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"She gazed at the altar from a distance. Her parents flanked her as she made slow, measured steps, smiling nervously at everyone around. He stood from afar, calm and composed. When she reached the end, her parents handed her off with mild reluctance, to him whom she would share her life with..."

It`s funny how time flies. My younger brother just got married last Saturday. It seems as if the sibling I`ve always considered my little brother, the one whom I`ve fought, disagreed, laughed, cried with was no longer so little anymore. It seems as if our life had been fast-forwarded for two decades and playback resumed instantly, with only a few pauses in between. So much had come to pass in what appeared to be such short a time.

It was a festive and memorable occasion for us. The reception truly was one of the happiest moments of our lives, if not the most joyful. Friends and family were witnesses to a ceremony that bound two souls together, and also shared in the joy of celebrating this oneness. It was an exhilirating, not to mention exhausting, night of food, wine, and dancing. A whole lot of dancing. It sometimes leads to startling revelations. It was only that night that I found out a certain friend, instead of the nerdlike doctorate student he comes across as, was the king of the dancefloor. I never did envision him in a white jacket with gold chains. We all had a wonderful time.

It`s also quite amusing when people (especially women) are in such a romantic mood during wedding celebrations. As my brother was the first one in a brood of all boys to get married, speculation immediately arose as to who shall be NEXT. Upon replying in the negative to queries as to whether I have someone special already, "suggestions" suddenly were offered of potential girlfriends. Ah, family... you just got to love them.

Pragmatically, I think young people shouldn`t worry too much about finding a girlfriend or boyfriend, let alone a spouse. I`m of the principle that such matters should be left partly to fate, a great deal to judgement, and the rest to God. As most conservative people would think, ideally the relationship should lead to marriage, after ascertaining the other`s character, integrity, and initiative. Given this, there would be no need to protract the relationship unduly, and once one knows that strong incompatibility exists between the two, it would be foolish to continue the relationship. Some people can change, but many don`t.

There`s a tinge of sadness when my brother starts moving his belongings out of the nest to his new home. Maybe it`s the idea that one is letting go of someone he`s known all his life. Or maybe it`s a desire to fill in empty pages of our childhood that were never written. Or perhaps it`s the notion of a brotherly bond that appear to loosen as he starts his life anew, though in reality become stronger and deeper as it matures.

Or maybe simply because we`ve all grown up too soon...already.

Time really does fly.