Freedom where we can get it | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Freedom where we can get it

Our democratic freedom is again under threat by attempts to change the constitution by a sitting president. It has happened in practically every presidency from Marcos to Marcos, and we know that the intent has been perpetuation in power. I’m certain their attempts will fail, as such attempts have failed before, simply because our people are rightly suspicious enough to not want it, thank God.

In general, I would think, the fear is that freedom will be eroded in any change in the constitution. As I get older, even older than I am now, I’m learning to put greater and greater value in my personal freedom, too. The risks to it seem even more pressing. Wherever I find it, I cherish it more than ever, guard it with greater vigilance.

Indeed, with the late-discovered freedom I feel writing this column, for instance, how can I allow feeling any less free? I get that good feeling every week, and it fuels my enthusiasm for life, as late as it is in my life. I have only missed my deadline being away and cut from all means of communication. Deadlines work for me as an incentive to get a job I love done in great freedom.

Feeling of liberation

Since I started writing a weekly column, I’ve lived life more consciously, seeing everyday events as possible column subjects, setting down reflections on my life philosophies, validating and reaffirming my beliefs. I cannot look at the present without connecting it to the past, one explaining the other and enriching both experiences.

Writing makes me think more deeply, forcing me to organize my thoughts and choose a focus in a slice of life as I set it down. Afterwards, I get a special feeling of liberation, and it happens week after week. Indeed, freedom for me is not a devalued exercised in the simplest and most ordinary facet of life, not at my age, not in my increasingly limited physical capabilities.

I do aqua exercises with four fellow octogenarians every other day. We can hardly believe we are our age; once in the water we surprise even ourselves with what we gain by the bold decision to plunge in. Under the sun and in the sometimes icy water, we are freed of aches and pains. As in the classic miracle, we throw away our crutches or walkers, real or imaginary, as we immerse ourselves in our own fountain of youth, moving, jumping, running and rolling, neck deep in water. We’re young and nimble again—even just for the moment.

My husband and I have also discovered freedom from the fear of tripping, of, in fact, being run down by a car or motorcycle, by taking our walks in the safety of the covered pedestrian bridge from home toward Makati Medical Center at one end and the malls at the other end, without the trouble of driving and parking.

Stark differences

We walked the longest to SM, to meet the requirements of personally presenting ourselves for our privilege Makatizen card. I did 7,000 steps both ways. We still own a little car, but my husband only drives very selectively, and we hire a driver on Sunday for our long sojourns.

With all the walking I could well be training for my stress test sometime this month. The good my activities are doing me has shown in my blood tests, so much so that my doctor has reduced my anticholesterol dosage. She’s also pleased with my sugar count. I’ll never be completely free of medications, but I’ve gained liberation well worth celebrating at my age.

Encouraged by my test results, I’ve reintroduced a day or two of an hour of treadmill and a half-hour of other gym work.

The difference between me and a young person on the treadmill is stark. The young go at a much faster speed and don’t hold on the rails for dear life as I do. Besides, they don’t have to monitor their heartbeats. They also wear ear phones to shut off the world around them or listen to their favorite music or work out by some rhythm.

I can’t do that; I don’t do that or feel the need. When I listen to music I really listen. I remember as a student I couldn’t study with the radio on, unlike my children who somehow could. My head has to be emptied when I mount the treadmill. I’m concentrating on my breathing to moderate my pulse rate. I’ve discovered that, on the treadmill, ideas for a column easily come, and sometimes I come up with prospective solutions to conflict—it could well be the oxygen feed to an unoccupied mind. I like the freedom from thought on the treadmill, but I don’t shut out useful thoughts that arise on their own either.

Freedom in old age can be exhilarating, but it could very easily be lost if you don’t watch it. INQ


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.