DO YOU believe that even if retired from work, you can still be an active force in making the world a better place?
In distance running, an added strength that allows one to continue the race after moments of exhaustion is called “second wind.” This supply of strength of body, mind and spirit comes with the right attitude and enables people to continue pursuing their goal or dream.
To have second wind after middle age or even after retirement is the central message of the book “When Life Begins at Sunset,” a 214-page paperback written by Prosy Badiola Montesines, a senior citizen.
The book tackles the turmoil and challenges that people deal with each day, and the possibilities of reaching one’s full potential in the latter years.
The true stories, personal accounts, vignettes and scripture messages in the book show how seniors can use their gift of extended time, talent, education, and experience to serve society as mentors, motivators, mobilizers and models of what it means to be a human being.
The book cites the work of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly Inc. in the Philippines, which annually selects and honors 10 outstanding Filipinos 60 years old and above who serve their communities as volunteer workers for livelihood training and development projects, health services, literacy programs, community service and environmental care and cultural preservation.
It also narrates the inspiring stories of men and women who, in their sunset years, went on to become role models in their fields of endeavor, among them: American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson (aka Grandma Moses); Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw; Polish-American pianist Arthur Rubinstein; astronaut John Herschel Glen; Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; Maestro Felix, a teacher of Dumagat children in Quezon Province; and Beatrice Buenavista Evangelista, a volunteer prison ministry worker.
It also discusses the power of care and laughter, as well as the demoralizing effects of ageism (prejudices against a certain age group), jeunism ( a preference for younger people particularly for employment purposes), elderspeak (baby talk or infantalizing communication with elderly persons) and gerontophobia (extreme fear of old people).
Can seniors still feel the magic of romantic love?
Love in retirement is one of the highlights of the book. A retired mathematics professor from University of the Philippines tells the true story of his first love when he was only 15, and how he searched for her and reunited with her after 50 years.
“When Life Begins at Sunset” has 17 chapters titled: “How Old Are You?”; “Let’s Face It, Wrinkles Don’t Hurt”; “Attitudes”; “Generation Gap”; “The Child in Us”; “Choices”; “Active Aging”; “Stars”; “Hope for the Black Hole”; “How Can You Be So Lonely?”; “God Keeps Our Memories”; “The Power of Care”; “Made Rich”; “Finding Wealth in Scarcity”; “Laughter”; “Someone to Watch the Sunset With” and “The Ultimate Meaning.”
Published by Light and Lamp Publications, the book is available in selected branches of National Book Store.