Wednesday, January 17, 2007

(Thank God for another birthday! The longest one yet- spanning 48 hours, across oceans, continents and timezones, spent with loved ones who are my most ardent fans, most welcome critics, dependable pillars of strength...

Still groggy and unwilling to snap out of my vacation mode, I'm just re-posting a January 2004 entry in my old blog while I was still a clinical clerk. Funny how my concerns three years ago still resonate up to now.)



I often engage myself in “serious introspection” at very specific times of the year: Christmas, New Year, and Easter. I try to assess my life thus far and how I fare as a human being in the greater scheme of things and creatures. Then there are the “emergency introspections,” often undertaken (a) when exams are EXTREMELY hard and (b) when the number of patients streaming into the ER during our tour of duty rivals the throng who joined the Exodus. I quickly run through my tally of sins and beg for God’s mercy for each infraction, lest the onslaught of Herculean questions and the en masse influx of patients continue and devour me entirely.

And then there is the cliché and yet unavoidable Birthday Introspection.

I was prompted to rummage into my soul by ice cream. After my usual Jollibee dinner, I suddenly had the craving for ice cream. Being low on cash and on the verge of an asthma attack, I was more inclined to just stay stuck to the idiot box and let my craving die a natural death courtesy of RPN 9. Well, quite naturally, the glutton in me won. As if in a trance, I gravitated to the nearest convenience store and bought myself a 1-liter tub of ice cream. I practically ate a fourth of the Double Dutch treat in one sitting.

It was one of them dilemmas that was easy to resolve, if I were a normal person: No to ice cream simply because hundred pesos would have gone further if spent elsewhere and my airways were already inflamed for the past two weeks or so. But then, in my distorted anatomy, my sweet tooth controlled my brain; hence, a tub of ice cream is now a denizen of our freezer. But as I was gorging myself with ice cream, I began to wonder:

Do we become more reckless as we get older? Do we more readily disregard norms and, at times, common sense in pursuit of what will make us happy? Do we feel we have been battle-tested enough ensuring that we will emerge unscathed from our seemingly foolish exploits? Are we cloaked with invincibility by virtue of the vicarious victories of people we know with whom we have much in common? Are we more adventurous since we know life is too short to be playing safe always? Are we more brazen because we know better?

Or

As we get older, do we tend to be more careful? Do we toe the line less since we have more investments and interests to protect? Are vicarious learnings enough to tame our youthful restlessness? Do we more readily conform to norms and heed common sense knowing compliance will lead to a more peaceful (co-)existence? Are we too battle-weary, thus it is too risky to expect to emerge unscathed yet again for the nth time from our foolish exploits? Are we more aware of our humanity so we more readily throw out the window illusions of invincibility? Are we less adventurous since we know life is too short to be playing one continuous Russian roulette? Are we less brazen because we know better?

Am I the reckless adult or the careful adult? Let me get back to you after I down my second tub of ice cream. It’s my birthday and I’ll stuff myself if I want to.

(Oh, by the way. Can anyone hand me my Salbutamol inhaler? It’s somewhere under that pile of papers and books and whatnots. I think.)

4 comments:

  1. I should've known better to disconnect my 24kbps dial-up connection when I got into your site. I feel like I'm in one of those conversations we would have when we should be studying for our exams. Your repeated reference to Jollibee made me actually miss one of the worst Jollibee branches in the country. This is definitely better than reading the papers on weekends. I regret having missed the rest of it that got erased, but I'm pretty sure I'll be reading more of your blogs in the future. Fantastic.

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  2. hey juan! those were the best of times and the worst of times. bunking with you and jay made school a lot more fun, interesting, and bearable hahahaha uwi ka na ng Manila! those conversations are long overdue!

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  3. The Ian I know and love is both logical and illogical, both serious and seriously funny, both rash and vigilant. Belated happy birthday, Ian! You deserve the best life has to offer.

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  4. Thanks for the vote of confidence, allan! as my blog says- so far, so good =) life's delicious hahaha i wish you a scrumptious life, too!

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