Letters by Kenny Mah

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Still November

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November 28, 2008

Hey you,

The Christmas decorations are already out. Bright, shiny baubles. Everywhere, just about. Half-constructed giant plastic trees in the malls (green, gold or silver), billboards or buntings that remind you it’s that time of the year again and sales abound, the economy be damned. Rock bottom prices, how could you not buy, buy, buy? Grab these offers while you still can! Clear the stocks, soon we’ll reset the clocks. It’s still November but the year seems almost over and done with. 2008 is almost dead.

Next month we will celebrate and go on our long awaited holidays. Some will start on diets again, in time to fit into that just perfect dress for the office party, or to try once more to lose that paunch, a souvenir from a year of good beer. Resolutions. List-making for the next twelve months, more hopes and promises. This year, we’ll make it happen, really. I wonder if we even believe half the things we say?

Why should one year be any different from another? Why should one day, for that matter?

I believe in living right now, and I do, as much as I can. But perhaps I live too much in the future, also. That, while I passionately seek to engage in whatever and whomever I’m with today, I am guilty of letting tomorrow remain simply that day — yet another tomorrow. But tomorrows, they run out, soon enough, if one isn’t careful.

In a couple of months (less, actually), I will turn thirty. The Big 3-0. Nothing if one doesn’t make too much of a fuss of it, but the number does scream somewhat. A breaker, a bastion. You have reached your prime, my friend, it calls to me, what have you achieved? A constant question, a reprimand why not? Have I done less than I should?

When I was five and attending kindergarten, I would try and get as many gold stars as I could. For writing, for drawing, for listening and paying attention. Was it talent they were seeking to uncover, or simply, the capacity to please, to achieve as much as we could? I don’t have any of those gold stars with me now. I wonder though, what good would they have done me? How much recognition do we need before we can rest on that final pedestal, that impossible podium of I Have Done It All (And In Record Time, Too)?

No one tells you when you can stop.

I know what I have not achieved this year. I have not finished writing a book. Nor, therefore, published one. I have not returned to my journey as a fitness instructor (and in fact, managed to pile on pounds in the meantime). Instead of going to the gym more often, I am hardly there. I have not embarked on healthier eating habits; I have patronized more fast food restaurants in 2008 than in any other year of my life. I am not making more money than I was before. I am also not growing any taller.

See, at some point we do have to stop or risk it all becoming nonsense. I’m not sure if I’m in the rat race but I sure ain’t no rat. Perhaps I don’t want more things, I just want to be more of myself. Clich├ęd as it sounds, don’t you want to be a better you, that’s all?

So I am not growing any taller. That’s all right. Then I don’t have to buy a new pair of pants with the extra money I am not making. I do make enough to feed myself and put a roof over my not particularly brainy or ambitious head, so that’s quite fine. I contribute to the prevention of mass retrenchment of KFC and McD staff. Good karma, well on its way. Absence from the gym means not being surrounded by hulks and chunks of human males that does wonders for my self-esteem. Makes me feel like I’m floating. There, I’m taller already.

And the book? Dunno when it will be finished and/or published, but I do have this blog I’m writing here, more or less on a regular basis for more than seven years now. That’s more time than Brad Pitt spent in Tibet so I’m guessing it counts for something, no?

What I am not gonna do is wait for tomorrow or next year to be grateful for what I have and what I have done. I enjoy my day job and my colleagues, escaped insane asylum inmates that they are. My nephew and nieces still look up to me for no other reason than I’m their favorite uncle. (Yes, madness must run in the family, mustn’t it?) Mom and Dad are getting older but are happier than ever. (Retirements suits my progenitors who have a more jam-packed social calendar than yours truly. And you guys call me a social butterfly. Hmph. Meet the Parents of the Social Butterfly.)

My friends are the bestest in the world. Period.

And you love me. I know cos when I ask you if you love me, you say you don’t, that you never did. And then I tickle you and we wrestle and break out into tears and laughter and you love me.

Yours always and always,

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