October and the future

I couldn’t picture my Dad in a suit, standing out in the streets at 7pm, advertising for sales of a new property in Singapore. But that is exactly what I saw at the bus stop outside my condo this evening.

He was a bespectacled man in his late 50s, looking worn out but wearing a nice white shirt with black trousers. He stooped a little, holding a laminated card on his right hand and a folder on his left hand. I stole a quick milisecond glance at what he was promoting, and heard him say something in a low soft voice to a passerby behind me.

I crossed the road, and my heart just broke. How could it be that this man was working at this hour, at such a location as this random bus stop? Where is his wife, his children, his 9-to-5 job, his pension or his retirement scheme? Shouldn’t he be at home enjoying the labours of his day, spending time with his family instead of toiling in the evening promoting a property that is neither his to own nor buy?

I thought so much about this man that I saw for no longer than five seconds. I thought about all the possibilities of why he was there. He made me think about my parents, and I thank God that my parents are healthy, stable and of sound mind. I thank God that they have planned well financially for themselves, that they may not have to toil in their twilight years, and not have to burden their children should sickness and death arrive.

This man made me think about my own future, that while I may be young, enjoying life each day as it comes and blessed with good health, I have to know that I am not invincible and that I will not be young forever. This body is going to break down at some point in the future, and when that time comes, I should be sensibly and realistically prepared for the nitty-gritties of medical bills, health insurances, wills and cremations.

This may seem all morbid and taboo, but I want to be prepared. I’m no longer happy with being the idealistic airy fairy dreamer who hates dealing with “grown up” stuff. Much planning, discipline and preparation is needed, in order that I may run the race well and finish my race well.

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