At the age of 67 I find that the things that matter most to me have considerably lessened. I am not sure if this is because I have mellowed and am wiser, or I have lost the will to nitpick certain issues. I don’t think it means that I no longer care about the burning issues of the day. I am angry whenever I hear about corruption, which is still rampant in our country. Maybe I have realized that at this stage of my life, I have to choose my battles, and that these should be concerned with what would really make a difference not just to me but, more importantly, to the good of a greater number.
There are many things that I used to worry about, which, from experience, I know now would eventually disappear from my horizon without me doing anything about them. I have learned not to be stressed about something over which I have no control, and it sure feels good that way. My retirement from the work force has taught me to live on a day-to-day basis, and not to dwell on future events which probably would never happen anyway. It is very important to remember to live in the present moment always.
I have more time for reflections now, which is a good thing; it is a way of separating the chaff from the grain. When I was still in the work force, I did not have time to reflect on things that really mattered, which, I am sure, were in my subconscious always but were never given serious thought. I was busy living a life. It is only now that what Socrates said is coming to fore: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” How true it is! In this fast-paced era of instant gratification and modern technology, we need time to slow down and pause to reflect on what is important to us.
A senior citizen’s ideas of what matter may differ greatly from the ideas of those who are at the peak of their lives, although I have realized that things that really matter are universal and embraced by all ages—love, family, friendship, and the feelings that would make a difference in other people’s lives, like kindness, compassion and charity. It is a very gratifying feeling when you learn that young people have the same sentiments. When more of us share the same views of what matter, I am certain that there is hope for us as a nation to move forward. It is only through our collective effort that we Filipinos can rise above the mess that we are in at present.
I thought that the last paragraph would be a fitting end to this piece, yet I feel that it does not say much about the things that matter most to me. When I think hard about it, these are what matter most to me now: my family, my friends, and, the most important of all, how I feel about certain issues and things. I have realized more than ever now that I have to put myself first before I can attend to the needs of others. As I become older, this has become a not-so-difficult task because I know now what is most important to me, and although I still aspire for some things, the ambition has been tamed somewhat as I become more content with what I have in my life at present.
So, aside from cultivating and continuing the close relationship I have with my family and friends, the next important thing for me is to make a lasting difference in other people’s lives, no matter how small, and regardless of whether or not they are my friends or strangers. This is my way of paying my blessings forward. This is my goal as I enter the afternoon phase of my life, and to me, it matters greatly that I will achieve this in my lifetime.
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Marilyn Duterte Oppus has just made “a life-changing decision to transfer residence from Bohol to Cebu.”
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