My grandmother had a standard line when any of us bothered her with an unforgivable statement or question (“Can I have ¥10,000 to get to Nagoya to see a heavy metal grunge punk band no one’s ever heard of?”), which was: “By talking like that, you just hacked off several years from my life span!”

Her words came back with a nostalgic rush the minute I saw Julia Roberts in “Eat Pray Love” utter, “I wanna go someplace where I can marvel at things,” immediately after discarding a husband who adored her, splitting up with a young, hunky musician who couldn’t live without her and finally deciding to take a year off from a lucrative career as a hotshot New York writer and travel the world. Surely, this moment would have hacked off at least a decade from my grandma’s life, had she still been around to witness it.

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