HOW MY SUMMER VACATION TURNED INTO A LESSON ON GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY...
Last May 7, my mom, brother, son and I boarded a plane to Manila for a brief "vacation", if you could call going to the big city that. It was my mom who needed to be there for an annual CWL convention while the rest of us were there only for the ride. The last time my mom traveled to Manila was about 3 years ago and it's been about 4 years ago for my brother and son. At that time, my mom although already suffering from hip osteoarthritis was still quite mobile but lately, it has really been getting more difficult for her to get around and this has become more evident during this latest trip to Manila. Although I see her as growing old, this reality did not seem to be very apparent to me maybe because life in the province is more laid-back, or maybe because I refuse to dwell on the fact that my mom was indeed aging and sooner than later, so will I.
So what did I learn this summer vacation?
My first "lesson" on aging is to make early lifestyle changes. Although this would not stop the aging process, but it will help slow down the physical limitations that the aging will bring about. I have been blessed with good genes like my mom who does not look her age, but looking young is useless if you're immobilized by osteoarthritis, so before it's too late I must exercise regularly and eat a more balanced and healthy diet, if I don't want to end up like my mother....or like most women in her side of the family who have been debilitated by this natural consequence of aging. Of course there are surgical remedies nowadays, but it is not an easy option for her or for me for that matter...I mean, who wants an artificial hip that needs to be replace every 8 or so years?..duh.
Another "lesson" is to learn how to accept aging well and to ask for help when you need it. I know that my mom hesitates asking for help for several reasons, foremost of which is that she is afraid that when she does, it would burden or bother people. Another reason, perhaps is that sometimes she does not want to feel that people get tired or impatient with her and being an independent person by nature, asking help for her personal needs is alien to her. In many ways, I am like her but I am also going to make a conscious effort to learn to grow old dependent and not feel guilty about it! I think after many years of taking care of others, I would deserve to be pampered and spoiled in my diamond years :)
And the last but the most important lesson, is that when we reach our senior years, we should stop trying so hard to resist the aging process...the saying that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak is oh so true for people who refuse to grow old. We can spend thousands on products that promise to make us look youthful, but short of finding the fountain of youth, nobody can stop aging. There is just no way to avoid it.
And so this summer, I learned that the best way to age is to relax, think happy thoughts, exercise regularly, eat healthy and live simply. And above all, be prayerful and put all my trust in the One who holds my future in his hands.