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Old age is the best time of my life

Now that I am 76, every remaining year of my life should be the best time of my life. I should make use of every minute of it to prepare myself for the next life, for that glorious encounter with my Creator with whom I shall live forever in peace and happiness.

To this end, I shall make a 180-degree shift in my life’s orientation. I shall now divest myself of my interest in what many people are mostly interested in: money, power, politics, intrigue, and everything else that are “vexations to the spirit” (Desiderata).

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I shall let go of my concerns about things I can’t change and focus only on those I can, like reading, writing, playing my harmonicas, listening to good music, connecting with good people, and sharing good news with others.

One important aspect of this preparation is avoidance of self-pity. Self pity is an enemy of the spirit. I shall avoid writing anything that will smack of self-pity.

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I shall live my day doing whatever I can change and accept those that I can’t. All my actions shall be focused on attaining “that pearl of great price” which the Lord has promised to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

Old age is the final chapter of my life that I should use to prepare for my final trip to the next. It is a time of life when God is gradually distancing me from all the cares of the world and from things I hold dear in this life.

Gradually, some of my physical capacities are being taken from me. I can no longer do my daily 3-kilometer walk, which I’ve done for more than 20 years. My hearing is gradually fading, to the annoyance of those I live with. My sight isn’t as good anymore, and even simple tasks like giving my dogs a bath now seem like hard labor.

So all the physical things that were quite easy to perform before have now become a challenge. Perhaps this is what the term “programmed obsolescence” means.

But at 76, I find that my intellectual capacity to read and write remains excellent. I also feel more wisdom in my decisions, more capacity not to sweat the small stuff, although I still struggle to accept stupid people who make wrong decisions about themselves and the country.

It is a big challenge to accept being old. One needs a new perspective so one can look at old age not only as an achievement but also as a great chance to prepare oneself to encounter the Lord and take possession of the promises He gave to those who love Him.

Death is not to be feared for it is the one single moment when, in the blink of an eye, one will be transported to that radiant, beautiful, all-consuming love of God and away from everything that inflicts pain, like disease, war, authoritarianism, lies, violence, corruption, and absence of a genuine love of country.

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I should always pray for a holy, quick and painless death. I pray that God will grant me to die in perfect health and in my sleep.

Silent acceptance and surrender to God’s plans will be the hallmark of these years of preparation for the next life.

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Carlos D. Isles is a writer, poet, and professional harmonica player with a degree in philosophy from San Jose Seminary (Ateneo de Manila). He was a consultant of the World Bank and for ADB-funded community development projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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