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Forever 27(continued)

CHANNEL SURFING - Althea Lauren Ricardo -

I used to joke that I had survived 27, and now the challenge is to get past 33. But those two ages, while being the ages at which famous people who’d changed the world as they knew it had died, are rather different.

When you’re gone at 27, like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse, it’s a waste of promise. Imagine how great those names could have been had they lived. When you’re gone at 33, you’d have already somehow given the world a taste of your potential. Just imagine the contributions of Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal. And, if history is correct, Jesus Christ.

I made a big deal out of turning 33. I said I would document the changes I’d experience as I lived my Jesus age. They have been plentiful and meaningful, true, but then I was confronted by the idea of leaving a legacy.

A couple of columns back, I said that while watching the Japanese film Departures, I realized that whatever career you are in, it can be elevated to the level of art, especially when done with much respect and passion.

Some weeks before that, it had hit me that I might just be on a fork: One road leading to writing creatively, another leading to leadership and management. The past months, I had found myself hitting the leadership and management shelves in bookstores, ignoring literature.

Then again, literature had snuck up on me when I caved and watched Game of Thrones on TV. Now, I am about to joyfully enter the commitment of reading A Clash of Kings, book two of the instant fantasy classic series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Was I really facing a fork in the road, about to choose between the corporate world and the creative one? As I told my friend Jen, “This could be the point in my life I’d looked back to when I’m old and thinking about when I gave up trying to be a writer.”

And what would my legacy be, if I did decide not to be a writer anymore?

I couldn’t picture an answer. But should I be able to picture it? Or would my day to day choices would paint it for me?

Did Amy Winehouse know how the world really saw her? If I consider what Remi told me about Serge Gainsbourg in Montparnasse, it seems that towards the end of the French musician’s life, he had become more entrenched in his image, living out loudly the idea people had of him to the point of self-destruction.

I read about Amy’s last days. She had been booed off the stage during a concert, and she’d had to cancel the rest of the dates of her tour. She had been trying to quit alcohol and drugs, possibly in an attempt to gain back her life and her art. And then, she had died. How much of it was her plan? How much of her plan had consumed her?

How much of what we leave behind do we choose? Do we get to know the answer? I wondered about the idea of making a choice, but not controling what happens outside of it. How valid is the choice, if you have no control? Or do we actually have control, do we actually get to create?

Two days ago, I had dinner with a friend. “What is it you are sure of?” we asked each other. It took a while, but there was only one answer: Love.

And there it was, the answer: What can ultimately be everyone’s only legacy.

Email your comments to alricardo@yahoo.com. You can also visit my personal blog at http://althearicardo.blogspot.com. You can text your comments again to (63)917-9164421.

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