REFLECTIONS ON LIFE
By now, my dear sister must have been there in the great beyond—specifically in Heaven because she is never bad—- with our parents already. I could only reflect on the time they have spent here, the responsibilities left behind for me to fend and those matters that they intended to realize, but never made it on time. Mother left us when she was barely 59 years old in 1989, still strong although she must have weakened considerably after suffering from three successive strokes. She was gone in an instant not because of ailment but because of treachery of criminals. I vowed to hunt these perpetrators to the end of the earth. Father followed at a ripe age of 86 sometime in 2008.
Nanay was gone when father was only 67 years old and my father, ever the workaholic, was very active in the academe. Tatay was forced to retire though after reaching 70 but would rather seek an active and productive routine after that. Tatay never slowed down even after reaching the 80s. He would find time visiting and helping prisoners. He was still hale and healthy although he had undergone the cruelest medical procedures when he was in his mid and late 50s.
On hindsight, we must have some kind of “signos” after reaching the midlife period. Nanay, Tatay and lately Doris went through a fatal situation. Well, as for Tatay, he breezed it through. Nanay and Doris were not as lucky. And that meant a lot for typical Filipinos who succumbed to a grave ailment after reaching the half-century mark.
Medical science is even more pronounced when it comes to studying this specific age range. Accordingly, eyesight becomes poor, for males the prostate becomes vulnerable, for females it signaled a menopausal stage. Problems with kidneys, lungs, internal organs, blood pressure and the heart are almost automatic as if the period of 50 indicates a warning sign, some kind of a bell ringing before the recess period. Diabetes, arteriosclerosis, emphysema, aneurism, cancer and a host of other fatal diseases are sworn to appear in this period. And why not? There was a frozen fossil of early man discovered in mountains of the Arctic period, which was studied by scientists, and they have concluded that the remains of the man died due to old age. The bones were carbon dated to have existed within the period where Mammoths were not yet extinct. The age of the Stone Age man was 37!
We were still lucky to have transgressed this early period of mankind. But with civilization comes a host of challenges both to health and lifespan. While we have extended a period within which to enjoy life, it comes with a number of challenges to confront and overcome. Firstly, the vices. Secondly, the tensions. Thirdly, the means of sustaining whatever it is that brings forth contentment as against those that promulgates pain and sufferings. There is calamity, viruses, incompetence, war, accident and all forms of life threatening instances in between. Amidst this influx of considerations, there is a small space we call as life. It is there where for a pigment of time we all relish company and share everything that we have. It is this minute detail in man’s life, that which he calls lifespan, where he compresses everything from his education to adventures, enjoying everything to fulfill a dream and at the same time battling every demon that spells pain and agony. This is a period in man’s life when he may be considered a hero or a heel, a protagonist or villain, a leader or a scoundrel—depending on which side of history he may later be categorized.
The Beatle signature song “In my life” had as its chorus “Life is very short…” rang a familiar expression for humanity. While the human specie through generations of evolution may have concluded numerous mind-boggling discoveries, he remains the same. The human specie is almost perpetual except for the individual member. Nothing has changed in man for hundreds of years; hence the Bible has retained its freshness even if it was written eons ago. There was even a non-fiction book that declared that our generation is the 600th already and except for the fashion in terms of clothing, nothing substantially has been altered ever since.
There is one clear advantage of this generation and those that will follow compared with their ancestral past—-it is man’s ability, his expanded and conscious ability to appreciate the reality of his short life. It may comparatively be a shortened one or prolonged for a few summers but it is almost everything there is in one’s theme.
There is one clear attribute which man has today and which eluded his ancestors before which made life not only significant but meaningful—it is man’s absolute capability to immerse himself in wisdom.
Life has never been the same; short it may be, at least for those aware of this.