How not to Grow Old or How to Grow Old With as Much Grace as You Can Muster! These two phrases were supposed to be the title of my article.
When you’re 60, you still have some of the left-over glow of youth and exuberant vitality. When you apply for a Senior Citizen’s Card, you’ll get so excited about the discounts the card gets you now.
But when you’re 70, you are a forgotten being. Your skin suddenly becomes dry and wrinkled, your upper arms become flabby, your waistline gets bigger with fat, and surprisingly, you are always tired.
Thank God for the invention of hair dye – now very few white-haired ladies are seen at parties. Face-lifting cannot do miracles but a sincere smile can remove at least 10 years from your real age.
One cannot escape aging so the best thing to do is accept it and count your blessings.
I am blessed with six daughters who have given me 12 grandsons but only one precious granddaughter.
My youngest daughter with Fenny Hechanova was only one year old when he died so suddenly, but she lately has been bringing honors to our family just as he used to.
In 1963, Fenny won a TOYM award and in 2010, Gina won a TOWNS award.
Not only that – my eldest, who is a twin, got married at 20, just as I did, and her son has made her a grandmother and me a great grandmother by giving me two “apo sa tuhod”. Every time I look at these new creatures of God, I feel secure that the world will live on and I feel great.
So I accept my age and am proud of it. I found out that 60 percent of my village are senior citizens.
Seven years ago in my community in Blue Ridge, all the senior citizens banded together into a unifying club. The members could not think of a name until one shy little lady suggested “Forever Young Club.”
A minority of the members thought that was too sweet and debutante-like, but the rest said “Why not? That’s exactly what we want to be for a long time!”
So we became the Forever Young Club of Blue Ridge B and started to go places where we had never been.
We started off historically – we visited Intramuros. That visit was a perfect choice. Then we visited the National Museum and later the Metropolitan Museum during which a 90-year-old member suggested to drop in a nearby casino to try her luck at cards, and that small band who went with her had fun.
The group became hungry so we always include lunch-out on the KKB system (Kanyang Kanyang Bayad).
Near the National Museum we ate in a restaurant – a beautiful place with a rustic ambiance, and saw all the beautiful flowers of the Philippines. Next we went to Avalon Zoo which was a wonderful place to recommend to your children and grandchildren to see.
Then someone said why don’t we go out of tow – so I scheduled a trip to Tagaytay to see Highlands and that was a most memorable time for the group. Going up the cable cars and seeing the manicured greenery all around was a vision to be cherished.
We also made some trips to help others – like our trip to Golden Acres to visit the homeless aged where we donated blankets and clothes to people who, but for the grace of God, could be just like us.
We also visited a little place in Cainta which is not often visited. It is called the ARKO and filled with physically or mentally handicapped children (cerebral palsy, mongoloids, etc) who were eager to welcome people to their home. We brought simple gifts of popsicles and toys for which they profusely smiled their appreciation.
Because it was nearing Christmas, we went to a distant church way over in Manaoag, Pangasinan, to bring our petitions and thanksgiving to God through His Mother Mary.
Our schedule was full and we contentedly prepared ourselves for a peaceful Christmas season. Then we put on our red gowns and put on our dancing shoes to show our neighbors in the barangay hall our dancing skills.
After three years, a smaller group went to Ocean Park to try to revive the camaraderie of before.
Now, we, senior citizens have weekly early Saturday morning sessions with Shibashi excercises and a touch of line dancing. This year we will get back our camaraderie as we have new dynamic leaders at the forefront.
We must only remember that time is running out. Very soon God may call us – so we must use our time wisely and not waste it on trivial things of the world. So when we go to heaven and our Father asks us, “What have you done in your life?” I’ll be able to answer, “As best as I could – I’ve tried to help others who needed my help.”
I’ve made a little prayer of my own which I hope more senior citizens will adapt.
Give me the grace to be useful to at least one person in my life (who is, of course, my husband, Titos Condo.) Never ever let me become useless.
Let me be needed and appreciated.
Let me bring love and more joy into daily living.
I’ve often wondered why God took Fenny instead of me 44 years ago. Fenny would have been an excellent provider for the family.
Now I’ve been trying to get rid of all my properties and I have done so since the Bible says it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven. My last TCT in my name I have given to the Bahay Kalinga for the homeless squatters.
I’ve done my best to be a good mother and there is nothing more I can do. If my style of mothering does not seem nurturing enough, what will I do with the hours of worrying about my children and their future?
If I want to stay healthy, I must not worry anymore because God will take care of my children. I have lifted them up to God. They’re in God’s gentle hands now!
A wise man once said: The best gift you can give your children is roots – a solid foundation of good values – and wings – a good education so they can eventually stand alone.
I’ve carried my cross of suffering, although it is such a light, flimsy cross compared to yours, Lord Jesus. I will not complain about my cross anymore as long as You will always be beside me as I joyfully walk these last few miles of my life with You – only You.