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High Blood

Staying alive

/ 05:03 AM September 26, 2021

When does one get old? When I turned 50, I wrote a nearly full-page article, “Hit 50 and Feel Young,” in a now-defunct quarterly newsletter. I wrote it confidently as facial lines and sagging skin had not yet set in. As newly-turned golden girl, I pampered myself by shopping and impulse-buying in Bangkok, to the consternation of my sister who was my first-time fellow tourist.

Time flies fast. When I turned 60, I thought it was a perfect reason to celebrate life. Six months before I’d become a senior citizen, I already made discreet plans for an evening party and invite all those close to my heart—my immediate family, siblings and their families, close relatives and friends, my former high school coteacher Thelma, former students, select coworkers, and four former bosses. King, my officemate-wedding godson, later described it in Facebook as “the ultimate party.” Humbled, I think he meant truly successful—a simple venue that turned classy with a Hollywood motif, complete attendance of all my expected, listed guests, a buffet dinner that passed through two food-tasting tests, and a well-prepared program by my four daughters.

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I optionally retired at 62. Lucille, my eldest granddaughter, turned 18 six years later. Another excellent reason to celebrate life, especially because she’s my eldest daughter’s only child. I have this subconscious desire to prove to everybody that retirement doesn’t change one’s interests, like dancing. And so I volunteered to my daughter to do a dance number for the after-dinner program. Surprised, my daughter smiled broadly and agreed. I invited three jolly former officemates, by then fellow retirees, and asked them to join me for a dance number at debutante Lucille’s party. All three gladly accepted my invitation, including rehearsals in my place plus a sleepover for one. Game! We danced the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive”!

I’m turning 70 in a few months. By then, I’d be the sixth among nine siblings to become a “youthful, middle-aged” septuagenarian. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that the pandemic would be over before 2021 ends. Travel restrictions are all over the world. A vaccination certificate is now a required international travel document. On the other hand, I can’t imagine holding a party with guests masked and wearing face shields and distanced one-and-a-half meters apart. In the first place, large gatherings are still prohibited.

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Quo vadis? No travels, no large gatherings. No problem! It’s over a year now since the government-imposed quarantines. I actually surprised myself for never complaining about boredom or for being isolated. I simply keep myself busy during daytime by listening to music while doing various household chores, singing along or dancing, treating myself to a Netflix movie at nighttime, or reading back issues of Reader’s Digest, keeping up with my esteemed columnists online or through my favorite newspaper. You guessed what it is.

But it’s social media for me first thing after breakfast, the reason why I’m in touch with everybody, updated with current events, socially aware, and politically involved without going out of the house. I pray daily, not necessarily before hitting the sack, thanking Him for countless blessings, for graces and mercy. Sharing one’s little blessings with the less fortunate is a form of prayer, too.

Pope Francis said, “The home is the best place we can be.” Quarantined, we have all the time to clear out the mess and clutter, if any. I’ve read this somewhere: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to take time for your illness.” My home decor says: “Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, it means you decide to see beyond the imperfections.” Or beyond the pandemic. We owe it to ourselves to make our lives colorful.

Let’s stay alive. It’s better than the alternative.

* * *

Katy Viacrucis, 69, believes that writing is good mental exercise.

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TAGS: High Blood, Kat Viacrucis, Old Age, staying alive
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