I turned 26 years old on October 1st. As I wished, it was like any other day – though I did receive presents, eat lots of yummy food, and go to the wake of a dear friend’s brother.
It was there, at the wake, that life unfolded in front of me. Schoolmates laughed and cracked jokes. A mother and sister valiantly held themselves together in the face of severe grief. Friends attempted to shoulder some of the burden of loss. And in the pit of my stomach was the nagging pang that the world had lost someone beautiful.
This man, whose life had been cherished by many people, was someone I never had the privilege of meeting. And yet, somehow, embedded in the gray, misty sky and minute droplets of rain, were fragments of his smile. I was sure of it. We sat under tents and ate sopas as love passed through us and soaked our spirits in warmth, and a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation overtook me.
May he rest in peace.
You make life worth living. Yes, you. Thank you.
I used to play a game. I’d talk out loud, as if I was being filmed for a TV special. As I was talking, I’d pretend to be someone I know. A friend. An acquaintance. A teacher. A lover. A family member. I’d be anyone and everyone, and always, I’d describe myself in the third person and go on and on about my life and what I had been like when I was alive. I was, in essence, playing the parts in a cinematic biography of my life.
Or maybe cinematic obituary is more accurate.
The point is, this game helped me to figure out how I wanted to be remembered, and in that way, it was responsible for the creation of my personality and behavior. It helped me figure out how to live, and because of that, I’ve been able to live by my own rules, following my own desires, and always on my own terms. That right there is what I’m most proud of.
Every year, on my birthday, as I blow out a new candle on my cake, I make a wish for something that I really need. Every year, there is a lesson that I must learn, or a characteristic I must develop. Every year, it comes true. This year, I couldn’t think of anything to wish for. I was all out of wishes.
As far as I can remember, I’ve had friends with extraordinarily clairvoyant insights. In the last few months, many of them have been haunted by premonitions about me. They don’t know what’s in store, but they’re plagued by an unsettling suspicion that something will happen.
I’m rattled by the onslaught of concern. But I don’t know what to do except for what I’m already doing. I just have to keep on living. To the best of my ability. Like no one’s watching. And as if I’ve only got today.