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My mother fell deeply in love at 69. Who knows what the future brings?

Author Gina Lopez with her dad and her friends: This was a surprise 16th birthday party in my house. Photos from the Lopez Museum  

It’s Valentine season.  Last week, one of the writers of ABS-CBN Foundation newsletter sent the following questions they thought the employees would be interested in.

1. How young were you when you had your first boyfriend?

2. Describe your ideal date.

3. What was the most memorable thing you did for love?

4. What qualities should a man possess to be your partner?

5. Do you see yourself having a romantic partner in the future?

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Love. There are all kinds of love. If we’re talking about romantic love, yes, I am totally romantic. I like romantic novels, romantic but not superficial movies. I was romantic since a child. I loved the Twilight series because the love seems so noble.

My first boyfriend? My mother was not strict at all so as early as 13 years old I was allowed to go out socially. My brother was just a year and a half older than me so sometimes I would hang out with his friends. Our social lives would mix because he liked some of my friends, and some of his friends liked me. I had a really active social life — wholesome and lots of fun.

During my time, there were a lot of school fairs to mix with and meet people. There were parties on and soirees between schools. When I was in third year high school, I had a crush on this guy who was in college. That was “old” from my point of view. I’d say this was my first “relationship” and in those times holding hands was really something already. Since the rule of the day was to play coy, it was seen as a serious thing if you admitted you liked someone.

I had a really sheltered childhood. I only found out how babies were made when I was 13!  I was shocked that I had to have my clothes off  — and at that time I decided I wouldn’t make babies.

It’s amusing today to look back at those times.

My teenage years were a series of crushes and then I went to the US. There were a few guys that I liked but people were much more conservative. I think kids now are much more intense. I left for college and got involved with Ananda Marga. And that was the end of that...

When I came back to the country, I got married to my boss in Africa. After eight years the marriage fell apart. Some years after was perhaps my most intense relationship. It lasted almost a year. He died and that was devastating for me.  The relationship was ideal because he sincerely liked what I was doing. He even appreciated that I had gone to Africa. He was my brother’s batch mate in Ateneo so socially it was so comfortable. 

Since then I haven’t met anyone that I could foster a relationship with. It’s harder as one gets older. At my age, mostly everyone is already married. And in this society, if one goes against the norm, especially for me, it would not be good for the work I am doing at the foundation.

Anyway, I am complete and happy. My mother fell in love at 69, deeply in love. Who knows what the future brings?

My ideal relationship? Because spirituality is such an integral part of my life, the person has to be deeply spiritual, but just that alone is not going to cut it.  It would be great if he was sexy and a lot of fun. I don’t think I could ever hook up with anyone who wasn’t caring and compassionate, or was dry and boring.

I totally love the work I am doing. I love helping people. I love making a difference. I love meeting people.

Most of all, I love meditation and feeling the Divine. That to me is the secret of everything. Without being romantically linked to anyone right now, I am actually really happy and quite content.

My advice to everyone?  Keep life simple. Don’t think too much. Many times what you are thinking is not even true. If you keep your heart simple and pure, then life will be simple and pure. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just let life flow. Have fun. Take it easy but stay healthy! Don’t get into vices. This screws up life completely! Drinking, smoking, drugs. You won’t be able to think straight. Life will then get very complicated. If you keep life simple and pure, even if you don’t have much money you can be happy. Just stay healthy.

Love is what makes the world go round. Caring for others. Feeling for others. Without these life would be dry and dull.

If you do get someone you have chemistry with, let me share with you what one spiritual teacher told me:  That phase of life is Very special. It’s during that phase of feeling the total giving of surrender and devotion that one can feel the Divine in a personal relationship. My mom once said that being with her husband Dick, she can feel God’s love. In that phase there is no difference between devotion for the person and connection, the space is the same. 

It is different from the phase when one has kind of settled in the relationship — and the thrill of intense chemistry is no longer there even when you still love each other.

If you are in the intense chemistry phase — enjoy it! Feel it. Experience it. Don’t sully it and complicate it with insecurities. Just make it the joy of total giving.  It doesn’t last forever, so enjoy it while it is there. It is a blessing and a gift from the Divine. If you ride it well, it can make you a much deeper person because a person is the sum total of their experiences. To be able to give and surrender purely is also giving to yourself.

Isn’t there deliciousness to being in love?

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I can be reached at regina_lopez@abs-cbn.com.

 

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