Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Seize the dying day

Posted on February 12, 2011 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated February 13, 2011

I’ve been having some great moments lately with old high school classmates. In the past four months, we have had two class reunions that were very successful and so much fun. It’s been 42 years since we got out of high school. Since that time, a great many of us have gotten married, had children, built careers, fought our personal, professional, spiritual, and some medical challenges and battles, but have somehow managed to survive more or less intact. We have engaged the many aspects of what comprise a life and have more or less succeeded.

Time really goes by so quickly. Very often, I ask myself and others, whoever thought the day would come when we would reach this age? I started asking this when I got to my 30s. We are almost 60 years old now. Each time I ask it, I experience the same feeling of incredulity.

Somehow, after a great gap of four decades, being with people you spent your tender years with feels more wonderful than ever. It is important to connect with one’s past. It’s good to go back to our origins to measure where we are now. And we have all “arrived” somewhat, and that makes us more secure, respectful, caring and even interesting to each other.

Many of us have grown and changed. Some of the shy, quiet and somewhat invisible ones in high school have become quite successful. And about an equal number have somehow remained the same. The old nicknames we gave each other still seem apt. The jokers, comics and mischievous ones still manage to make us smile when they share their stories. Many of those who were not too serious and were happy-go-lucky have remained so.

I notice that some seem to have aged more than others. Many have medical conditions that have affected them for some years now—high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, to name a few. Some of us have white, thinning hair or have lost most of it.

There are also those who are on their second marriages, or have chosen new singlehood. A few are now in early retirement, or in the midst of planning their next decades here at home after spending the best years of their lives living abroad.

In both class reunions, the organizers made sure they invited live bands that some of the more musical classmates have been playing for. Last Friday, we had the Rhythm and Blues Band headed by classmate Sammy Climaco on guitar, with his wife on keyboards, his son on bass, his daughter on drums and three singers. It was great to see Sammy still playing just like in high school when he wowed everyone with his musical prowess. The band played the music of our glorious youth, which got us all excited, and nostalgic.

And to get everybody up and about, there was a bevy of young and rather attractive dance instructresses who really got us going on the dance floor. And boy did we dance! And sing, and shout, and laugh as we gyrated, did the swing and the boogie, lost in our time-travel moment.

We felt like we were just 17, the way Paul McCartney expressed it in the line, “And you know what I mean,” in the song I Saw Her Standing There.

While the girls gamely danced with us, alas, for most of us, our bodies were no longer as strong or as limber as we remembered them to be. We could not dance more than stretches of about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Besides, at our age, conversation and catching up with old classmates are now as attractive activities as dancing, even with young women — a realization that made us laugh.

Musing on our own past salad days, I shared the view with one classmate that being young is still such a glorious feeling even when all we have of it now are just short fleeting moments. Like most good things, one hardly appreciates youth until it is almost gone. Indeed, youth is wasted on the young!

So much about being young is also about being lost in a sea of angst and raging hormones. If only we already had the focus, ambition, direction and purposeful passion in our youth, instead of teen narcissism where we confused transient feelings with commitment, and sexual attraction with real love.

Even as we are now close to our sixth decade of life on earth, it is uplifting to see some of my classmates still flying with the wind beneath their wings. Their chi, or prana, or life energy is still strong. It is evident in the way they carry themselves, the way they smile, their composure. There is still that twinkle in their eyes even as they talk about mundane things. They are alive, present, curious and engaged. It was clear to me that they still want to do other things before thinking of retirement or slowing down.

With modern medicine, vitamins and with clean living, 60 is the new 50 or even younger. Compared to our parents’ generation, I figure, it would be quite premature for us to retire at 60 when we can still have one, two or even more decades left. What would we do? How would we spend our time? It’s hard to pretend being old when we do not feel it.

But even as we may feel that we can still shake the world, it is also time to take stock. Some may feel it is time to seriously make and pursue our bucket lists, or not waste time in setting a few things right in our lives, or go into mentoring the younger generation.

Whatever one decides to do, one thing is clear: for those who still have the energy, this may be the time in our lives when we will be taking our last big expedition, or finishing what we started long ago and making sure that we put the crowning feather on our life’s work. This is the final sprint before we begin walking slower.

With the little youth we have left, we must seize the dying day and make something with what’s left of it. This is our last chance to be energetic and passionately purposeful!

* * *

1) Join my Songwriting Workshop on Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a fun, challenging workshop where the student is taught the elements of good songwriting from melodic, structure, lyrics, arrangements, etc. Hits from all genres and styles of music are analyzed. The “hook” is discussed and applied at length. Most importantly, the student is challenged to actually write songs during the one-day workshop. Students must know how to play an instrument.

2) Go beyond a point-and-shoot experience. Let me teach you how to use it. I would like to invite you all to a workshop in Manila . I am offering a Basic Photography Workshop on March 12, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Venue is at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC. If you enroll in this class, you can get a discount from Canon when you buy cameras and accessories.

* * *

Visit http://jimparedes-workshops.com or write me at emailjimp@gmail.comfor questions and reservations. You can also call Olie at 0916-8554303 or 426-5375.

1 to “Seize the dying day”

  1. BabyPink says:

    Wow, that was really touching, Sir Jim. Made me realize a lot of things. :)

    My high school batchmates and I are still very close, at least some of us are, and I do hope we’ll remain intact until we reach old age. :)



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