73.

That was the number placed on Aphu’s birthday cake in her birthday celebration last night. Aphu, by the way, is what we call Grandmother in Cantonese.

At 73, Aphu has garnered quite an accomplishment as she’s still considerably strong, in good mental and physical health apart from diabetes and minor heart disease. She has dearly loved my grandfather whom she had bore eight children with, and now she has 16 grandchildren.

Inspired by her glowing presence, I started thinking what my life would be like when I’m old and wrinkly. I wondered if I myself could live up to that age—

Who will I be married with? Who will be my loyal friends? Will I even have friends by that time? What about my children? Will I have the chance to read back my teenager kinda letters or maybe show them to my future generation as I think they wouldn’t know what snail mail is about next time? Will my children or grandchildren take care of me?

In some other families I know of and see, life is miserable for old people. Some of these old fellows, without anyone to turn to, either work still in monetary need or work to keep themselves from going senile.

Well, I don’t know but I guess when I’m old I want to lie on the beach every day and read books and drink a lot of virgin mojito in a bikini. Haha. That’s not me on the picture, indeed, but you get the point. I want to enjoy what’s left of my life, not working some menial labor, and live it together with my loved ones—ike Aphu, or even better.

On a parallel plane, yesterday, while I was on the bed watching Wish Ko Lang with my parents in quiet, I have just imagined living without them. Breaking up my own bubble thoughts, to Mom, I joked, “You’re for real?!” and touched her face. And then I pondered upon the question, “If I could spend the rest of eternity in one moment, which moment of my life would I choose?”

There was no debate, no questioning involved, the moment was chosen in my mind.

But let’s face it: Common knowledge says that moments don’t last. Even if they seem to stretch out to eternity, a moment is just a moment. So even though we’ll never be able to spend the rest of our lives in one moment, we can do everything in our power to repeat that moment over and over again.

Barring that, we can sear the image of that moment in our mind and cling to it like a castaway clinging to a piece of driftwood. For only that kind of moments, the ones that take our breath away and make us want to experience them forever, make life worthwhile.

Come now, smile. Pinch yourself and you know you’re alive—to make more of those moments and so will I.

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