Parenthood and Mortality

By cryotosensei | diaperfinancingfund | 4 Jun 2024

Been a sobering two days.

Yesterday, I reconnected with an ex-student 12 years my junior who recently discovered she has blood cancer. Today, I had breakfast with a secondary school mate whose mother is undergoing chemotherapy for Stage 4 cancer. I don’t think I can dial back time and return to those carefree days of youth, in which my main preoccupation was deciding on the next country to visit.

Exploring outward, basking in the vibrant stimulus I landed myself in. Self-actualisation ruled me like the Northern Star guides lost souls.

Nowadays, my chats involve me listening to my friends’ struggles as well as gently prodding them to make their nominations for their national annuity retirement funds.

Death strips us of everything in the end, doesn’t it? Like the naked king in The Emperor’s New Clothes, caught unawares. My ex-student asked me what I would have done if I were given a certain amount of years to live. My thoughts went to my children, and I spoke unhesitatingly, “Most likely I would want to make as much money as possible so that they are adequately funded to have a head start in life.” Of course, I have tons of things I hope to accomplish before I meet death. But if I’m really staring at it in the face, my bucket list doesn’t matter anymore. My children’s happiness does. I’m not that scared of death anymore.

Because I have a final task to keep my eye on before the curtains close forever. This is not to say that having a fatter bank account will necessarily lead to more happiness on their part, but I have had friends who grew up impoverished. I think raising yourself from the jaws of poverty frames your world view in a sticky way that is quite hard to undo. You evaluate all your decisions based on whether they would be financially lucrative - or at least, that’s what my friends do.

At the end of the day, I just want my kids to march into their 20s, encumbered from the shackles of adulting. That they seriously worry about which country to explore next rather than agonise over looming student loan debts.

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