IT WAS my birthday last Friday. I am now 2 days old as a 47 year old diva. Hahaha. Seriously, I am now three years shy of the golden years and I am not exactly sure how I feel. For starters, last week, I mistook Saturday for a Friday. And since I write my articles on a Saturday (I write last minute. Yes, crammer!), by the time I realized my mistake (5:37 pm to be exact), there was no way (except if I could turn back time which sadly, I cannot do) that I could submit anything for this column. That’s why I was “absent” last Sunday. It is one of those things that you do not have control over and even if you tried, sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.

Or maybe, I am really getting old. Haha. They say it’s just number but there are times when the numbers bite you in the ass, or give you temporary(?) memory lapses. In a weird way, I seem to remember childhood memories more than recent ones. Hehehe. I guess you get more nostalgic with age because you learn to appreciate your journey as time passes.

Earlier this week we drove by our old house. We used to live along the highway in Matina. It was where I grew up. We were there long before the road going to Ecoland existed. I remember seeing only tall trees and lush foliage across the street before that happened. When they started clearing the path, we surveilled its progress, taking early morning walks with my father to see how far they had gone. I remember walking through huge vines; old trees and tall bamboo..and a river. It looked like we had stumbled upon a “forest,” I must have been around eight years old then. As years passed, I saw the transformation of our City into a modern metropolis. We now have malls and high rise buildings and yet, I often find myself going back to the time when we would often walk to our neighborhood store to buy things.

That store in my childhood was Aling Nora`s. It was across our street, about a five minute walk away. I cannot count the number of times that I had gone there, buying lollipop, sugar coated tamarind balls and plastic balloons! Aling Nora was always pleasant, asking me how I was and how everybody in the family was doing. Pleasantries were always a part of our conversation until that time we moved away. The sari-sari store is long gone now and I look back with fond memories of those times, fully appreciating how wonderful it was to have that sense of community that I hope the children today still experience. Is it a sign of old age? I have been reminiscing a lot lately.

Birthdays sort of does that to me. In the last few days preceding my birthday, I get somewhat emotional. Looking back on my life has always been an important aspect of my existence because it gives me an idea how I have lived my life so far. It is a good yardstick, a survival tool that allows me to fully appreciate all the things that has happened to me.

I don’t always have good days and I am plagued with a lot of life's fears but I survive with faith and by God's grace. I embrace life's unpredictable craziness; I have sworn to always try to rise above its challenges by looking at the bright side and by appreciating each moment for what it is, whether the experience is good or bad, happy or sad. I treasure the lessons I've learned although some do take time to digest. I have learned the value of epiphanies; they come when the time is perfect to remind me that everything happens for a reason. Still there are days when you lose all sense and sensibility and its comforting to know someone's out there to inspire you to live another day.

Today is my birthday so I want to thank YOU (yes you who continued to read up to this point) for being part of my life because you are partly responsible for what I have become and where I am now. Thank you for your time, effort, interest and concern, couldn't have done it without you!