I was born a fragile, sickly child six decades and a year ago. Walking through another year with a clear heart, soul, and mind, nurtured by a conservative public school teacher-mother and a free-spirited accountant for a father, and lived a fairly good life.
I had a blessed career in law, legal education, and public service, had my shares of ups and downs, and made a few mistakes along the way. I never claimed to be perfect, said and did wrong things but most of the time spoke on the right, trusted the wrong people sometimes, although most often than not had a share of loyal and trustworthy people. What you see is what you get, and if I were to live my life all over again, nothing should change. I like me what I am. There are some good things I have done and if only some would look beyond the imperfections to see the right, although it is always easier to look at the evil of someone else than their selves. Family was good with a nurturing mother of four kids and recently blessed and gifted by a son who rose above the source and did his name proud by being among the topnotchers in the Bar.
Reaching this age, one contemplates finally hanging up his work boots and working clothes (suits and barong for us species) and just become a gentleman of leisure and pleasure. Retire and become an Uber driver in New York, have a little house on the prairie, with adobo, daing, or red eggs on the table and be surrounded by people who sincerely care and love me for what I am and bringing me happiness all over.
Or, maybe join Manong Joel Aliping in San Francisco singing the folk and country songs in a bonfire with batchmate Richard Arandia or Conrad Marzan while having barbecue in his huge backyard. Maybe babysit Tantan who should be back in the land of milk or honey where his “jus soli” citizenship would bring him a better life. In the alternative which is the greater possibility, maybe, just maybe stay in my place of birth, laze around like a first-class bum and drink brewed coffee to death at Starbucks or continuing to serve humanity through Rotary or return to public service.
With the pandemic, one realizes that life is short and I just want to “seize” the day, enjoy the present, instead of putting all hope in the future as if tomorrow will never come. At this age and time, you never know how long or how much time you got on Earth. Life is indeed too short for pent-up frustrations and pain. So that now or for the moment (mahirap naman magsalita ng patapos), I have no further wish or interest for more extra stress, drama, conflict, pressure, or any other contest in my life.
In other words follow the advice of the Roman satirist and poet Horace who had the bright idea that we should enjoy life while we can. His full injunction, “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero,” which literally means, “Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the next one.”
Carpe diem then is the closest thing to a philosophy of life that I can identify myself with today. So today I say, “Carpe diem” or “Seize the day.” Sigh!