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Accepting one’s senior moments–with humor

12:03 AM September 28, 2015

IT WAS the anniversary night of what was then a state college. On the bleachers of the gymnasium were the high school and college students, and prominently seated in front of the stage were the college’s faculty and staff, including myself. Hardly noticed were a couple of retirees who were to be honored, not a trace of venerable gray hair to make them stand out from the audience.

On stage was a nine-year-old grade schooler performing a monologue on the lapses of a “ty-ager.” The grandchild of an English professor, who had just retired and must have composed the young girl’s piece, was dressed like an adult.

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I joined the outburst of laughter as the child came to the part where she was mimicking how “Grandma” would murmur a question to herself wondering if she had taken her medicines as scheduled, or think aloud of what she wanted to get while on her way to “do it,” or ask “yaya” for her eyeglasses even as they hung on the neckline of her blouse, and check whether it was a a Saturday (which was her market day) or a Sunday (which was her special church day), among the many things she just couldn’t be sure of anymore with every passing “senior” day.

That was some years ago. After retirement from the state college, and an invite to head the graduate school of a private educational institution, I was inspired by Chit Roces-Santos’ “Tenured for life” (Lifestyle, 8/6/15) to revisit the old, immortal “world of recollection.” It is gratifying to pass on to others the message “to take in good humor” the lapses of seniors.

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Being aware and accepting such “embarrassments” boost one’s spirit in daily living. In these senior days I meet former students, now in government service, who are excited to see me and almost always ask whether I still remember them. “Of course” would be my usual answer even as I search for a cue that would connect the familiar faces to the right names. In fact, even the names of dear friends whom I haven’t met for years have also become elusive in my memory. It takes some minutes of animated chatter to remember them; meanwhile I ache to make the “connection.” I never ask for the names.

In another approach to work up my memory, I tried to pick up the needed groceries without a list but nothing doing, even with a mnemonic device in my mind. The Reader’s Digest guide for “Improving Memory” appears to have expired on me—though still stuck fast in the head are my favorite Psalms and the declamation pieces of my high school years.

I guess, as time flies, we just have to bear with our inevitable senior moments—with humor, and a smile.

—ALICE S. GO,

Gabas, Baybay City, Leyte

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