Alamon: Small mercies

WITHIN the first month of the turn of the New Year, I celebrate my birthday. Over time, it has come to signal also the addition of another year to our respective ages for our high school batch since I am the first to add a year in age for most, save for a few exceptions. For us members of the Corpus Christi High School Batch of 93, this year is especially significant because we are celebrating our 25th year since graduation.

It has been that long since we left the portals of our beloved our high school. With most of us in our early 40s, the period when we were together as high school batch mates represented memories made a lifetime ago. As we creep ever so closer to the fabled age of 50, a kind of reflective pause is warranted.

This mental interruption may come in different forms and labeled differently depending on whom you ask as well as the differing levels of severity in manifestation. That leather jacket in tropical climate Ph or that big Harley bike that would be unforgiving to one’s barren crown in long open-air drives or that growing number of cats that one has taken in have been called by pop psychologists as manifestations of the dreaded midlife crisis. We all have our share of mildly going bonkers over time and it is necessary perhaps, in order for us to lose steam from the pressures that come with age.

So what is special with silver anniversaries? For all intents and purposes, the 25-year celebrations pertain to an arbitrary peg that is supposed to stand in for milestone achievements. It is certainly a special occasion that we who have gone far enough are now able to look back and chuckle over the follies of our youth.

The vantage point is certainly unique. As one batch mate waxed poetic in a recent gathering, we have arrived at that age when we don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone anymore.

I don’t know if this is what they call the stuff of wisdom that comes with the grey hair and the permanent potbellies. But I am toying with the idea of finally not caring may be a consequence of how life has actually blunted us into submitting to accept the truth that we can only do so much about the challenges of life; that in the end, it is life and its weird random logic that will emerge victorious and it is futile to resist its unstoppable flow.

For some, the game has been to learn to be grateful for life’s small mercies. The joy of family and children have been granted to many, while for others, it has been fulfilling and relevant careers. We may really never know if some got the better deal in life since parting with each other 25 years ago as batch mates but, for sure, we all shared in facing our own respective hardships and struggles. And it is already a joy, in itself, to see that despite our different fates, we all have survived, one way or another.

I believe that these are the reasons for the unspoken joy of reunions and anniversaries, if we must dissect their meaning. The receding hairline and greying hair, and the unforgiving effects of gravity on our bodies may elicit for us a chuckle here and there. We have finally begun to look like our parents whether we like it or not.

But these unwanted changes in our appearance, we realize have come to mean so much more than just the work of time. They are actually badges of honor that represent our struggles against illness, the difficult relationships and separations, the deaths of loved ones, among other curved balls that life has thrown our way. Those who we grew up with and saw us in our virginal and unsullied state should be able to see and understand these silent journeys we have taken with just a glance. That is why reunions are joyous and meaningful occasions as time goes by.

Silver anniversaries and reunions achieve even greater significance when we realize that not all have been given the privilege of joining us in these occasions. Some maybe elsewhere, too far to participate, but they will be eagerly looking up the videos, pictures, and live streaming that will surely be put up. Hopefully, it would entice them to come home the next time around.

However, there are already a few who have crossed over to that great beyond never to be with us ever again and this adds a special poignancy to the reunions of those left behind. Pretty soon, we won’t be celebrating our collective survival and victory over the challenges of life but we will be ­saying goodbye to each other in these occasions, not sure if we will see our friends alive, ever again. But before that time comes, let us make sure we attend and participate in this year’s reunion. See you there Corpus '93 batch mates!

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