Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vicissitudes and Contradictions

I haven't written much for a very long time.

Too many things, too little time.

Too many changes, too little rest.

Too many instances of death, too little celebrations of life.

Or maybe I'm just feeling the marks of senescence more frequently than I used to, nowadays. But perhaps I should write again. Too many things on my mind. And it has always been cathartic to write.

But as one gets older, thoughts always seem to condense and distill into similar patterns and processes. It's as though one no longer experiences new things, but is merely refining the old - getting better at it, I suppose?

As I ruminate over that particular thought, I remember writing about it a few years ago, and so I went back to old writings to see if I did write them down. I am amazed at the kind of things I used to write. One wonders: Was that really me? When did I ever find so much time to write so much? And how did I find the ENERGY? The thinking process is, after all, really like a computing system. It takes up resources, i.e. energy :P

It is comforting to note, though, that I may have changed gradually over the years. Some say I'm more mellow, some say I'm less forgiving, perhaps both is true. However, it's comforting to know that, in-principle, my convictions stay the same. Lately, as I was hitting 30 (and when I have since hit 30), my thoughts have run along similar lines as this particular blog, almost 3 years ago.

Of how changes affect us (particularly, me). Of how fleeting life can be. Of how people change and grow, or grow and change. Of the permanency (or lack thereof) of human relationships. Of the one constant in life, which is change. Of fertility and nativity. Of morbidity and mortality. Of formation. Of dissolution.

Well, I'll just share my thoughts of 3 years past, I suppose.

Except for one thing to add. How fortunes always seem to change attitudes. I suppose when one is poor, one can afford to be generous, as there is nothing to lose, but when one is rich, or trying to be so, one need always zealously guard one's fortunes? Money may buy you friendship, fortune and fame, but when one dies, the skeletons come out of the closet and dance. Perhaps most people tend to forget that.

Maybe I'm getting more and more jaded as I get older? :)



To honour, love and respect.

these are going to be short essays, distilled essences of thoughts over many months. after all, brevity is the soul of wit.

been wanting to write so many things:

about life. how it's so fleeting. so fragile. a friend of mine was so shaken, because her friend died in a horrible car accident. just a week prior, they had chatted about how she'd be starting a new life in another place, where my friend was. a week later, news filtered through that she had died in a horrible car crash. what irony. what meaninglessness. what an awful waste. so much potential. so much passion. so much youth. *snap!* and it's gone. like a bunny in a magician's hat.

and yet, how much do we really know a person? we can spend an entire lifetime with a person, and in his/ her death, be stunned by how little we know.

but life.... it's so unpredictable. so short. so seemingly meaningless at times. yet so powerfully moving at others.

life is fragile. and painful. and beautiful.

i told you: i wish i could've made more of an impact in other people's life. i wish i could've left school at 24 and traversed the world in help of the needy. my next manicure, my heartbreaks over men would've paled so much in comparison to 8 year olds dying of AIDS in my arms. or a pregnant young woman of 14 sobbing her heart out on my shoulder as i tended to the ugly purple welts on her body caused by the lashings of her poor drunken husband 12 years older than she was/ or her pimp who wants her to have an abortion. who am i? what difference can i make?

i told you: when i died, i'd like for as much of my organs to be donated to as many who'd need them, and the remains to be cremated, and the ashes be scattered over a flower bed. because i believe that's how life cycles in the greater scheme of things should be. with death, should come life. and that's why i don't smoke. and i try to keep myself in as good a shape as i can. someone else may need my liver and my heart more than i do.

i'm morbid.

about families. how they shape us. how they love us no matter how much we hurt them. how they welcome the prodigal son with open arms. how much they can hurt us. how much we can hurt them. and yet ultimately, how much we are bonded together no matter what the circumstances. and if familial ties are good, how much they protect.

about love - old loves, new loves. fleeting love, everlasting love. who's to say one impacts us less than another? who's to say the passion of a love of one month is less painful than one that lasts a span of 50 years? after all, both are imprints in the cement of our heart and our soul. they may erode with time, but the outline would always remain. the past may be the past, but the past helped shaped the future. and unless, like the rest of our world's problems, we learn from history, the past would always come back and haunt us. in the shape of the present.

after all, it's been said that our experiences are repetitive from the experiences we've learnt in our formative years. and so, the rest of our lives are repetitions of our childhood experiences. we react to stimuli the way we were taught to react in childhood. and the only other new experience that we would learn in adulthood/ post-pubescence would be the sexual climax. after that, we'd be repeating our initial sexual experience. we'd react to it as we were taught to in that initial experience and repeat it with future partners.

is that how love is as well?

it's been said that men (and perhaps women) have 4 loves in their lives:

1. the love of his/ her childhood (aka childhood sweetheart, puppy love, etc.)

2. the love of his/ her youth (possibly first real love, the one that made a bigger impact, first cut, etc.)

3. the love of his/ her manhood/ womanhood (the love that was made as a mature, responsible adult, one where he/ she assesses compatibility, lifestyle choices, background, etc. rather than profess undying love due to passion, sexual compatibility, physical attraction, etc. you get the idea)

4. the love of his/ her deathbed (where his/ her partner lives to watch him/ her die. the one where he/ she wakes up next to the creaking bones of his/ her senescence. where he/ she smells that old people smell everyday. where he/ she puts up with his/ her failing bladder, falling hair, lack of sexual drive/ sexual ability. where he/ she is the one wiping the snot of his/ her nose because he/ she can no longer do it him/ herself, etc. you get the idea too)

it's said that it is already lucky to have 3 and 4 be the same person, some are luckier still to have 2, 3 and 4 be one and the same. some rare few have all 4 be the same man/ woman.

who's to say? in my grandmother's time, there was no chance or choice to bemoan and wonder if you had married the right person. one is married, and then falls in love. or maybe never fall in love at all, but learn to appreciate one's life partner. with two world wars to survive through, who has time to think whether the next door guy is a better lover/ husband?

but in today's world, in a time of relative economic, political and social peace, with technology crossing all manner of borders, where does one cross the line? you look at your friend's boyfriend and wonder if he'd make a better boyfriend to you. or you look at your friend's sister and wonder if you had made the wrong choice for a girlfriend. or your colleague. or your neighbour. or your friend. or your cyberpal, after one too many online flirtation. too many choices. too little conscience.

we're spoilt for choice. and yet we're ill-equipped to make the right ones.

and so, when i met a friend of mine last week, one i hadn't seen in years, and her brother, who i haven't spoken to in many many years too, with his wife of a year old, i was struck by how quietly and simply eloquent the inscription in their rings were: to honour, love and respect.

To honour, love and respect. Inscribed on the inside of a simple, white-gold wedding band. With the date of their wedding. Taken straight out of their marriage vows:

To honour, love and respect all the days of our lives.

Love. do we really know what it means? so overused. so underappreciated. said at the height of passion. forgotten the next morning. said at the honeymoon stage of a relationship. forgotten when things get rough. as they inadvertently do. said to a replacement when the fires of a previous relationship had barely cooled. thrown out the window at the first argument.

To honour, love and respect. They come together. In a trinity. that's how love lasts, after all.

To honour, love and respect. Do we really know how to do that?

Honour. Do we know what it means?

Love. Do we appreciate the full extent of its meaning?

Respect. Do we have enough of this for ourselves, and hence, other people?

To honour, love and respect. All the days of our lives. Think about it.

It's as much a huge commitment as it is a wonderful promise. Perhaps it is both.

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