As part of my job description, I interview potential employees. I always want to know their short term goals and long term goals. For those already working with me, I can randomly ask, “Can you maintain your current lifestyle without salary?” I asked one of my co-workers this question and he replied, “For now, I still need salary. I have not saved enough to start up my dream business. I need this year’s Xmas Bonus to travel to Dubai”. He went further to tell me about things he hoped to achieve and places he hoped to visit before he died.
My brother’s friend told me that even if he was shot at, the bullet may hurt him but he would never die until he had acquired all the wealth he wanted to acquire.
Recently, I was thinking of all the things I hoped to achieve before I was forty. It also made me realize that there were things I hoped NEVER to do before I died. Never is a strong word but they are things I am comfortable with not doing.
Trying to be anyone other than Geraldine:
Being someone else is a waste of the person I am. I enjoy my unique quirks and twists. I admire people and their distinct skills but I don’t want to use anybody as a yardstick or moral barometer for myself. Being someone else is like having a fusion of about twenty persons in me. This will lead to a personality clash.
Being a good employee at a job I hate: I would rather resign than be unhappy daily at a job I hate. I can’t skillfully pretend to be happy with a job that saps my self-esteem and ridicules my self-worth. I’m not going to the grave as the respected employee of a soul-crushing company that wouldn’t even notice my demise.
Saying I have no regrets:
That would be a lie. We all have things we regret whether we accept it or not. They may not be huge mistakes but silly petty stuff. I regret not having a duet with Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston. I silently regret not having a baby when I was much younger. It wouldn’t have been funny then, but now, it would have been fun. My child and I would have set fire to the rain. I regret not buying anything expensive for my mother. I regret not telling her daily how much I loved her and how much she meant to me.
Worrying too much: Worrying, especially about those things that haven’t happened yet, is useless. Why should I worry about how children would turn out when I haven’t even had them yet?
Staying in an abusive relationship:
It may feel hard to get out of a bad relationship but it’s not worse than staying in it and wasting everyone’s time. I won’t spend the rest of my life with a violent lover. If I have to be with a panel beater, it should be with one who panel beats on vehicles only.
Dressing accordingly: Why should I wear black or dull colours for a funeral? If I want to wear all colours of the rainbow, I should. That is my own way of giving the deceased a colourful farewell. I will definitely wear jeans and sneakers to a Sunday Church service. If you were paying attention to the priest, I am sure you wouldn’t notice my dressing. I won’t wear aso-ebi. Why wear the same material with people you don’t like?
Taking people who care about me for granted:
I hope not to hurt people who genuinely care about me. I hope to be grateful to my stylist who takes extra time to make my hair beautiful. I hope to show more appreciation to the tailor who makes my dresses. He bears all my tantrums and gives me a fantastic combination of my taste and an ideal dressing. I hope never to hurt, even with words, the driver who finds joy in running personal errands for me. I hope to not hurt Queen (my dog) who is a better human than most Homo sapiens I know. Her allegiance is unparalleled.
Feeling bad about having “too much” or “too little” sexual experience:
My sexual acrobatics would not be something to give me restless nights. I have no desire in medals or remedial classes on sex.
Ageing gracefully: I am supposed to look old. I wouldn’t put in so much effort just to look forty when I am eighty. No Botox, no cosmetic surgery of any kind. I am going to be close to a living corpse and scare the hell out of people.
Leaving a testament:
I would not leave my loved ones with an instruction. Let them use their intuition and discretion. I will not write an accurate will. Let them fight it out. In this way, my legacy and all of its glorious mystery will live on, now and for the duration of my family’s disputes. To spice things up, I may leave a blank will that looks like, “…to my darling Chiboy, I promised to mention you in my will, hi”.
I hope not to die. I want to be immortal. I have so much to not die for. I need to experience the hot air balloon. I want to have dinner with my sweetheart at the great Noma restaurant of Denmark where the cost of a meal for 2, without wine is $600. I would love to savour the culinary specialties of Chef Rene’ Redzepi. I would love to swim with Belugas in the Cook Inlet in Alaska. I would love John Legend to sing “Tonight” to me while I sleep and I would love to wake up to the sonorous voice of Juice Newton singing me “Angel of the Morning”. No, I won’t die now. Dying would defeat this journey of life.
People are usually scared of dying and death. It is not a familiar topic except when discussing the deceased. When we realize that death comes even when we least expect it, we will live better and more compassionately. When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that university degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? Live as you would have wished to live when you are dying. Now that we are alive, let’s maximize our positive potentials. Don’t let time and chance pass you by. We only live once, but if we do it right, once is enough.
Don’t forget to share with me the things you hope never to do again.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bevan Goldswain