Friday August 17, 2018

Wabe: Aging but NEVER growing old

I ATTENDED the golden Gatsby birthday bash of my friend, Elsa May Chantengco-Picardal. Golden equals fifty, but the energy that night felt more like a debut party. Everyone who attended came dressed in their best flapper attire—with feathers/flower on their heads, glittery forehead bands, layers of pearls—and danced the night away. The vibe felt so hip and young because the birthday girl herself is exactly that...she’s more like 25. She proves that: you are young or old only in your mind. Choose forever young!

She’s one of those girls, who look fresh and naturally beautiful, as if she has found the fountain of youth. I first met her at the country club gym, and the things that struck me about her were the following: she wears cool gym clothes, fixes her hair, and applies make-up even if she’s just lifting weights. This woman is really an eye-catcher; in fact, I thought she was Latina. She certainly knows how to carry herself well and makes a good first impression. The wisdom and lessons she gained through the years have given her the edge and confidence to sail through life with grace.

On top of that, what I noticed is, in spite of her being a girlie-girl, she has the power within her to switch on “beast mode”. She is a petite woman, but she lifts weights so much heavier than I ever could (and I am so much taller). She has a lot of strength and still manages to be a fashionista. Her beauty and strength radiate from within. Because she reminds me so much of that character in Frozen, I started calling her Queen Elsa.

She has told me many times: “This is me. I can’t go out without fixing myself. I learned it from my mom. She always insisted that we have to be at our best self, so even if I am just going to the grocery or the gym, I primp and prettify! It’s just my habit that I can’t break. And to be honest, I don’t really care what other people will say. I do this for me.”

Since, I’ve gotten close to Elsa and her family; I had the privilege of meeting her husband, Mel. I am not surprised that Queen Elsa is determined when it comes to being fit because her spouse is the same. When we see those memes on Facebook that say #CoupleGoals...well, they are the epitome of that. She has told me many times: “Mel also keeps me on my toes. He is so into fitness and healthy eating. In fact, he is the one who cooks. He used to be a fire fighter in San Fransisco, where we lived before. That’s why he never slacks off in going to the gym, which is actually nice, because we keep each other inspired. This is our lifestyle!”

Queen Elsa’s golden birthday bash is my most memorable party to date. I’ve written a lot of scripts and said short speeches for other parties, but this is the first time I’ve ever said yes to emcee a full shindig. And I am so glad I said yes because it was a real honest to goodness p-a-r-t-y!!! Everyone was just game to dance. People were doing zumba near the stage while the other half were dancing ballroom in the back. It was one heck of a night that is indeed a perfect celebration of life!

It is not surprising that majority of her circle of friends are as vivacious as her because, as the adage goes: you attract the energy you exude. Elsa is a very energetic and active woman who engages in many physical activities: zumba, ballroom dancing, boxing, jogging, and lifting weights. Her deltoids and shoulders are to die for. She is really toned compared to other women her age. Moreover, her zest and enthusiasm for life is just contagious!

Much later on, when we got closer, I realized that the Queen Elsa tag is indeed fitting. She is every inch a queen because she always lifts other people up. She shares life lessons, make-up tips, and hair techniques. To illustrate, she did my own daughter’s prom make-up, and she also does it as side hustle, too (so if you need an artist, find her on FB and send her a message). Above all else, she is a true queen because she is generous in fixing other girls’ crowns.

Elsa always remind our gang— “Please, never ever let go of yourself. Balik alindog! I guess that’s one of the mistakes many women my age make. There’s a tendency for most to look loshang. They say: oh, I am busy with family, I have no time, or I can get fat because I have kids now. Please, no excuses! We moms have to take care of ourselves and make us a priority too. We have to love our own self. Remember, we cannot give what we don’t have!”

She is indeed a shining example of a good friend. We have a decade age gap, but we still click! She emphasized how vital it is to forgive and accept limitations. Don’t let anger fester in your heart because it will eat the positivity. She taught me that it’s not the length of the friendship but the amount of heart you put into the relationship that makes a world of difference. Thank you, my vibrant, darling Queen Elsa who loves life and lives it to the fullest. May you continue to inspire many others to be fit and fabulous no matter the age. Again, happy 50th birthday. This is a new beginning and the best is yet to come!

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