Love’s been good to me
I thought I was ready to retire at age 50, around 15 years ago. With a little savings which I then thought were sufficient and a small investigation firm, I decided to build a retirement house with a farm, filled the house with memorabilia, and even invested in a mausoleum to complete my retirement plans. But things changed, particularly when, in my attempts to ensure that I’d go easy in my supposed retirement years, I went into some wrong investments with promised quick returns that eventually put me in a lot of trouble—financially, legally and personally.
I did not retire then as I initially planned because I have to work to earn, even up to now. But the experience made me stronger and hopefully wiser. Through it all, I was shielded and comforted by love, both the reality and even just the thought of it. As “Desiderata” puts it, “In the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.”
I now understand why most old men I meet in coffee shops regularly talk about their good old days and their “noong araw” stories, particularly on matters of love—both physical and emotional, but more on the former, perhaps to at least reinforce their fading virility. For that is what we now mostly talk about during meetings with old friends and reunions with former classmates, aside from maintenance medicines or recommended doctors for prostate problems. I might not have the Valentino profile as the reader might imagine, as I am short, dark and portly, and with the lawyerly attitude that tries to muscle and muffle all sign of emotions such as love, but I am easy with love and, luckily enough, vice versa.
While all signs of “living here and now —not living in the past, no regrets, no wistful thoughts of what might have been, nor fretting about uncertain futures” are posted on my walls both in the office and at home, I regularly take the pleasure of reminiscing how love has been good to me through all the years of my life.
To lift my mood after a lousy argument in court, I play my favorite songs which I have collected in CDs while driving my car, which gives me that feeling of being strong, young, and on my own again—making each trip a concert of my life, or more accurately, my love life. It levels up my sugar with better effect than a tablet of Metformin, pumps my heart and raises my body temperature faster than the commonly used enabling drugs. It always prompts a smile every time I hear Stylistics’ “Betcha By Golly Wow,” which reminds me of our good old law school days on Padre Faura. Hearing Bread’s “Games of Magic” easily brings back the memories of my happy regular walks with a campus crush who I accompanied almost daily to help her carry those heavy law books. Chicago’s “Color my World” still brings back the beautiful image of someone who I thought then was the love of my life—until someone else came along, not once but twice, and more.
I still tap my feet as I listen to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” and remember the person I have always associated it with, who reminded me of what I thought I had always wanted to do —“I don’t want clever conversation/ I never want to work that hard/ I just want someone that I can talk to,” which finds more meaning now as I age. I still feel senti but with so much love for my two daughters every time I hear Kool & the Gang’s “Cherish the Love,” which we usually sang together on drives from Philadelphia to New York or Washington DC, when they were little girls. I still brim with pride and love for my son who, then 3 years old, hummed with me “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King,” and who at that young age seemed to already understand the song’s worry-free message which we resolved to be our attitude in life.
But I always fall in love again every time I hear Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven,” the song I have always associated with my wife, still the best love of my life.
People of my age might not appreciate the ease and convenience of current self-expression through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Today’s youth, however, are missing the sweet romance of sending and/or receiving Valentine cards via RCPI or PT&T telegrams, or writing love letters and poetry unabbreviated and romantically fully phrased, unlike today’s text messages.
Life is short, and a man realizes it more as he approaches the prime of his life. At a senior age, anger and other negative feelings should have no place—principally because of their immediate bad effects on one’s health. Anger does not change the world for the better; love does. Love is forgiving, as it sees its object from the beauty of it but goes blind on its flaws and defects. In most cases, it defies logic as it sees persons and things beyond their basic realities. It sublimates.
Go easy with love and let it come and flow in whatever nature and form—be it to your lover, friend or family members, or even God and country. It will let you pass through time and life with ease and meaning.
As Frank Sinatra’s song puts it, “Still and all I’m happy/ The reason is, you see/ Once in a while along the way/ Love’s been good to me.” For in my own lawyerly, tough, Batangueño, rough and crude little ways, even in the autumn of my life, come fire and rain, I will still go on loving.
Victor T. Reyes ([email protected]), 65, is a practicing lawyer, professor of law, and legal consultant at some government agencies.
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