I overheard a group of young people whisper then giggle while looking at a couple having cups of coffee in a restaurant.
The man with his wife, both in their sixties, were sweet: he had his walker deposited beside his seat while his wife assisted him in eating the ensaimada they were having for merienda. It was obvious that he was recuperating from a stroke or some damaging ailment that has affected his mobility. And his wife was wiping the corner his mouth where grated cheese and sugar seemed to have collected.
The young people from the other table saw this gesture privately shared by the couple and ... they laughed.
One of the young ladies in the group, perhaps in her early twenties ... the sort who was not very pretty but believed that being a fashionable victim can create an illusion that she can be a threat to Anne Curtis ... went to the extent of muttering a diring-diri "Yuuuuch." Her girlfriend, not any prettier and certainly not an iota nicer could not help but verbalize her feelings that very moment:"Kadiri. Such old people!"
This was followed by the comment of one of the males who had a very demented concept of wit. He said, "If those were my grandparents, I'd drag them back home." Another in the group added, "Kasi naman people that age should not be allowed to go around the mall without alalays."
I was dumbstruck. I have never been so appalled in my life.
Here I was ... so completely touched by the sight of a couple who may have been together for years, for richer or for poorer, certainly in sickness and in health ... showing how much love they have for each other ... and this group of yuppies can only expel such words of disdain and contempt because they were old?
Since when was being old a reason for this kind of attitude and discrimination? And what does this sort of behavior indicate about what the world has become today? Have we completely thrown away the principles of respect for elders as well as seniority?
Would these smart-ass, IPhone wielding urban maggots felt the same way if their parents or grandparents were the ones showing such a display of candid affection? Or do young people feel such ... greatness and omnipotence ... believing that the prime years of their lives would last forever and that the world will twirl around the axis of their well-toned, gym-buffed SPF protected skins and bodies?
Unfortunately they are up for a very big surprise.
Youth passes far too quickly. Youth flashes in your eyes ... and before you know it, young you are no longer. Even without the aid of numerals to calibrate your age, you easily slide into being a youngster to a hormone berserk young adult to a ambitious material-obsessed adult ... then to mellow hypertension/uric acid troubled middle age ... eventually reaching the senior stature when the young believe you should be best turned into a pot of fertilizer.
Sometimes you do not even feel the passage of decades.
Being too preoccupied with making a living, you forget about having a life. You are so busy trying to make so much money to have a good life ... so much so that you completely forget that life is passing you by faster than you can fatten your bank account. You spend sleepless nights and countless hours keeping up with trends, purchasing the latest gadgets and foisting just how far you have gone with the brand of car you are driving, the condo unit you are amortizing or even the human being you are copulating with just to prove to the world you have a good life.
Then it hits you. You need your blood pressure checked ever so often. Add the blood test. The mammogram test too. The endoscopy would help. Also the colonoscopy. But that's all right: you have a platinum health card to match your credit credentials.
The only way you come to terms with aging is the fact that what you can do in your 20s you can no longer do when you hit your 30s.
Whereas you can go on and on like the Energizer Rabbit for more than thirty-six hours straight (that including slaving for your bosses then partying until you froth in the mouth), when you are in your 30's all that hyperactivity seems to slow down.
That's when you develop blood pressure problems, gout and the start of smoker's cough. And insomnia. And anemia.
When you hit the fourth decade of your existence, you also feel the law of gravity at work. That is your metabolism has slowed down so much that no amount of working out in the gym or participation in marathons at Global City can make you lose the hateful four inches that have grown around your midsection.
You are in your forties when awful arch from your nose to your chin makes you look like a marionette. That is when you start counting your laugh lines and the crow's feet. That is when you consider a hair transplant because Minoxidil is no longer working to cure that receding hairline. Etcetera. Etcetera.
That is aging. No one can escape that. You can ask the help of Vicky Belo to nip, tuck, inject and pull up or out an inch or two ... but your body clock will still keep on going. You will still age. Even she will tell you that.
But here is the good news. There is nothing wrong with that.
There is nobility and honor in aging.
If you make the most out of your years and give meaning to what has been loaned to you in your present life, then you should wear your age like a badge of honor. For the real pride of human existence is when you justify the years you spent on this planet --- on what you have made of yourself not in terms of fame or wealth It is how you have changed lives, affected others ... and more so, added dignity to your character despite and in spite of your imperfections because you are human.
When I looked at that old couple, I knew that they possessed something that those bunch of air-headed yuppies can only hope for. That couple have found each other: they have discovered the kind of happiness that so many yearn to possess but nowadays only very few get to keep. They have found peace with themselves and with the world.
In a world so obsessed with youth, having lived through too many years has become quite unfashionable. That is why many try to hide their age though science or methods of camouflage and deception. But the wiser ones deal with their years with excitement and pride. They tell the kids out there to go screw themselves. The wisdom of collected years is far more priceless than the folly of the innocent and ignorant who believe they are brilliant.
Besides, I dare ask: how many of those condescending, giggling and contemptible yuppies will ever get to live as long and as happy as that couple they called yuuuch? I doubt that very much. I really doubt that very, very much.