Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Finally, at Forty

I'd like to share this article that I wrote for the Silver Book, which was published for our 25th homecoming last January 3. (High school batch '86, St. Paul College Pasig) You could say that it's my thesis statement.

Finally, at Forty

I know that some of you are in denial about being forty, but to be honest it’s one of the most wonderful ages to be – better even than thirty.

Finally, at forty, I gained a degree of financial independence, confidence and poise. Chalk it all up to experience: By forty, I had studied abroad, cared for a sick parent, borne a child (out of wedlock!), lost my dad to diabetes, changed careers, nursed various bruises, tummy aches and fevers, fell in love, fell out of love, saw my son through the rough-and-tumble world of big school, become a supermom, lost my other dad, and accomplished something in my chosen field. My list grows longer by the day, as undoubtedly does yours.

I know that there are several experiences that are not on my resum̩ Рgetting married, starting a business, having multiple kids, building a house, or experiencing the support of a spouse. But neither did I have to live through marital infidelity, an acrimonious separation, loss of a home through floods, or grave personal illness or injury. For that I am thankful as well.

Finally, at forty – through all these happy, sad, funny, trying experiences – I realized that, hey, I am a woman – a strong woman at that – and that I no longer had to take any BS from this world. And that although I am quite capable of dishing out the crap as well, I can choose not to, because the world crooked and evil enough as it is. But more than that, I have learned to accept with grace the portion and the task allotted to me in this life. Being a single working mom is no easy task; but I relish the adventure of it all.

I’ve been rich and poor, loved and abandoned, strong and weak, supported and alone. And finally, twenty-five years after I stepped out of high school with great hesitation, I have found my center.

Finally, at forty, I have laid aside the illusion that my worth is measured by the amount of my material possessions. I have learned that life can change or even disappear in the blink of an eye, and that I had better be prepared for eternity. I have learned that my greatest legacy is not my triumphs in the corporate world, but my child who will carry on the love for God in his heart. I’ve learned that in the end what matters most on this earth is the family that I hold dear. And that if I’m wise, I’ll learn to expand my heart and extend that love to the rest of humanity as well.

I share these lessons with you out of humility, knowing that you have your own stories to tell. And having you with me as I walk through the furnace of life, it is no small comfort knowing who my true friends are. Finally, at forty, I can say that we are sisters for life.

I hope that time has been kind to you as well. And if ever you’re going through a rough patch, remember: Sis, here’s a hand that you can hold on to.

God willing, I will write for you again twenty-five years from now.

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