Many people are afraid of growing old. I’m afraid of growing old and boring. Many people are afraid of growing old, alone. I’m afraid of growing old, insane. Many people are afraid of losing their looks. I’m afraid of losing my dreams. Many people are afraid of losing youth. I’m afraid of losing my soul.
When you’re 15, 35 seems ancient. When you’re 35, 15 seems juvenile. A turnaround in a split second – two decades zoom past and before you know it, it’s only a mile to the next millennium. Don’t fear age – it’s a right of personhood. Don’t fear death – it’s God’s greatest jest.
Don’t grow old – you don’t have to.
Don’t date because you’re desperate. Don’t marry because you’re miserable. Don’t have kids because you think your genes are superior. Don’t separate because you think it’s fashionable. Don’t drink because you have troubles. Don’t gamble because you think winning is inevitable. Don’t philander because you think you’re irresistible. Most likely, you’re not.
Don’t associate with people you can’t trust. Don’t cheat. Don’t lie. Don’t pretend. Don’t try to buy your way into the kingdom of God. Don’t dictate because you’re smarter. Don’t demand because you’re stronger. Don’t sleep around because you think you’re old enough and know better. Don’t hurt your kids because loving them is harder. Don’t sell yourself, your family, and your ideals. Don’t stagnate. Don’t regress. Learn a new skill. Find a new friend. Start a new career. Don’t live in the past. Time can’t bring anything or anyone back. Don’t put your life on hold for possibly Mr. Right. Don’t throw your life away on absolutely Mr. Wrong because your biological clock is ticking and you can’ t afford to have your eggs harvested before the new millennium.
There’s always a mad rush to something, somewhere but victory does not always belong to those who finish first. Sometimes, there is no race to be won only a price to be paid for some of life’s more hasty decisions. You can’t always go with the throng who could be wrong. Sometimes, you have to be alone to be enlightened.
To terminate your loneliness, reach out to the homeless. To feed your nurturing instincts, care for the needy. To fulfill your parenting fantasies, get a puppy. Don’t bring another life into this world for all the wrong reasons. To keep yourself warm, buy a jacket. In the long run, it will be less complicated and less costly. To make yourself happy, pursue your passions and be the best of what you can be.
Simplify your life. Take away the clutter. Get rid of destructive elements — abusive friends, nasty habits and dangerous liaisons. Don’t abandon your responsibilities but don’t overdose on duty. Don’t live life recklessly without thought and feeling for your family. Be true to yourself. Don’t commit when you’re not ready. Don’t keep others waiting needlessly. Fall in love – it’s the greatest thing on earth. But take care and remember, after the fall must come the rise.
Go on that trip. Don’t postpone it. Say those words. Don’t let the moment pass. Do what you must even at society’s scorn. Write poetry. Love deeply. Walk barefoot. Hold hands. Dance with wild abandon. Cry at the movies. Take care of yourself. Don’t wait for someone to take care of you. You light up your life. You drive yourself to your destination. No one completes you – except you.
It is true that life doesn’t get easier with age.
It only gets more challenging.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose your capacity to love.
Pursue your passions. Live your dreams.
Don’t lose faith in God. Don’t grow old. Just grow up…
— Melanie T. Lim (Sun Star Newspaper – June 2, 1999)