What’s past is prologue
Seventeen years ago I attended my first interview in Jalan Ampang. I went there alone and didn’t expect to meet any familiar faces. It was not until I’ve finished my interview, I met my coursemate from UKM. He came for the interview as well. To cut the long story short, we both were offered the job and spent another 4 years together stuck in the same laboratories before both of us went to further our study abroad.
I met him again four years later and gosh…! He did change a lot! Once a cheerful and talkative guy with the blackish hair in the entire Sungai Buloh was then turned into one of the speechless mutant donning white hair all over his pinnacle. PhD has really transformed this guy (he shared the dark secret with me one day). From that moment I started to believe PhD stands for a kind of rare disease called ‘Permanent head Damage’! Luckily and somehow, my mind and body were quite immuned from the disease.
We seldom talk after that. In fact he hardly talk to anybody. Occasionally when I stumbled upon him along the corridor I try to strike a conversation or catching up with him. He is still one nice guy. It was however, a rare sight to see an email from him, but two days ago he sent me this email. It is a kind of aide memoire to me. Aging is catching fast.
Thank you Dr. S for sharing this memento.
Do you realise that the only time in you lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about ageing that you think in fractions.
‘How old are you? ‘I’m four and a half!‘ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key!
You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16′ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life….. You become 21. Event the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSSSS!
But then you turn 30. Oooohhh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?
You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.
But wait!!! You MAKE IT to 60. You didn’t think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE IT to 60.
You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there into the 90’s, your start going backwards; ‘I was JUST 92.’
Then a strange thing happens. If yo make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
- Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
- Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
- Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
- Enjoy the simple things.
- Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
- The tears happen. Endure, grieve and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
- Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
- Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
- Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next country; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
- Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER – Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away.