According to President Trump, we live in precarious times. Any moment now, someone somewhere is going to press a button and send us all to Kingdom Come.
Which is very depressing because I recently spring cleaned my room. Which is actually less Marie Kondo than it sounds. My idea of spring cleaning largely involves me opening drawers, staring at them for a while and then shutting them again. The idea of having to sort through the accumulated rubbish is just too stressful.
But I did find a sheet of paper dated 2015 on which I had listed my new year’s resolutions for the coming year.
What gets me is that I’d actually gone to the trouble of typing it all up and printing it out. That, and the fact that it didn’t take Einstein to figure out that I’ve not fulfilled a single thing on the 10-itemed list. It’s too embarrassing to tell you what’s on the list. Suffice to say, one of them was: “Go to the gym”.
I do this every year. I look back. Take stock of what I did right. What I did wrong. Get depressed.
A few years ago, I resolved to stop making a list of New Year resolutions. Instead, I set myself one goal on the assumption that it can’t be difficult to accomplish just one thing. Three hundred and sixty-four days later, it’s always unfulfilled. One year, I decided that I would learn French. To this day, I can only say, “Voici l’hotel!” which is French for “Here is the hotel!” It’s not a very useful phrase.
Another year, I made it my goal to be nice to people. That lasted all of two days before I lost my temper coming down on the City Hall MRT escalator because everyone was ignoring the keep left rule, and I missed my train.
It’s endlessly mortifying to realise just how unfulfilled your life is, though, to be honest, I’m not sure that I feel particularly unfulfilled because I didn’t get to a gym.
These days, when I get on the bus, I realize I am no longer the youngest person on the bus. Sometimes, kids call me “uncle”. Sharyn says the next person who calls her “auntie” is going to get, in her words, “one tight slap”.
But the bigger question, especially as the new season of ‘Stranger Things’ approaches, is this: What have I done with my life? When the time comes and I breathe my last, will my last thought be: “I’ve had a great time, I have no regrets! Oooh, what’s that bright shining light?” Or would it be: “Are you kidding me? I skipped dessert and now I’m dying? Oooh, what’s that bright shining light?”
I hope Mr Trump has gotten it wrong and that the world isn’t full of scary people wanting to blow us all up. Because, to be honest, I’m not quite done yet.
There are still so many things to do. Or, rather, not do. Like read the newspapers. There’s nothing in them, except bad news. I should also spend less time on Facebook because it just makes me anxious. And besides, according to my 10-year-old god-daughter, only “old people” are active on Facebook. She’s lucky Sharyn wasn’t around when she said that.
I should also stop feeling guilty that I watch so much TV and just enjoy every second of ‘Real Housewives of Nassim Road’. I should have second helpings at every meal instead of watching my waistline. More to the point, I should eat at more buffets.
I should stop pretending that I enjoy the company of people I don’t particularly like (ie, my cousin and his awful wife and children). I mean, really, talk about hours you can’t get back. I should read more books, see more movies and dance more instead of wasting all that time sleeping in late and taking afternoon naps.
I should call my sister more often and check up on her eczema, and tell the people I really do like how much I enjoy their company. I should also learn how to bake a cake because, as I’ve learnt on Nigella’s cooking shows, nothing says “I love you” more than a home-made cake.
But most of all, I should stop making lists. Because what I kind of get now is that you can’t control your destiny. Every day is Life’s way of surprising you. But what you do with that surprise is entirely up to you.