Now if only we can grow old like Benjamin Button

Now, if only we can grow old like Benjamin Button. But fact is, we can’t.

For the uninitiated, Benjamin Button is the protagonist in Scott Fitzergald’s short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, who grows old backwards. In other words, he was born with the physique of an old man but grew younger by the day, until he died as an infant.

With the recent brouhaha about eldercare services being built at HDB void decks, it made me think about growing old and the circle of life.

When you grow old, you become like a baby again. How so? Technically speaking, a newborn infant and an elderly are both about the same –

1. They can’t do everything themselves; they are dependent on their caregivers
2. Both are wrinkly
3. Their bodies emit smells (part of nature and nobody can deny that)

So why are babies perceive as cute and the elderly a chore to society?

1. An infant is small, easier to carry and clean when he/she dirties himself/herself. But an elderly, it is otherwise.

2. Don’t say I’m ageist but my grandma told me that when one is old, we give off smells (that’s why she likes to shower 3 times a day and never fail to wear a spritz of perfume). I guess as your body deteriorates, you can’t expel toxins from your body as efficiently, hence the smell.

3. Both babies and elderly can be painfully stubborn when they want something their way. Babies wail, the elderly may complain. Which one is worse? Wails or complaints? Methinks complaints 😛

4. Babies represent new life but being old means you are nearer to death, and many people aren’t really too keen to face the latter. It’s more emotionally draining to face death, I guess.

Having said all that, don’t we all wish that we were Benjamin Button and can grow old into a baby? But as I said earlier, we won’t be growing old this way. We will grow old, silver hair and all, as it’s part of God’s biological plan. We may lose our memory, our keen eyesight and our bodies will sag. Everyone can’t escape it. Eventually, I will turn old too, and so will those people who do not respect the elderly/detest their presence.

So if you have an elderly at home who’s making things difficult for you or an elderly neighbour who smells, before complaining about them, think about it – we’ll all come to this stage where we turn old and wrinkly… Life will come to a full circle.

Verbalise your feelings

DR and I were hanging out at Esplanade and brainstorming for wedding ideas last week. We thought of having a little girl from our church to be our flower girl.

A few moments later, this little girl and her mom appeared before us! Coincidentally, they were at Esplanade for an art class. And we couldn’t help but gush immediately to them – “We were thinking of having her to be our flower girl!”

Immediately, the little girl started crying, saying that she didn’t want to be a flower girl. DR and I were taken aback and shocked at her outburst. We felt so helpless. The little girl’s mom was also really apologetic as well. Both of them left after I gave the little girl a hug.

After that, the mother texted us to explain that she had a talk with her and found out that she was afraid of walking down the aisle. She sought our understanding as they (the parents) were still teaching her how to verbalise her feelings instead of crying.

This made me think hard. Sometimes, even as adults, we find it difficult to express our feelings as well. We may resort to crying, threatening or blaming instead, yet we do not bring across our true feelings to another party in order to find a resolution. We leave the grudges and discomfort in the deep recesses of our heart, until they manifest into rage or bitterness.

As the little girl have to learn to verbalise her feelings, so do I, as a young adult, have to learn the same.

“Bucket List” before I turn 30

Okay no, I’m not going to kick the bucket at 30 (then again, we never know…) but I predict that by then, I would be entering into another phase of life (having children, if God is willing! – gosh, that’s like 5 years away!!!).

A church friend recently asked if I have a bucket list before I get married… Some people say you will have a different focus when you are married as there’s always a need to consider the other half. But I believe that in marriage, a couple needs to respect each other’s individual spaces (allow each other to have me-time with family and close friends) while enjoying each other’s company.

But having children… ah, that’s different. I see how when a couple has a child, especially in the first few years, find it quite a challenge to pursue their personal interests, travel faraway abroad. Ok, I’m not saying it’s not possible but it’ll be harder.

So, yes, if in 5 years I am going to have a child, I hope to accomplish the following and check these items off the list –

1. Bring my mum (okay, dad, you can follow) to tour Japan, especially Hokkaido for its seafood

2. Watch the New York Philharmonic Orchestra

3. Get a driving license

4. Get a driving license so I can go on a road trip to New Zealand

5. Get a driving license so I can go on a road trip to New Zealand and visit the place where they filmed “Lord of the Rings”

6. Drive an All-Terrain-Vehicle

7. Learn to prepare a (edible) meal (三菜一汤)

8. Complete a *secret* project and see it through its implementation by 2013

9. Make a trip to China to visit the two young ladies I’ve worked with in the village Sunday School  to encourage and cheer them on

10. Visit Taiwan with friends

11. Go snorkeling and experience marine life upclose

12. Bask in the sunset at the Grand Canyon in USA

13. Find my primary school teacher, Mrs Lim Lan Eng, who inspired me to learn differently and gave me opportunities to develop my English and leadership abilities

14. Visit Israel and go on a bible trail

15. Re-read the following books: The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Alchemist, and Tuesdays with Morrie

16. Complete at least two fiction books per year

17. Do a fabulous and professional video of my travels done within these 5 years

18. Watch at least two Broadway musicals

19. Re-learn keyboard at Believer Music

20. Attend a Tommy Emmanuel concert

21. Attend a John Mayer concert

22. Start an investment portfolio

23. Row a boat (kayaking and canoeing doesn’t count… I mean a boat, as in a boat you see in UK or China or Vietnam)

24. Spend $500 – $800 on a good bag

25. Read the entire Bible!!

***

I am sure we have many things we want to complete within these few years. Why don’t you try coming up with one? Trust me, it’s fun. I’m sure it’ll be more fun (and satisfying!) when I see it being checked off the list!