COMMENTARY: Random Thoughts on Reaching 70 Years

MANDALUYONG CITY (MindaNews/20 April) — Age is merely a stockpiling of years. I don’t feel a heavy burden on my shoulders despite the 70 years because age carries its own rewards.

I feel an extra spring in my walk, more glow in my eyes, and probably more fire in my belly not because of fact that I still have further dreams in my life but mainly because I have six precious and lovable grandchildren. They are my barkada and twice a week I have lunch with them. Every morning I wake up to a bright day looking forward to be with them. Our four-month old grandson is a new source of joy, laughter and love.

My treasure in life is my wife Gladys of course, and our biggest trophies, our biggest achievements are our children. I am very proud that the three little boys have now grown up to be responsible citizens. Prouder still am I that they have carved out their own throbbing professional careers. But I am most proud that they have lived up according to our code – they are imbued with Christian values and with bleeding hearts for others.

Now, in a full cycle of life they themselves are parenting their own children in the same fashion and mold. None of these would have happened without the strong support of their beautiful spouses: Jen to GT; Anne to Gino; Tinine to Greg.

Only at an old age can you claim these rewards.

At 70 I have stopped chasing the pot of gold at the end the rainbow. Instead, my life now is as colorful as a rainbow as I live my dream of building decent homes for the underprivileged. At 70 my sight may be fading, but my vision is never clearer than now. I may be physically weaker but my faith for what I have done and what I shall be doing is strong. With faith stronger in myself and in my God, I shall still forge ahead in this advocacy.

At 70 I have lost the glitter and glamour of youth but I have gained the respect of old age. I have lost many of my good friends as they fell along side the journey of life but what few friends I have now, are friends for all seasons, whether rain or shine, in thunder or in lightning, even when the hurly burly was strongly confusing.

My heart may pound weaker and beat slower but this gives me time to smell the roses, to soak in the rain and to cook for myself, even if I don’t have to.

The day has ended. The piercing sun has gone down and scorching heat has vanished in thin air. The comfortable and welcoming breeze bellows and welcomes the twilight of time inviting me to an enchanting evening. The night is young and there is life at night. We celebrate, for the day is done and the stress of life is gone. There is serenity of the evening.

This may yet be the best time of times.

Even while the night grows deeper, the stars shine brighter while the waxing moon eagerly waits to embrace me in simmering radiance and in divine splendor.

Seventy is a magical gift, of a sweetly lingering life, of unabated laughter and of boundless love.

At 70 the happy hour of life starts. (Retired lawyer Gari M. Tiongco of Bohol and Davao City but now based in Metro Manila, considers his six grandchildren as his barkada. He turned 70 on April 17).