If you could, would you be young again?

Written by LakwatserangParuparo, as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles


This is a timely assignment for me this September. You see, I turn 51 in just a few winks this month. This is like being asked, just like the movie, “13 going 30,” would you like to be 15 instead of 51?

Everyday we are bombarded by media to look young through billboards, tv and print ads, magazines and newspapers. Everyone seems to be after the ‘fountain of youth’ otherwise, he or she will be left behind wallowing in the pool of wrinkles, white hair and yes, old looks. I wonder, what’s with this obsession about being young?

This got me thinking about my own life. I am imagining a genie in front of me asking if I would wish to be young again at this very minute. I imagine myself freezing with blood drained from my face, unable to speak. Tough question. This is like asking if I could live my life over again, would I and what would I do?

Let’s see. I am a wife with a good and loving husband and a mother with three grown-up children. I have worked in a bank for 17 years, taught at a local college for five years and has been a freelancer, er, homemaker for the last six years. Simple as our family’s lifestyle may be, I have learned to be content with our needs being met including a few luxuries on the side like the benefits of traveling in the countryside especially in Mindanao where not many people have gone to. As a family, we look forward to exploring more waterfalls, mountains and seas and having lots of fun as we do so.

Wanting to be young again at this point means wanting a whole new lifestyle or a whole new set of family and friends or a whole new plethora of life experiences. Perhaps, it would mean taking up the interesting fine arts and mass communications rather than the scholarly and boring economics course which I took in college. I would probably not have gotten married at 25 years old but have gone backpacking all over Asia and Europe in search of adventure to satisfy my Bohemian spirit.

I probably would be more daring in meeting people and sharing ideas rather than cautious and conforming to what society dictates. I would have followed a different drummer and would have seen the world in the eyes of Van Gogh and Picasso rather than Adam Smith and perhaps, Mother Teresa? I would’ve scaled Mt. Apo and even Mt. Everest, dived into the depths of Tubattaha Reef or bungee-jumped in Danao or better yet gone skydiving in New Zealand. Then I would have lived with nary a care in the world and wrote all of those down in a journal which no one will ever read.

I probably would commit many mistakes and know what failure means instead of live on top of a pedestal where I’m not allowed to have feet of clay. Then I would learn from my mistakes and live a whole new colorful life armed with a resolve not to commit the same mistakes again as well as an armor of good intentions to help change the world for the better.

But as much as I would have done all these, I wouldn’t change my family and friends and the life I now live, imperfect it may be. I would probably just erase the wrongs I’ve done and the costly mistakes I’ve made in the past. And if I need to make a simple life my kind of life, then let it be.

So, if I could be young again now, would I be? Perhaps, but only in my dreams, man, yes, only in my dreams!

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