Perish the thought! “Bed to Bed” is not code for Bacchanalia!
It is not hopping and humping from mattress to mattress. Joyous philandering it is not! Neither is it libidinous promiscuity as what the cheerfully malicious might conclude. In fact, it is a catchphrase for one’s intimations of his or her nearing mortality. Somber, sober and awakening as should be.
Meeting one’s end can still be as delightful as one’s attitude can conjure. But before taking off on our first discourse for the decade of the ‘20s, let me roar and greet y’all a very Happy New Year and best wishes for prosperity and may I add, without the travails and pain inflicted by 2019.
Another year gone by and the new year escorts one towards being a year older. When one is an octogenarian, like I am, this can only mean approaching irrelevance and obscurity, coming closer to becoming just a memory whether cherished, loathed or simply unremarked. After all, old age is really the summation what we did in and with life!
Are old farts like me ready for old age and its many imponderables?
As we move on towards the sunset, what to do? What to do! It is a good time to ponder what lies ahead. Many of us are totally unprepared for what that diminishing future has in store. I am not an old age lifestyle guru but what is no secret is that a positive outlook is not only a useful foundation but essential. And best shored up with a conscious diet discipline and regularity of physical exercise. To each his or her own suitable style and regimen.
Overall, the capacity to express gratitude is indispensable to achieving happiness, much more needed at life’s ‘pre-departure’ stage. Without gratitude, unpleasant grumpiness ensues plenty. Old age makes for a very poor excuse for surliness and irascibility, and as such becomes only an added cross, but for others to bear. That is not fair!
The loaded odds of life is that it will cease in bed! By reason of old age, failing health or both, even in non-instantaneous demise by accident or violence, one passes away in bed! The journey through which our lives zigged and zagged, twisted and turned began with babyhood. And that was in bed, with Mother. The onset of senior citizenship is the beginning of the back end of life’s round trip. Then, the return to infanthood, yes back to babyhood, commences. Back to bed, this time without Mother!
Old age can be a life ‘without!’ How then are we preparing to be ‘without?’ A partner in life, a spouse, a significant other may likewise no longer be around having departed earlier. Grown-up younger generations would by now have now their own ‘beds,’ filling up with their own brood, likewise much in need of care just as you were, once upon your time.
Born in bed and die in bed! “Bed to bed,” is the cycle of life, the way of life. Nature!
The elderly do have knowledge of the past, theirs personally or vicariously . However, for them old age is unexplored territory. Therein lies the need for mental preparations. Let it begin with shaping an attitude that leads to equanimity! That means composure, mental calmness and even temperedness. A happy old age requires equanimity because curmudgeons are a pain in the butt!
Let me end my ‘homily’ with a very recent experience I was not prepared for. It shook me up but I must confess, the experience enhanced my “equanimity.” I have now foresworn that old saying about “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” because this friendly ageing mongrel did learn a new one!
Imagine a child chiding his ageing father for what he saw as an unexpected lapse in character and of proper behavior in his old man. In the child’s indignation, he brings up an incident that occurred some 25 years, or so, ago. He railed at his Dad’s act of mindlessness, never mind that it was unconsciously stimulated by another hackneyed aphorism like “Finders Keepers!”
Here is what happened. That child is my grown-up son and that ‘mindless’ Dad, me.
Over the holidays, I asked my son Jose (Jose Ma. Sebastian Gomez, an IT whiz) to show me how to operate and use a set of used blue-tooth-enabled set of earphones.
During the homeward leg of my return from a trip to the West Coast weeks earlier, it was a change of aircraft on a lay over in Phoenix, there was an ear phone set ensconced in the right nook of my assigned seat. I almost sat on it. The plane had taken off for San Antonio. Evidently, the audio contraption was inadvertently left behind by a disembarked passenger.
Mindlessly then, “Finders Keepers!” Nothing to it, happens all the time! Upon touch down, into my hand carried canvass bag went the ear phones and nonchalantly brought it home, set it aside. I was ignorant as to its value, segunda mano. I did not even know what to do with it!
Jose asked me: “Where did you get this, Dad.” And just as soon as I ended my relation, he flared up in outrage, raising his voice. “How could you, Dad! I am very disappointed in you. That’s not yours. You took it! That is stealing.”
Instantly, he jarred my memory. “Do you remember that wallet that I found in the backseat of the school bus?” (We were living in Marcelo Green Village then. Jose was 6.) “You scolded me severely because I took that wallet home!” Suddenly, I remembered how much too harshly I was, while sheepishly shrinking in embarrassment. What a letdown for an exemplar of propriety I had descended to by such a mindless act! It took a child to chastise his father. It was a comeuppance, a dressing down, rightly and richly deserved.
I do not recall having been more contrite at what, to me, was simply ‘peccata minuta.’ “Happens all the time!” Obviously, it was quite a big deal for Jose’s moral standards, to which I then realized, I had contributed indelibly. The weight of penitence all the more hang heavily.
Father apologized to the child! After Jose flew back home to California, I wrote him a note thanking him for teaching me a lesson! I did assure him though that as a consequence, his Dad faces the new year with renewed moral vigor, stronger in fending off lapses and ever warier of moral pitfalls.
And the lesson learned? Old age does not confer superiority. Neither does it exempt one from a continuing respect for and the practice of morals exemplified in GMRC (good manners and right conduct). Role modelling is a lifelong commitment and old age can be a happy reward!
Ready for “bed?”
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.