Read On 2030

Dear 48-Year Old Den,


I think 15 years is enough to remind you of these important things, just in case life happened and pushed you towards another direction.

Be kinder. Yes, it will always be a struggle for us. It was rough growing up and we made this excuse when we were younger (younger than we are now) but this does not mean that we are entitled to bitterness, just because we were not as sheltered as the others. I know that you still remember that they (Papa and Mama) tried and they did what they can. It was still not as warm and peachy as how we hoped it, but it was more than enough. It was not their intention to make life rough (I do not believe – you do too – that any parent hoped for his or her life’s child to be difficult) and we will never know why our life is how it was and other people’s lives were the complete opposite. I guess the why is not important. So if you are asking the question again now, stop. Hush. It is a useless question. It will not help you, but will only re-open old wounds that should have healed a long time ago.

Forgive. Oh Den, it is so much better to let go they say but right now, I cannot but I am hoping that you have done this by now – that you have ripped the raw hatred inside you, the same one which has grown strong roots in your heart, lungs, and brain. I hope that you have pulled it out and burned it to ashes. I hope that you have planted softer emotions from the holes it left and nurtured it with devotion that by the time you read this letter again, blooms have blossomed in colors. I hope that you will be braver than me by leaving the past where it should be, in the past. Forgive because we have no right to withhold it from someone. Forgive because we deserve peace. Forgive because God did the same thing for us.

Continue loving our body. Do not ever fall into the trap of superficial obsession that the whole world seemed to have fallen into. If there will ever be days when the grey hair that sprouts from our crowning glory becomes a nuisance, the wrinkles will start making us feel unwanted, or the cellulite on our legs eggs insecurity, take heed that these are not important. Age will take its toll. This has always been the way for everyone and fighting it will only result to a horrendous aftermath. Every year is a friend, our body will change, and so we have to dance alongside time. I pray that you will still be comfortable in your own imperfect body and that our reasons, if we work out or exercise religiously, will not be attached to vanity.

Love that husband. I am assuming that we are married by now and that we have chosen this husband not out of force majeure or (God forbid!) convenience, but out of pure adoration with God’s blessings. Love him, Den. Do not ever give up on him. We would not marry him if he was not the one that caused that sneezing fit, remember? Take note of all those articles we wrote and plant them in corners in our head that we can never avoid them. Love him in such a way like how we loved Papa – with respect, with quiet assurance, with gifts of all sorts that cannot be bought, with immeasurable support, only this time, add enough passion that he will never forget his claim, that we are his and he is ours. If at one point you become angry, irritated, infuriated, or disappointed with him, tell him. Talk to him (We are adults after all!) and listen. You need to hear him and he needs to hear you too. Marriage is not about non-negotiables, it is about compromises. You need to do this, he needs to do this too. It will not be a solo performance.

Have children. How many now? Ideally two would be perfect, but three is okay too, or more maybe. It does not matter as long as they were made out of love and that we are equipped with the right weapons. Do not ever take the easy way out when they are reaching out (most especially when you are at your busiest) and do not ever, ever take the lazy route that most parents take. You know how this is, it has always irked us – a parent showering his or her child with material things just to shut the child up  or a parent who does not have enough courage to discipline or say no. I hope that you have done what you have promised – read them bedtime stories while they were growing up, sung lullabies, prepared breakfast with funny pancake faces, brought them to theater performances, allowed them to paint their own colors outside our home, gave them space to breathe or test their tiny wings. Be there always.

Work (I hope that you are still a humanitarian), but not as hard as now. Leave weekends free for your family. I hope that you have stopped spending late nights at the office or at the field. No amount of overtime compensation will equal the amount of time you spend with the people you love. Work smart, work honestly, and work with an aim of teaching your children how important it is to give back to society and help those in dire need of assistance.

Travel. Are you travelling still? What new place have you marked off in our mini-atlas? I hope you have not been cured of the travel bug and that childlike wonder will be passed on to our children. I hope that you have fed our passport with more stamps and discovered places we have never been to. I hope by this time you have finally finished that bucket list of countries we wanted to visit since 2010 and have started a new list which included our husband and children. Do not ever stop searching for adventure, for new words to use, for new traditions to be practiced, for new friends to keep. If people are still asking, “When are you going to stop?” Tell them, NEVER – up to your last breath. Say it in the most dramatic way just for the heck of it.

Be consistently happy. I hope that by now you have mastered the joy in being at peace with the decisions you make. That if one decision led to a disaster then it is okay.  That if one decision led to a quarter of what you hoped for then it is still okay. We know that we do not always make the best decisions, in fact, some of those decisions were quite shitty but they all took us where we are now (or where you are now). Accept it graciously and smile. Laugh off the obstacles, jump over the problems, and most importantly – thank God every day.


33-Year Old Den

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