Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now...

Last weekend, I took a trip to the night market. After one bus and one taxi ride there, I ate way too much ice cream, personally added to my wardrobe for the first time in 6 and a half months, walked around for hours on end.

And I bought *these. New Glasses.

Night Markets are great because you can do things like knock $1000 bucks off the price of something right after the salesperson tells you they'll cut the ticket in half.

I've never had glasses before. Buying them here was a matter of cost efficiency. When I told someone here that I bought them because objects (mostly words) in the distance were beginning to become a bit more blurry, they asked if I was getting old. I chuckled. But then I thought, our culture really fears age, doesn't it? It's strange, but I think I'm looking forward to it.

I know this sounds crazy, but I am anticipating growing older. I can't yet imagine me or my life at 50 - or 70 - but I want to get there. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking forward to dementia or Alzheimer's that may follow in the years after that point, but last week I smiled into the mirror, and saw lines across my forehead. Then I smiled wider. It made me wonder what the next 30 years will bring. And then the 30 to follow.

In Taiwan, they still care about looking young and youthful, but it's different. People grow old gracefully here. I can't say the same about too many people I know in California. There's much less emphasis on de-aging procedures and operations and over the counter/under the jacket products. Beyond that, people value the aged. Youth are taught to respect and look up to and admire them. Though I don't plan to worship my ancestors by burning paper money, and offering a table of fruit that doesn't get eaten, I do hope to value the wisdom that comes with age while I have it around me.

If I live out all my years, I've only just rounded the first quarter. Some would say that these are the best years of my life, but that just feels dismal. Despite the blurriness of what's to come - dementia or sage wisdom - I hope to look back at any point and say "This [the then-"now"] is the best time of my life." I want my life to be like wine. I don't want to live perpetually backwards. Because Life is a Journey, but backwards is the only direction we can't go.

*Picture taken at Retro Mojo.


floreta said...

silly picture.

as for aging, i would like to grow old gracefully.. i haven't yet thought of what my years would be like in the 50s and beyond (truly can't even picture something that far off). but i am truly looking forward to my 30s. moving forward is the only way i can think of going. it's why i like to keep the past in the past (exes, especially)... i just don't see much value there unfortunately.

Don said...


Because you have the goal, "I hope to look back at any point and say "This [the then-"now"] is the best time of my life." I want my life to be like wine."

You are already on the way to achieving it. A guru once titled his book, "Be Here Now." (It's really the only place we can be...)

And if we do a good job of being and becoming, "now" is always the best of times.

(Except for times of great sadness. They suck, but they don't last, and they provide a contrast that makes a "pleasant" now even better.)

Don, the semi-aged, semi-saged, and certainly happy!

PS: You also have models to aspire to, like the Monk in the Mountains. If you have an inkling of the goal, the path will unfold.

PPS: Now in my 50's, I have no desire to relive any past decades. It's been a great journey getting here, and the journey's still good. Falling forward! That's my direction!

Diana said...

Yep, you are right on Californians aging. There is a pretentiousness here and you can't really see it until you are further from it.

I love the glasses! I have had glasses as a baby (you know, those babies that wear that rubber thing around the head. so me). it would be my "luxury" item on Survivor, haha.

deepteshpoetry said...

Well the picture appeared to be a composite of many things.Sorry I couldn't drop by for a loong time as I was having my exams.Oh!I've a new poem on my blog....pls chk that out soon.

Hope u r doing fine. :-) )


Colin Biggers said...

Hey chase! i love this! you totally just said what i have been feeling for a lil while! i just have never been able to put into to words! and you pulled it off! haha

You have matured SOO much! i look up to in a totally different way now! what you write about is soooo uplifting and life changing!

love you and miss you bro!

Jill said...

The way I see that I would have wrinkles is that I've been smiling a lot through my life. I would have them at a young age( I think anyway, still fear that moment a bit) but laugh lines will be great!

insomniaclolita said...

That's wisdom at its finest, Chase. Asian ancestors teaching which concepts I'm still trying to grab. Noticing how many times I feel like I wanna live in Neverland right next to Peter Pan ( Yes, I quoted Lyfe Jennings. )

You in glasses WHOA!

Chase said...

Don, I always appreciate your (more-than-semi)s/aged wisdom whenever it happens onto my blog or feed.

Your blog shows your vivacity for life (even in your 50's ;) ) and it's something I respect greatly.

The "models to aspire to" that I've picked up on this Journey have come from more places than Taiwan.

Falling forward... I like that.

Sebastian said...


I think you've touched upon the main difference between West and East -- quantity versus quality, instant gratification versus slow and steady.

Older people are revered in a culture where wisdom is appreciated, or even worshipped. In the West, old people are often seen more as a nuisance.

Though that's certainly more of a modern thing, and I'm sure the East will catch up with the West, given a few more years.

We should try our best to hold onto as much wisdom as possible -- some of it might die with our grandparents. We're talking about wisdom that might've been handed down through centuries... gone!

Young Traveler said...

Excellent, per usual.

It's funny because I always hated being a kid--I always wanted to be a grown up. Kindred spirits?

May your life be like fine wine and may all your glasses be Diesel.



Rising from my Ashes said...

Thats inevitable. We will all reach 50 hopefully but what struck me is your specs. You look so cool in them but is it prescribed? Be careful with your eyes. If it isn't then you definitely need glasses but you would need to see a professional (optician).
Btw: I wish we could gop backwards too but perhaps we wouldnt like what we will see. Hang on, who knows? Perhaps we really are moving backwards...
You always make me think with the intelligent things you write about and its good to see you are having so much fun.

SuzANNE said...

So glad Asians age well. My mom doesn't look her age and neither did her mother. I mean, good post. ;) Great specs. We match.

Sometimes I hate living in CA, so superficial and it's hard NOT to get sucked in its obsession with the exterior. Always a pleasure reading your thoughts. See ya later (haha).

Boye said...

you mst be having so much fun. do you eat sushi out there? how long are you there?

Anonymous said...

This reminded me of a verse...but I cant remember it correctly now. Something about grey hair being a crown or something...? Something honor-related anyways.

virginia said...

you do need a professional eye exam. it's your close-up vision that deteriorates as you age, and i liken it to the zoom lens getting stuck on a camera....can't zoom in or zoom out.

Chase said...

thanks for the advice and link.
When I said nightmarket, I don't want anyone to think "briefcase on the side street" (though I saw those)... this was a professional optometry place much like seeing a "lens crafters" in the mall.
I did have an eye exam, but communication between myself and the staff was limited because of language boundaries.

The link was great. Explained some things I'm sure they would have liked to, but couldn't. :-)