On being 70

Monin Muriera-Navarro
70-year-old Monin Muriera Navarro shares her insights on aging

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – On my birthday this year, a smart ass friend greeted me with, “You’re only 70 once, enjoy it.” Facetious it may be, this greeting made me think. Aside from some aches and pains, do I feel any different from when I was 60? But then when I was 60 I felt like I was 50.

Nevertheless, I decided to take stock of my life. For sure there were mistakes made, lots of them. Decisions could have been given more thought and emotions could have been controlled. Oh well, I can quote a hundred sayings on Facebook declaring no one should live in the past. Whoever said “with age comes wisdom” must be speaking through his arse, because at 70 I’m no sage, instead it seems like every day I realize there is so much I don’t know and I’m racing to learn as much as I can before the grim reaper comes visiting.

This thirst for knowledge is helping me deal with the D word. The wonder of learning something new is exhilarating – it could be something earthshaking like the recent discovery of several planets that are deemed habitable for humans after they have destroyed earth because the Republicans refuse to believe that climate change and global warming are for real, or something mundane like virgin coconut oil makes good mouthwash. I bet you didn’t know that either.

Old techie

I’m grateful that I learned to use the computer when I was working because the Internet is an infinite source of information. Oh yes, Mr Google is my BFF. Where else can I consult with a doctor for free or find out if a certain analgesic is compatible with my particular brand of statin. I can safely say that I navigate the Internet pretty well although I sometimes get distracted by pop-up ads like the one touting senior porn in Japan.

Keeping an open mind certainly keeps the brain from atrophying. The way I explain this to myself is picturing my skull literally open on top so ignorance can exit and information can enter. There are other more fun ways to exercise the brain at my age. Mahjong is one of them. The Chinese were wise to invent this game. I just wish their cleverness extended to discovering how to manufacture things without producing colossal smog.

Your friends are my friends

I read somewhere that the elderly are more likely to experience depression than their younger counterparts. My way around this is to have young friends. That way the exuberance of their youth can rub off on me. There’s a trick to finding friends of your daughter’s age – make friends with her friends. The other trick is to be able to talk their talk so I made an effort to be interested in what interests them. Proof of that is I can use “churva” in a sentence with a straight face. I, however, put my foot down on jejemon; after all, I still have to maintain a semblance of respectability.

Some of my young friends I have met only on Facebook while playing Candy Crush or Word Battle, but we have been friends for a long time that it’s hard to think of them as nothing less than real friends. I could have made more playing Flappy Bird but the creator took the game down.

Advocacy

The difficult thing to do at my age is finding the right cause to champion. There is no dearth of causes, but to find one that I can passionately embrace – something worthwhile that will benefit the community I live in – is not easy. There has to be a match of what I can offer with what is needed so I was delighted to join a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve heritage sites. I have empathy for old things and old places.

I try to stay fit – the operative word being “try” – by eating healthy and walking at Teachers Camp track. Walking clears my head and I enjoy the natural beauty of the trees, flowers, butterflies and birds which are in sharp contrast to the artificial, rubberized, orange oval path. Did you know that the yellow or white bell flowers have a psychedelic (is that still a word?) effect akin to drugs when ingested? My friend, Joyce, told me that. I wonder how she knew.

So I think I’m going to be okay for a while but should I get a visit from that guy with the scythe soon, I’m fine with that too. Max Ehrmann says it for me: “Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” 

I shall. – Rappler.com

Monin MurieraNavarro lived and worked in the US for more than 30 years. She held the position of administrative manager for an engineering and environmental consulting corporation. She retired in 2010 and lives in Baguio City.



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