Mind­ing my own full­ness

Palawan Daily News - - Opinion -

My re­tire­ment from the academe on De­cem­ber 31, 2012 at age 63 can be likened to an un­end­ing tele­serye like ‘FPJ’s Ang Probin­syano.’

I have al­ways val­ued get­ting in touch with peo­ple from all walks of life. I have con­tin­u­ously shared in­spir­ing in­sights and at the same time, learn­ing from oth­ers has been truly re­ward­ing. Ev­ery­day, I re­ceive mes­sages from peo­ple who lifted my spirit. The feel­ing of be­ing val­ued has made me re­al­ize my worth and thought of pur­su­ing with my mis­sion. I have con­sid­ered the se­cond call­ing and un­ex­pect­edly, things have been go­ing on smoothly, de­spite some flaws and im­per­fec­tions.

I have learned more on the value of time. I see to it that I don’t miss en­joy­ing the best part of my re­tire­ment. I sim­ply want to en­joy what I am do­ing. It’s ‘me’ time and I re­ally en­joy be­ing alone, away from the madding crowd. I thank the new tech­nol­ogy be­cause there is never a dull mo­ment be­ing alone. I con­nect with friends through so­cial me­dia. I google a lot, learn new things, or­ga­nize them, and share them with my friends who may lack time to read. There is re­ally more to learn af­ter re­tire­ment. I own my time and I have be­come my own ‘boss.’

Frankly, I had se­cond thoughts when this group of young men in­vited me to write a col­umn for a newly-es­tab­lished lo­cal news­pa­per, The Palawan Daily News. I was hon­est in telling them that I don’t like to be stressed, es­pe­cially in beat­ing with dead­lines. I know the na­ture of the job be­cause I’d been through it when I was still in ac­tive ser­vice. I write ar­ti­cles for my fam­ily and friends to read and en­joy. I write when I feel like do­ing it. It seems this group of mil­len­ni­als don’t eas­ily take ‘no’ for an an­swer. It has been a month now and all the while, I thought they fi­nally gave up. I was wrong. Their per­sis­tence is truly im­pres­sive, and so here I am with this first ar­ti­cle. I hon­estly con­sider this new task as an­other chal­leng­ing men­tal stim­u­la­tion to con­tin­u­ously keep my san­ity. At 69, I’m elated to know that I’m still val­ued as an ed­u­ca­tor. I feel great be­cause my ar­ti­cles and blogs are ap­pre­ci­ated, not only by baby boomers and gen x , but also by mil­len­ni­als.

I told the ed­i­tor-in-chief that I work bet­ter un­der pres­sure. I am aware that it re­ally trig­gers stress, but it has pos­i­tive re­sults. I re­ferred four ti­tles to him for his com­ment/ sug­ges­tion. My choice is his choice, too. I can re­late with the ti­tle and I know that I can, too with my read­ers.

Healthy Mind, what does this col­umn of­fer its read­ers? It’s about find­ing ways to build hap­pi­ness and pos­i­tive emo­tions into our life. Hav­ing a healthy mind is a timely and rel­e­vant re­minder, con­sid­er­ing that low self-es­teem, self-con­fi­dence and self-worth are com­mon prob­lems of our so­ci­ety to­day.

Life is not al­ways a bed of roses. It is a se­ries of en­counter. Prob­lems come our way ev­ery day and we can’t just do away with them. We have to face our prob­lems squarely as they come and we even­tu­ally learn in the process if we learn how to deal with them pos­i­tively.

I am re­tired, but not tired. My fa­vorite au­thor on re­tire­ment, Grace Chong said that one of the mis­con­cep­tions about re­tirees is that they are old – with salt and pep­per hair; fur­rowed eye­brows; leath­ery skin; mea­sured gaits; poised; and so on. Don’t we spend ev­ery day get­ting older? I was co-au­thor of a book, “Pagkakaedad Na Di Kal­i­dad,” pub­lished in 2007, in prepa­ra­tion for our re­tire­ment from gov­ern­ment ser­vice. We un­der­scored the im­por­tance of age­ing grace­fully thru pos­i­tive think­ing. We sold around 2,000 copies . We look for­ward to write a se­cond edi­tion of the book in the near fu­ture.

Let me share with you the things that I have con­tin­u­ously done to main­tain a healthy mind. I read a lot and learn new things more of­ten. I buy good books, re­search a lot and take down im­por­tant notes. I write ar­ti­cles and blogs, in­cor­po­rate new learn­ing and share them with friend through so­cial me­dia. As I said, I love con­nect­ing with friends, for­mer stu­dents, for­mer col­leagues and rel­a­tives from dif­fer­ent parts of the world, now that I have more time to do things which I was not used to do­ing in the past be­cause of my busy sched­ules. I also learned the power of med­i­ta­tion. Spend­ing pre­cious time for med­i­ta­tion is spir­i­tu­ally up­lift­ing. It nour­ishes the mind and clears it with trash that trig­gers stress. The jour­nals my sem­i­nar­ian stu­dents re­veal their per­sonal reflections of Bi­b­li­cal verses of their choice. I learned in­spir­ing in­sights on spir­i­tu­al­ity from sem­i­nar­i­ans and priest for­ma­tors. There are times when I share my reflections on the Gospel for the day on Face­book. The more in­spir­ing com­ment I have from friends, the more i get in­spired to share.

An­other worth­while ac­tiv­ity which I have con­tin­u­ously en­gaged in is trav­el­ling with friends and fam­ily mem­bers. My high school friends and I have been trav­el­ling to var­i­ous places here and abroad since 2011, a year be­fore our re­tire­ment. We plan ahead, book our flights early to avail of promo rates. We save for our trav­els for our com­mon fund. With friends we can be our­selves. Vis­it­ing new places and meeting new friends who have dif­fer­ent cul­tures from ours is a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence. I have also found value to fre­quent fam­ily bonding. It gives me a feel­ing of be­ing cared for and loved by my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

I have been re­tired for more than five years now and I thank God for the bless­ings that I have con­tin­u­ously been en­joy­ing in my mid-se­nior years. I feel I still have a mis­sion to ful­fill as I add more life to my years. There is only one re­minder that I need to point out– we should learn to like and en­joy what we have.

Pos­i­tive thoughts, ac­cord­ing to Bar­bara Fredrick­son can ac­tu­ally cre­ate value in our lives and help us build our skills longer than a smile.

I look for­ward to sharing with you more in­spir­ing sto­ries and recipes on de­vel­op­ing a healthy mind.

“I am re­tired, but not tired.”

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