Whether we’re happy about them or not, we seniors are living out the consequences of life-changing decisions we made when we were younger. We’ve made our beds, so to speak, so we sleep in them.
Those decisions, some light and happy, others not so, still others even grave, continue to chase after us, and make us further consequential decisions. Life, after all, is a chain of decisions; you make one and that affects or informs the next one and so on.
Anyway, it’s the light and happy decisions I’d like to pursue now: Do I party on my 80th?
No question about celebrating it. There are many ways, and nobody has to remind me that between now and the next moment, my physical and mental senior condition could change and force a change of plans, too.
Planning alone is already no easy business, but plan we must, eyes shut, ignoring Murphy’s Law even if its chances of working rise under senior conditions: Everything can go wrong.
More and more, I seem to be hearing the phrase, pikit-mata, from cousin Ninit, who used to be the sober and practical one, the least likely to throw caution to the winds. She said it again when I told her how shocked I was at the prices of hotel rooms in Paris during the French Open: “What are you saving for, ba?”
Well, I’m saving up for my 80th. Was that why I kept my parties after my 75th very small and intimate?
After our delightful trip, however, the temptation is strong to escape on another one, and perhaps another, but those are the things that precisely call for pikit-mata decisions.
Vergel and I are both February-born, but six years apart, and don’t have the excusable luxury of economizing with a joint celebration.
It’s still a couple of years away for me, but we both felt inclined to celebrate ourselves after attending a most relaxed and enjoyable 80th birthday party, arranged as a surprise to the celebrator.
Still nimble and quick, J.M. didn’t have to do a thing, but appear. Everything had been decided and arranged by the Llamas girls—his wife Cleo and their two daughters.
His closest De La Salle High classmates, from Class ’57, were there and so were his poker mates, who joyfully announced they had a quorum that night. In their birthday card, they swore, they loved him for himself, not just his money.
Cleo, when she welcomed all the guests, pleaded with her husband’s poker hijackers to please, once in a while, let him win.
Everybody was predisposed to have fun, laughing, listening to the music of our proper generation and feasting on excellent food by Chef Jessie. The treat was exactly what one could expect, anytime, from J.M. and Cleo.
At 80, J.M.’s humor and energy seemed as sharp as ever. Time with him is always filled with laughter that overstrains my jaw.
After a brief speech, J.M., light and terrific with feet from all his dancing and football years, decided to work them a little, a la Gene Kelly, and finish with an ambitious three-step hop down the stage. True to comic form, he pretended to lose his balance and quipped, “Uy, ang taas pala!”
Cleo shared that when she started calling his buddies, some of them she herself hadn’t yet met, she found out that a third of them had already gone to the great beyond. This pushed her even more, she said, to mount this one of J.M.
I can’t imagine how she kept the arrangements for months from him. I’d never be able to keep something like that, indeed anything at all, from Vergel!
And he himself better not surprise me! My body is giving me enough surprises as it is. It seems the more I try to become healthier, the more trouble I get into. I bought a Fitbit watch and walked at its command. I even surprised the Fitbit people as well as myself with the outstanding number of steps I did during land tours on our cruise. I came home with tendinitis and a funny walk.
I have a condition called Haglunt deformity, which sounds uglier than it is actually. It has kept me away from my aqua exercises and had to be given medication for a week and put through six sessions of rehab, beginning this week.
More than anything else, relatively it’s—thank God!—a mere nuisance. It can get better, I’m told, but can recur unless I follow certain recommendations. Anyway, this troublesome tendon certainly will not keep me from making party or trip plans. As they say, it’s far from the heart.
A close male cousin, a very private man, just had a three-stent procedure for a condition discovered in the nick of time. It certainly called for a bigger whoopee than the usual Sunday family lunch at his home.
“Suerte talaga!” he said with moist eyes.
At our age, indeed, we have every reason to celebrate in whatever way and with as few or as many friends and family as we choose, but always with gratitude and appreciation—for everything.