Monday, February 11, 2008

Dropping Years

Phillis Greene tells us it can be done.

To feel younger as we grow older.

She herself was rejuvenated when she wrote her phenomenal first book Moonglow. When her second, Shedding Years, became another hit, she must have dropped a few more from her 80-plus years. She felt young, she said, while she sat by the pc writing her manuscript, as she autographed copies of her book at its launch, whenever she received fan mail from readers who identified with her musings.

I don't have to take Phillis' word for it. And I don't have to wait for my own first bestseller to come out; it is not likely to happen in this lifetime.

I have learned a few tricks of my own in dropping years.

Oh yes, I pit myself against the (young) standard and go through some of the rituals -- diet, work out, color, moisturize, tone, cleanse, and otherwise try to conceal the bulges, the lines and ridges, and the grey. I try to stand and walk uprightly, springily, tummy sucked in -- never mind if I get blue in the face.

But the years show in more ways than meets the eye.

One can drop years by learning new lifestyles. For me, it is entering a new world called the blogsphere, where I have found a new voice to talk to the world.

It is connecting with new friends -- including those as young as my own children.

It is doing things I've never dared to do before. Snorkel, skin-dive, sing without fear of offending eardrums (though I offend eardrums), drink one too many, walk in the rain, see a movie by my lonesome, wear a duster to go shopping, pick a neighbor's rosal flowers while she's not looking,

Most of all, dropping years is looking at the outside and inside circumstances of my life with a fresh eye.

Like someone greets me "How are you" and even as I reply "Fine" without thinking, deep inside I know better. That I am not just fine, but superb, having just woken to a beautiful sunrise, drunk a perfect cup of coffee, received a parcel notice from a faraway friend, and won successive games of scrabble the night before.

I hear something that bewilders me, intrigues me, and I dont run to a book or a guru anymore but instead look inwards for confirmation -- for a chord that will sound off a "ting-a-ling" response or a "boink-toink" alarm.

"Hitler went to heaven," Neale Donald Walsche tells me for example, and I am outraged at first. It goes against the grain of all I have been taught to believe about heaven and hell. But wait -- knock, knock -- I tap into my inner wisdom, which doesn't take too long to answer: "Why not?!" God is so big, even the likes of Shylock who insisted on his pound of flesh couldn't have missed Him.

I guess, like Phillis, I shed years when I watch a beautiful sunset, when I read a good story or write one, when I bury a seed and it shoots up greenlike in a few, when I look up at night and hear the laughter of stars, when I reformat predictable family reunions, when I teach my Apo Andeng how to "close-open," and "high-five" and "eat-bulaga" and she responds gurgling.

I drop years when I discover what I was born to do, and to do it with a passion I thought I had lost with my youth.

I drop years when I learn to be tolerant of other's follies; to listen to reasons why I can be wrong sometimes or most of the time; to laugh more, especially when the joke's on me; to accept temporary setbacks and not feel it's the end of the world; and to work on relationships that have gone sour.

In our highschool yahoo site where I sometimes get caught in the crossfire between sniping ole classmates-- I grow older when I get trigger-itchy and shoot out my own venom; I feel younger when I find a way to disarm antagonists and broker a deal resembling a truce.

In fact, it is basically in the relationships.

Our relationships to the god within, to our own fallible self, to every person and bird and bee and flower and tree and brook and river around us.

A positive attitude to others -- both fellow humans and lesser creatures -- can add bounce to our steps as we walk those final miles before we sleep.


SexyMonm said...

true, true and true, when people ask how old i am, and without batting an eyelash i say, golden, as cheerfully as can be. it is not really the number of years one has had in this world that matters, but the twinkle in the eyes, the secret smiles, the laughter, the confidence, the wisdom, the inner peace, the inner strength, the simple things in life that make us happy. yes, the way we make out of life--the way we want it. happy morning, Annamanila!

noemi said...

I've never felt more beautiful today than I was 30 years ago. I am in the prime of my life and enjoying it.

I read your article in yesterday's Sunday Inquirer Magazine. And to your question if you had reached out, I don't think at that age I was capable of reaching out.

Gypsy said...

Oh wow, "shedding years" what a great way of putting it. You're right, it is about shedding years and gaining grace. Cheers!

julie said...

Dropping years, how very apt. I was just told by the manang who comes to clean the yard that I don't look my age, that I look younger than her daughter who is in fact younger than I am. No, I told her, not because I have a better life but maybe because of my attitude. Not that I don't experience the negatives but because working with children has taught me a lot of things that makes me feel younger, eager to learn new things and eager to do more than I can do.

Thanks for the inspiration, AM, sometimes, all these things can be tiring too but then again, I would be having wrinkles so I try not to think about getting tired.

Anonymous said...

beautifully written!

i'm not embarrased to say my real age, too. with age comes a lot of learning and maturity. and most importantly, accepting oneself as it is.

Gina said...

Very beautiful piece MC!

Sounds like you discovered the secret to staying/feeling young, way to go! =)

Aha, kaya pala ang neighbor mo, hinanap ang bulaklak niya,lol!

rowena said...

Hi AM (my buddy), gosh I missed your blog so much. Been reading your previous entries and naaliw talaga ako re your reunion post. And this post made me smile, shedding years- I hope when my time comes I too will age gracefully...

exskindiver said...

nabuhay kaming mga fans mo MC,
this is beautifully written and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Here's a high five!

As they say " the problem isn't adding years to our life but life to our years" :)

myepinoy said...

I think i am getting older. my eyes failed me.

Ganito ang pagbasa ko:

Doping years.

Pills can be done to feel younger as we grow older. I don't have to take Pills, I have learned my own tricks entering the new world called blogosphere. LOL. just kidding.

Here is a poem from Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Happy Weekend.

Leah said...

Aging can be negative or positive. How wonderful indeed that good people relationship, a great sunset or sunrise and a scrabble win can lessen the aging process. I hope to incorporate these in my current mid-life phase, maybe i'll age as graceful as you.

Belle said...

wow, another one of your beautifully written entries. such an inspiration, anna! what good it is to add years to our life if we do not add life to our years?

Toe said...

So I read this post again... and I understand it better now and get what you mean. :)

I totally agree with everything you say and hope that people would learn how to grow younger and younger everyday as we drop years to our life by living and loving.

Heart of Rachel said...

You never fail to inspire me with your beautiful and positive words. There are so many wonderful things in life that can be more rewarding than material things. Thanks for sharing yours.

crazy girl said...

wise words from a wise woman!
you go girl!

vernaloo said...

you are so cool Anna! =)

I hope when my time comes I'll also have the same outlook in life like yours.

Lazarus said...

i don't know what i would become 20, 30 or 40 years from now. but i want to live a life that brings glory to God.

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