Simple joys of ‘seniorhood’ | Inquirer Opinion
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Simple joys of ‘seniorhood’

/ 12:12 AM February 26, 2017

There are millions out there like me. Time was when society dismissed the elderly as just old, aging, or advancing in years. Not anymore. When I turned 60, I joined the legions of citizens called “seniors,” or “sixtyzens,” as I prefer to call them.

Personally, I relish being a senior. It comes with a certain degree of worthiness and entitlement. Somehow it confirms my humble mark in this youth-oriented world—an affirmation that I did my share (and still hope to do so), in shaping events and people’s lives. There is self-fulfillment in it.

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The reality of my seniorhood sank in when I was handed my senior-citizen card. This 4×2 piece of paper legitimized my senior status. It validated as well that I am a card-carrying and bona fide senior citizen, and mighty proud of it. Leaving home without it, to paraphrase a credit card ad many years ago, is unthinkable.

Privileges that were previously denied me are now mine for the taking. Somehow, my greying hair has conferred upon me “a look of distinction.” I delight in being addressed with deference and accorded once-alien amenities.

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To all seniors out there, I pose these questions: Don’t you get the soaring feeling that you’re someone special when people make way for you in long queues? Or when boys surrender their seats to you in a crowded church? Don’t you get the impression that chivalry is not dead in our little corner of the world? I most definitely do.

Discounts are heaven-sent, especially on medicines, not to mention meals in our favorite eating places. How amusing to watch the bewildered faces of waiters when my tableful of seniors flash our “privilege cards” come billing time. A cousin kiddingly remarks, “They might even give you a refund.” (The earlier proposal to restore the 20-percent VAT on seniors’ bills, especially on medicines, put a damper on my otherwise blissful existence. Thank heavens they’ve reconsidered.)

By and large, it is heartwarming to note that seniors are now afforded windows of opportunities to be productive members of the community. We have ceased to be stay-at-home individuals just waiting for the Grim Reaper to do his job.

Old age is no longer dreaded, in the way my late 103-year-old father did. “La vejez es odiosa” (old age is odious) was his curt retort when asked how it felt to hit the century mark. Today, we refuse to belong to the useless and just-waiting-to-kick-the-bucket group. We do have a choice now: to be miserable and ineffectual or to be useful and happy in our diamond years. Take your pick, dear colleagues.

The mortality rate among us has reduced considerably. Breakthroughs in science, specifically in medicine, have prolonged our life span. Improved lifestyles due to ongoing researches on gerontology have also contributed to better health. Significantly and steadily, demographics are forever changing. Nowadays, we go through life still full of expectations.

Nonetheless, when you really come down to it, there is no dispute that we are all getting there. Lucky for those whose graceful aging takes its natural course. Those for whom the aging process seems to be hastened should not lose heart during “blank” moments. In the words of an eminent columnist, “It is not that we are slow or that we have forgotten, it is that we know so much.” Such a comforting thought.

Today’s seniors who are in their 60s are fashionably called the new 50s, those in their 70s the new 60s, and those in their 80s the new 70s. What a kind world we live in.

Romana F. Gella, 70, says she whiles away “seniorhood” by taking up writing as a hobby.

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TAGS: aging, elderly, seniorhood, Seniors, sixtyzens
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