Posts Tagged ‘growing old’

Look back with gratitude so you can look ahead with hope.

Do you remember those days when you were just a wee child and you looked at your grandparents as really, really old? You were excited to reach your teens so you could go out with your friends.

Childhood brings that smile to my face as I remember – the patintero games, luksong-tinik, playing with marbles, accumulating rubber bands and those 2 x3 text cards that I used to play with my brothers and cousins. They were nicely kept in a shoe box covered with Christmas wrapper. Back in those days, we had an area in our place where we could get red clays during the rainy season and mould them into several figures.

Our old house had what you call barandella. They are window railings. My two brothers and I would dangle our feet on each window while we made those figures like airplanes, small houses, birds and what have you out of the clay we got from the field. I used to make plates, clay pots, vases with big flowers that I could mould with my little hands.

Then one grew up, planned to have one’s own family, have pretty kids that one wished would turn out smart too. Married was a big challenge. The ex-hubby and my two kids were not together for almost twenty years except for two months vacation every two years because he worked abroad. When he came home for good, he didn’t know how to have his family by his side. You know the word called padre de familia and his words were law that the kids should not cross. It was hard for us to adjust with him around. A few months after Nissa got married, whew, he left us for good. Our life is quiet now, we have learned to adjust without his presence.

My gosh, I was counting every birthday that passed and I am grateful of lessons learned, blessings bestowed on the family and small miracles that make our lives now happy and secure. We have Nate, Nissa has just been promoted to Senior Manager at the bank where I used to work, Josef is enjoying his work at JP Morgan Chase bank. He reports to the office thrice a week and works from home for two days.

I am now 66, with those seemingly ever-present health concerns. I am still hopeful of the future though. A nun friend who is a cancer survivor like me has this to say: When you feel so much alone, that’s the time God is holding your hands. When you are at the lowest ebb of your life, you are closest to Him the most.


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Good morning blogger friends!

I woke up around 3am and could no longer sleep so I just waited for Josef to leave the house at 5am. He still works from home Thursday and Friday, same with Nissa but on different days.

I know, I am neglecting blogging. It used to be when I miss it when I don ‘t blog at least twìce a week. I told you before that I joined posting a blog a day back in 2011. I lost my badge somewhere. And when you blog every day, even such mundane things like writing about what you had for breakfast, lunch or dinner is worth-sharing. I think I am really growing old, I’ll be turning 66 in a few months. Would that be worth-celebrating? I think so even if my body is beginning to give up on me. Pains, unexpected laboratory results that I worry about. I’ve been through so many things – two major operations, chemotherapy, kidney bypass and the like. Still and all, I am still here standing tall. My kids and I have gone through twenty years without the hubby by our side except for one month every two years for vacation. He worked in KSA. I acted as the tatay con nanay of my two kids. He came home ten years ago only to leave us again for good for another woman. I’d like to think that I was strong enough facing these life’s challenges.

Every day is quite different, sometimes I feel sad, at other times exceedingly happy. I was even more elated when Nate came into our lives. Nowadays though, their monthly visits were cut short because of Covid-19. Nissa and I thrive on daily conversations on Messenger and occassional hi and hellos from Nate and Obet. The last time we saw each other was when my brother Alden died three months ago.

I still enjoy gardening but I could no longer trim the carabao grass because I feel exhausted after a few minutes cutting the grass so Josef is always to the rescue. I am glad though that I was able to transfer some of my plants in new pots. It still rains here every day. I hope September won’t bring too much rain that would cause flooding.

My stash of e-books are filing up. Right now, I am reading some books by James Patterson. Hopefully, I’ll finish the Goodreads’ challenge well and good by December.

Dawn is beginning to show a bright morning. Daily chores are at hand. Bye bye for now.

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I greeted and kissed Mom when she woke up. She asked: Ano bang araw ngayon?

I said: Byernes.

She answered: Byernes na ba? Akala ko Huwebes ngayon. Birthday ko na pala. Ilang taon na ba ako ngayon?

I told her: 89 na kayo Mom.

She can’t believe it.

HAPPY 89TH BIRTHDAY MOM. We will celebrate tomorrow when the kids are around.

Our  early morning conversation went like this.When I greeted her,  she asked me what day it is so I said Friday. She thought it was still  Thursday. Her confusion with the day was followed by the question how old she is today so I told her she is 89 years old. She smiled.

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One of my first attempts at street photography.  Look at his gnarled hands. Life hasn’t been kind.  I asked him if I could take of photo and he nodded with a shy smile.


Aging is when you add years to your life –

But growing old makes you wiser through the years!

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Today is Holy Monday and everything seems so quiet. Even our dog Noki, just slept in the corner of our kitchen.  Our three kittens though keep exploring around the place, mostly at the garden and some of the time inside the  house. It’s a good thing they never venture to the living room to scratch our sala set.  I am always on  the lookout, they might discover it soon and then bam,   goes our upholstered furniture.

I  reviewed my earlier posts, back in 2011 and 2012 when I was so active participating in the weekly photo challenge where WordPress usually give a word that would define the photos you want to upload. Those same shots somehow filled up my free space  in record time.  Back in those  days too, they usually give some feedback on one’s latest post. I wonder why the last few years, it is no longer done.  I rather liked it that way. Seemed like they also read those earlier blog posts to  make even a one-word comment.  It  was quite rewarding that they used to do that.

It’s mom’s 88th birthday come April 20. I wonder if my brother would fetch her before the day. At times, she is beginning to be forgetful and her right ear has gone deaf. She has never adjusted to a hearing aid many years ago. She said that she kept hearing so many sounds that she could not understand.   I wonder how she could still laugh and shouts when she watches her favorite programs on TV. She only watches one channel. I am not much into TV watching so sometimes she likes the sound quiet and low.  When I go out I usually write where I am going so she would not complain.  We could not talk much the way we used to because she could  not understand everything. Either you gesture with actions or make your voice a little louder for her to hear. She plays solitaire every day, a card game she is so fond of.

We talk of getting old.  That’s where we will all go someday. I think there is a  big difference between getting old and growing older. When you get old, you just add a number to your name but when you grow old, you acquire wisdom with age.  Life deals us circumstances beyond our control but as we grow older, we become wiser too. Experience always teaches us something. Either we learn a lesson or it falls on the wayside.

What was your Monday like?




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I wonder if this is even worth blogging about. I have a  confession to make.  I was not able to concentrate on the mass today. Mom and I attended the 9am mass at the nearby Parish (as we always do every  Sunday)  but Josef chose to hear mass  later this afternoon since he did some overtime work last night. It was only mom and I at our favorite pew.  A few minutes after the mass started, an old  couple sat on the same pew. The old lady (maybe as old as mom) sat next to me and I  smelled  the overpowering scent of her perfume. I felt like gagging and have to cover my mouth too without being obvious because my throat suddenly hurt.  Know that feeling of a cold and cough starting and you can even taste the scent of the perfume?

Mom used to spray herself with  such similar scent, strong, flowery and  overwhelming (for want of a better description) but I told her  that when the weather is hot, such kind of perfume is not advisable.  I bought her a mild scented baby cologne instead and she liked it.

Why is it that some  older people are more ostentatious  when it comes to grooming complete with jewelry like they are going to a party –  rings on fingers, bracelets, watch, earrings, necklace?  I hope when I get a little older than I am today, I won’t need to surround myself with such things that are sometimes temptations to snatchers and robbers  out there.

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I woke up early this morning with a hoarse voice, a frog croaking sound that is so unpleasant to listen to.  After breakfast, there went  the gargantuan headache that lasted until late this afternoon.  It must be the weather prevailing this summer. Or maybe, it was the exhaustion of tending the garden for almost three straight hours yesterday.  I was able to trim the grass though. I attempted to trim our Fukien tea plants and  dwarf Pandakaki into perfect round shapes. At least they’re not as dense as they were before. My goodness, it’s hot, hot, hot in Metro Manila.

Just got hold of a book  called  The Measure Of My Days by playwright and Jungian analyst  Florida Scott-Maxwell. To quote the book’s brief summary,  it “explores the unique predicament of one’s later years: when one feels both cut off from the past and out of step with the present; when the body rebels at activity but the mind becomes more passionate than ever.”  She wrote it when she was eighty. I haven’t finished the book yet, so far it’s a joy to know than even if you reach that age,  you can  still do something like writing a book.  I’m thinking, could I still write or blog when I reach the ripe old age of seventy?

I have blogged about growing old gracefully. And do you know the subtle difference between growing old and aging? Aging is when you add years to your life but growing old makes you wiser through the years (just my thoughts actually).  Five years ago, a friend who came home from Rome gifted me with a copy of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck and I had a good laugh reading it. I even blogged about it  here.  Some people I know are afraid to grow old but it’s something inevitable just like seeing white hairs on your head  creeping one by one.  Sometimes  one’s immunity goes haywire and you feel the aches and pains.  There’s an adage that says health is wealth.  May we still be healthy in our old age.

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This morning I visited one of the branches of Bank of PI where I used to work and I suddenly missed the daily grind in the banking world. It’s been fourteen years since I left the bank and availed of an early retirement. Taking a commute always has its moments of fun and laughter sometimes.

I took a jeepney  going to and from the bank, a twenty-minute ride from our place  (tricycle ride from the subdivision included). On my way home from the mall just across the bank, a jeepney was waiting for more riders. An old  lady with a cane was dragging her feet to hop on the jeepney so we helped her take her seat. When she did, she said, “the difficulty of getting old”. Another passenger in front of her asked, “How old are you?” She answered, “I’m 78 now”.

Wow, she’s seventy-eight years old, twenty years older than I am but then she does not look her age. She asked the other passenger her age in return and the latter answered, “I am 64”. The old  lady  continued, I was still working when I was your age, selling insurance plans”. The other passengers and I smiled. You know, that kind of shy smiles that you get to bestow on a new-found friend. It was the start of a lively conversation inside the jeep. She told us that she got rid of her household help of four years, a gossipy woman that she can’t tolerate. She lives alone, her  children are residing abroad. Then she turned to me and asked, “Why are you wearing a face mask?” I told her I am allergic to the gas fumes emitted by the vehicles and motorcycles, I don’t want my resistance to run low because of it and casually mentioned that I am a survivor. She looked at me like I am from  planet Mars and with a smile said, “you look healthy”. Another five minutes of exchanging ideas and views about the importance of health and such. Her parting words before she alighted from the jeepney was, “I pray every night that God embraces me when I am asleep because I’ll never know if I am going to wake up again. At my age, I have to be careful because I am alone”. It set me thinking – the bane of getting on with age and growing older.

During the tricycle ride home, I was beside an old lady who was busy searching for coins in her pocket  and behind us were two old ladies giggling like teenagers while having a chat. The other one said, “mamaya ka na magbayad pag bumaba ka na” meaning she can just pay later. When she alighted from the tricycle, the driver said, “bayad na ho”. A teenager riding at the back paid for her fare. What a nice gesture, it made me smile all the way home.

Sometimes  I just feel happy talking to baggers in supermarkets, cashiers in malls and vendors in wet markets. Sometimes I ask myself why they open up to complete strangers and share a little of life’s journeys. Maybe, it’s the anonymity of it all. Maybe, what we need is to get in touch with people often. Saying “hello” or “good morning” might make a big difference in their lives and talking to them makes it worthwhile.

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Josef  and I left the house early so we could avoid the traffic that usually goes with the morning rush hours. A few minutes would really spell the difference.  For the past three years, we  have renewed the registration of our car at the LTO Quezon City office and my brother who has the same ending number for July sometimes accompany us or has his car registered at the same time. He said earlier that he might not be able to register it early so we went ahead today. Imagine our surprise when we saw him already parked in front of the emission testing center  at LTO.

We waited for their offices to open,  we were there before 7am. It took us about thirty minutes to wait for the emission testing, issuance of insurance certificate and registration. Last year, most branches didn’t have stickers upon renewal but I was glad to see that my son won’t have to come back for it this time. They were ready with the 2014 stickers.  One thing that made me laugh while recounting to my son why it took me a few minutes to finish was that the receiving clerk  mistook me for a senior citizen and wrote SC in bold letters on the xeroxed copy of the car’s certificate without even asking if I am one.  The perks of having a few grey hairs at your temple. You are on the priority list and that also holds true when you transact business in government establishments and banks. There is a separate line for SC.

Earlier on, my brother and I talked about what we will do when we reach the senior years (he is older by only eleven months actually) because Senior Citizens enjoy some privileges that make life a little easier. Under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, the SC enjoy  a 20% discount and exemption from the value added tax on the sale of goods and services like medicines, medical supplies and professional fees of  attending physicians in all private hospitals, actual fare in public transports, 5% discount on grocery items to name a few. Here in our place, they even give you a basket of groceries every time you celebrate your birthday and free medicines for common  everyday ailments.  We talked about finally having retirement funds  from  the Social Security System. He is also a colon cancer survivor like am I. Thank God for miracles, he is on his 11th year being cancer free. I am still praying every day that we would both reach the age where we can still enjoy the company of our grandchildren.

Anyway, I am looking forward to being called a senior citizen in exactly two years and three months and I’ll be one….gladly.


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She’s really funny, Nora Ephron is!  It’s the first time I encountered this author so I didn’t know that she was behind  those lovely movies….Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Meets Sally to name a few.   Bong, a friend  gave me a copy of this hardbound-137 pages book when she came home last November.  I finished it in two hours (my second read this year).  I Feel Bad  About My Neck is an intimate, funny and hilarious account of Ephron on growing old and  dealing with the tribulations of stopping back the clock,  maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and about life in general  and her obsession with how her neck looks now that she is getting older.  She says, 

Every so often, I read a book about age and whoever’s writing it says it’s great to be old.  It’s great to be wise and sage and mellow; it’s great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life. I can’t stand people who says things like this.  What can they be thinking? Don’t they have necks?

I can relate with her  up to a point. I never experienced the insecurity though of having  a neck that looks bad, it’s more probably on having a double chin that speaks of extra fats that shouldn’t be there.  Anyway, when you reach fifty and beyond, you look at life with a wide-angle lens, something like, ” I’ve been there so I know it” attitude.   You become a little soft, happy and contented that you’ve brought up your kids to be smart, fun-loving, responsible, God-fearing , honest, sincere, hardworking and lovable.  You’re proud of yourself that you have instilled in them the values, beliefs  and attitudes that would help them in their quest for independence.

Ten years ago, I’ve availed of an early retirement from the bank where I’ve worked for more than twenty-one years.  Some of my friends said I was too young to retire at that age when my oldest  was  just starting college and my youngest was  still a high school student.  Apart from health reasons, I wanted to experience being a full-time mom to my two kids.  Come to think of it,  since I left the bank,  my feet have grown used to sandals and slippers and a slingback-two-inch-shoes on special occasions.  Have I really worn those closed shoes and corporate attire for twenty-one years?  I’ve nearly forgotten now how it is to wear formal clothes. I’ve become more confident wearing maong pants and t-shirt.

Ephron shared her life as a obsessed cook, a passionate city-dweller who was greatly attached to the apartment she rented for ten years,she was obsessed with how she would look without a hair dye to hide those white hairs that sprouts now and then, the creams and lotions that promise to show improvement in her sagging and aging skin but don’t.   And I say, the outer package needs a bit of repackaging.  How’s that again? At a certain age, you long for something more than the material things of this world.   It’s the inner you that counts, because when you are happy, no amount of make-up or pretty clothes or nice shoes would hide it.   When you are happy, everything would be right in your world.

You’re past fifty, so what?  Ride on, life is too short and too beautiful to waste your time counting your age.   What counts is the beauty of your soul.

You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older – Anouk Aimee

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