At my age, I can honestly say that this earthly life is the best thing that has ever happened to me. With neither reservations nor shame, I hereby declare my love for life, mine in particular, warts and all!
Actually, it has not always been peachy. At the moment I have a stiff neck and a dull headache, and a cold that seems reluctant to bloom fully and be done with me or, for some handy age-related reason, can’t exit as fast as it once could.
But these are momentary afflictions. My spur has been there since it made itself felt, but it swells and ebbs, and the swelling is bearable. I just cracked another molar, but got it quickly fixed.
But I certainly had my time.
Sometimes I ask myself whatever did I do to deserve this particular life. It’s mine, all right, but how much of it has been my own doing? It seems somebody else wrote the script, created the role, and cast me in it.
The series is still going on, and might go on for a while longer. My husband and I are upbeat about this year. Both of us love the work we do. He started at it as a teenager, but me rather late, not until I became a super senior to fit the job—my first job, this.
I could have messed up, but instead things have worked out again and again for me. More than happy, I’m content, loving what I have and almost grateful for what I do not.
I feel fabulously rich in our little—120 square meters in all—two-bedroom home on the sixth floor of an eight-story. It is an old condominium, but everything in it is relatively new; none of my old things fit. We’ve downsized to all we need and use. I have a rented bodega to store some excesses, waiting to be sold or given away. A further lightening up is on my agenda this year.
My husband and I intend to continue traveling, while I can still keep pace with other traveling companions, but we have homeland plans, a little business of helping fellow writers where we can help.
We make plans but are quite aware that at any time, God’s own might intrude and we may have to change course. I’ve seen it happen to friends, but they are adjusting valiantly, in not a few cases to illness, in which either they themselves or family members are the afflicted. There also has been a reversal of fortune or the loss of a child or a husband.
Sometimes unexpected responsibilities are heaped on us, as in the case of a school friend, who has had to take care of a younger sister stricken ill, a doctor like her. Recently, she herself had an accident, tripping and hitting her head, and now feeling quite vulnerable, after minor surgery, and adjusting to her own weakened state. Each of these friends is showing me that, somehow, the human spirit rises to the occasion and copes.
I’ve always believed life was fair, and proof is that no one would want to change places with anybody else. Isn’t this a way of loving one’s life and being grateful for everything of it?
Gratitude and love go together, and one shouldn’t wait too long to express both in words and action. It’s hard especially at this age not to be overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude, for waking up in the morning and knowing who and where you are, for making it to the bathroom in time, for the familiar warm body snoring beside you—which one day might no longer be the case.
The only time my theory of life’s fairness was threatened was in the case of another school friend, two years younger. She died on New Year’s Eve, for what seems an accumulation of more than her share of life’s trials.
Her life in all likelihood had begun just like mine, or anybody else’s. Alas, she explored paths and heights I had never known or would never know or have the boldness for. We were acquaintances who didn’t have to be close to like each other.
At her wake, there were no pictures of her that came close to the one in my mind and heart. After long disappearances she would pop back in my life, then out again, leaving embers of her external fire and the soft glow of her inner tenderness, enough for me to hurt inside whenever I would hear of yet another one of life’s cruel blows landing where it would hurt a woman most.
With every pound she lost, for every white hair she left undyed, she allowed my own image of her to fade and be replaced by the most recent one. Whenever I thought things could not get sadder, they did. I was crushed yet somewhat relieved when I heard she had finally found her peace.
No doubt she, too, loved life. How could she not? She was perky, pretty, talented and smart. Perhaps she, in her role, had to be different, not for us to understand, but to love and be grateful for having known.