields of endeavours now.

9:55 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

myepinoy Yes, we have a lot of things to be thankful for.

Fidel Exactly!

6:14 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

myepinoy Yes, we have a lot of things to be thankful for.

Fidel Exactly!

6:15 AM  

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