Sunday Lifestyle

Very old but very busy

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

It is around 8:30 p.m. Friday night.  It is almost the end of a maddening week for me.  Just almost. This morning I looked at my eyes in the mirror and saw some red in one. I don’t know if that’s eye strain from playing too much solitaire on my computer every night before going to bed. Well, what do you expect? I have found that playing solitaire clears and relaxes my mind, makes it ready to read before sleeping.  Except that I play it for hours on end.

 My red eye sent me to my doctor early in the morning. My doctor takes her son to school and is in early. So I don’t put on any eye make-up just in case it causes an allergy. I rush over and the doctor is not there. Her son has probably grown up and gone to college since I last saw her, which was years ago. She is expected at 11.  But I’m supposed to direct a photo shoot at 10. So I rush off and, of course, I am late for the photo shoot.

Why is she so upset over a photo shoot, you might ask. Didn’t she do enough of that years ago when she was in advertising? Yes.  But now I am old and no longer used to directing seven sessions a day. We have a wonderful photographer who does a great job of shooting people, but lately, I think I must have cancer or pneumonia or some other disease because I have been just sort of directing the shooting — for photographs not to kill —  people all week  and at the end of every day I am dead tired, collapse into my softest chair and sleep for hours.

 We finished shooting today, Friday. Just in time. But my hectic week is not over. Tomorrow I have a writing class that will graduate. I have to print out the poems I wrote for all my students and fix them somehow to give away to them instead of diplomas. And this afternoon, after the shoot, I had rehearsals for my show on Wednesday. That ended when it was dark. I amble over to my computer after preparing a sandwich for dinner, go to YouTube, turn on Jack Jones.

 Let me tell you something. I love Jack Jones more than Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.  I love the way he looks — tall, lean, long face, big teeth. Something about him. I think his being tall and lean reminds me of my grandfather whom I adored.  Anyway, I turn on one of his discs and suddenly, I think . . . wait . . . what day is it today? Omigod, it’s Friday. I have no column. My deadline is Thursday. So I get into another one of my major panic states.

 Why am I panicking? I used to have so many deadlines when I was working and I met them all. Why am I the way I am now? The answer is obvious: Because I am old.  No longer used to having so much work. Got used to knitting in front of the TV set.  Did not become a member of Sunshine Place and find so many activities again.  Because when I think of this sudden burst of work — and I love it even if it sometimes makes me crazy — I realize they’re all about Sunshine Place. Where is my life?  It’s almost all in Sunshine Place.

 But it’s different, you know. There I’ve made a whole new set of friends of all ages.  There I’ve ran into old friends and re-ignited old friendships. Carminda de Leon Regala, for example. I met her for the first time before she married Teddy Regala.  Then we ran into each other when she was newly married like me and we belonged to the same CFM group and lived in Palm Village.  This was over 55 years ago. Then we lost touch for decades. Now, we ran into each other again at Sunshine Place. She remembers that once I was a good cook and that I shared my recipe for spaghetti with huge meatballs with her. She remembers. I’ve forgotten.

 Then one morning, I was talking to someone who had been talking to another person. Then that other person said, I don’t know if you remember me. We have the same birthday . . .  I turned to look at her and almost screamed Billie. It was Billie Suntay.  Yes, we have the same birthday. We used to always run into each other at those posh restaurants that our then husbands took us to for birthday dinners.  We were very different women then.

 I mean who would have thought that people who met in their 20s then lost touch would run into each other again?  So forget about the forgetfulness and exhaustion, it’s wonderful to be old and busy. I’m having the time of my life.

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