The 2016 Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Tsukimi in Japan, was recently celebrated. I love Moon Cakes. Romantically, as Chinese legend had it, the Festival honored Chang -e who flew to the moon for the sake of her beloved husband’s elixer which she had to protect. She drank it then chose to live on the moon to brighten up her husband’s dark nghts. He offered her favorite cakes and fruits, as a sign of his eternal love, on moonlit nights. Though Yi had passed away, their love remains eternal as we, their children, celebrate the Autumn Moon.
This season had left me nostalgic and wishful. It was in the same month 23 years ago, under the same full moon, that I lost a piece of me. Reality kicked in. I had to force myself to grow up. After two decades, youth and recklessness had left me. The girl, with so much adventurism and nonchalance, is a stranger. I like this 40’s mom looking at me in the mirror. I like the serenity she uncovered and the overflowing love that drives her days.
They say a person mellows down with age. I agree and it amazes me. I see it in my own mom and countless women who touched my life. I see it in some men specially my dad, men in my family and my besties.
Mellowing down doesn’t mean we lost ourselves completely. Our core is resting like a dormant volcano ready to erupt when the circumstances are perfect or a car engine that jumpstarts after replacing its sparkplug
The irony, after dormancy, is that we have gotten old. We are no longer as strong as we used to be. The effortless six-hour hike up a mountain has become an exhausting nine-hour trek which made trekking less appealing for we have become more cautious rather than adventurous.
Looking ahead, maybe ten years from now, I will be unable to do two of my favorite things: mountain climbing and snorkelling. It’s okay since that would be in my 50’s, not now. I better do them before the deadline. My family and friends find it too strenuous. They stir me away from the idea whenever I bring it up. I even get reminders of how I lag behind during our liesurely strolls in the mall. In defence, I tell them I’m taking my sweet time enjoying my rare walks.
I remember rushing. I loved the adrenalin but those expensive trips to the hospital, just to be treated for stress in my late 20’s and 30’s, weren’t worth it. The Bangladeshi doctor in the ER told me to slow down because, at that age, the results could be lethal. She made such impact that I pictured being absent from my family’s life. The fear she instilled was like hitting the brakes in the middle of the race.
The realization of the body’s fragility was a revelation. Being a sentimental person, I knew my heart is fragile so I kept away from what might break it and it was hard work. Foolishly, I discounted the fact of the body’s wear and tear specially it’s expiration date. I recently added it to my “Handle with Care” list.
I have successfully crossed out some things in myBucket List over the years. There are a few left. Selfishly, for my curiousity and personal gratification, those undone are:
1. Go rafting in the rapids again.
2.Go mountain climbing again to watch the sunset as I wait for the moon and stars to come out, one by one, until the sky flickers with their beauty on the mountaintop.
3. Wait for the sunrise, by the beach, with my bittersweet coffee.
4. Bunjee jump again.
6. Be a licensed pilot.
7.(I’m lost for words with this one…. “To Follow!”)
8. Get cremated. I might rise up like those zombies in “Train to Busan” if this doesn’t happen. = )
Next are the things I need to STRETCH:
5. A smile each moment of the day.
Looking back at that Autumn Moon in 1993, I realize it was a stepping stone that got me here and will get me to where I’m going.
It was and is a good life. I am blessed. I thank everyone who were and are in it. You are among God’s greatest blessings.
Please don’t forget to thank and cherish those who are important to you too. Let them know. Time is so precious.