Surprise visit of old age

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By Evelyn R. Luab

Light Sunday

Saturday, May 31, 2014


IN MY younger years I always thought of old age as a remote possibility.

Even after a series of ailments, I felt I could still conquer the world. As early as when I got my senior citizen ID I already noticed eye bags, age spots, hollows in the neck, wrinkles, etc. However, these ravages caused by too much sun, too much work and play never bothered me. Today I of course regret not attending to myself but regrets always do come in hindsight.

Up to last year I was still bursting with so much energy. This year, however, turned the tide for me. Old age just knocked on my door and parked on my doorstep. There was no text, no call, no warning that she would arrive. All she conveyed was the need to “slow down.”

This year I have been actually tiring so easily. I couldn’t walk far anymore. Aches and pains would strike and I would be running out of breath. Going out to social events was okay as long as the affair was with close friends and within the city. My curfew at night is 9 p.m. unless the Azkals are playing. I get irritated by too much noise and useless chatter.

Last year I still enjoyed long trips and swimming in the sea. This year it’s the swimming pools that I enjoy. There is no more joy riding in a banca or mingling with the whale sharks in Oslob. No more going to Medellin or Moalboal for me, unless it’s an overnight stay and we are well-rested. Now why am I sharing my loss of energy with you? Because I know that there are others who feel exactly the way I do and some may become fearful and worried. There is no need for anxiety. Slowing down can be very fulfilling.

Apostolic activities can still go on but on a limited scale. Reading, hobbies and relationships can be attended to. Awareness of what is there, what is being offered with no strings attached is also very important. Now one has time to spend with one’s married kids and their families. As long as one does not over-stay, one will always be welcome.

So how do we spend time with them? We don’t push. We don’t impose. We wait until we are invited. We simply enjoy their presence and we refrain from giving unsolicited advice. We make ourselves available when they call. In our senior years we can accomplish beautiful things within our own pace.

With the summer heat going strong, we don’t have to go out. We wait until it is cooler. The elderly are always cautioned to remain indoors rather than court a heat stroke. Pets are also included in this warning.

Another good thing about aging is being aware that there are really things we can do without. There is no need to have so many clothes, shoes or bags. The downside is we have to accept our yearly executive panel B, X-rays and the other procedures we have to undergo in order to protect the temple which is where God lives. It helps if our attitude towards this necessity is positive.

A good number of us say, “I’m tired. It’s time for me to go home. Anyway, the children are all grown up and they can very well take care of themselves.” That is the greatest mistake we can commit! We are not in control of our lives. We wait until Jesus comes back for us to bring us home.

Every day is a gift. True, we have less energy but we are not required to do cart wheels. So we take our time. We can even say no to invitations by saying, “Sorry, I’m no longer a night owl. I need to sleep early. People do understand.”

Old age is actually like being sent out to pasture where one can enjoy communing with nature, having time to watch for that rainbow which comes out after the rains. Connecting with God becomes so much easier because of the time we have to sit still and reach out to God.

What about friends? As we mellow with age we begin to understand what makes others tick. We have learned about our own weaknesses and accept that no one is perfect.

Let us enjoy old age when she appears. She comes to make life easier for us! She is the portal we have to pass through in order to reach God’s kingdom. She comes as a friend!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 01, 2014.

Lifestyle

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