Sunday Lifestyle

Falling in love?

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

It is almost Christmas but I don’t feel Christmas at all. Unlike last year it isn’t even constantly cold yet. Since I don’t listen to the radio, I don’t hear Christmas carols either unless I am at Sunshine Place, where I used to go more and more and now I’m going less and less. There is a very big change in my life, I know, but I am uneasy writing about it. I guess it’s like a wave that has swept me off my feet and is carrying me out to sea smoothly, going with the flow, a flow that I enjoy immensely. I just want it to do that. I want to let it carry me away, to bring me somewhere where magic reigns, where I know I can be or I am already truly happy.

I guess you might call it learning to trust. For the first time in many, many years I think I’m beginning to trust life, which is another way of saying I trust God implicitly. Every morning when I take out my notebook where I write my daily conversation with God, whom I call “My Darling,” I thank Him for bringing me the gifts He has been bringing lately. New wonderful friends. New singing groups who sit and talk and sing and laugh so well together.

I, who used to be so guarded in my ways, am now so different. I walk into my workroom cluttered with bottles of beads of every color and size, tools for all sorts of things, wires, strings, glue, things I bought to put jewelry together, and wonder — what will I do next? All the projects that used to move me before don’t move me anymore. Not these days anyway. I just sit there and stare. The big stones I started to put together to hang on my door to bring holiday cheer sit there covered with a slight film of dust, reminding me I haven’t sat to work them in maybe 20 days. The trunk into which I was arranging all the things that I was sorting out sits there, its top open, waiting for me to put more things in, but I have gone somewhere else and have forgotten that it’s waiting for me, like a child with its mouth wide open for the next spoonful of food but its mother is too distracted to pay attention.

But I did manage to make a little Christmas tree from the skeleton tree that I once bought to display the jewelry I make. Over Christmas it becomes my holiday tree. This year I hung it with copper balls I bought at a bazaar then filled up with some pieces of jewelry I made myself. Underneath is a basket that contains all the Baby Jesus figurines I have, nestled into straw that I cut from the plants on the porch that are slowly dying because I’m too distracted to bother about watering them at least midweek as I used to. What is wrong with me? I am not depressed, no, not at all. In fact I don’t think I’ve been happier. But I don’t feel the Christmas spirit. No, there is no holiday spirit in any part of me. But I feel like I’m walking on air.

Quite often I pause and ask myself — how old am I? I’m 73, for crying out loud. Should I still be dreaming of magical places, of going with the flow, of walking on air? Why am I no longer the practical, intelligent woman who knows today is the day I make a Christmas list, the day I go shopping then wrap the presents, place the greeting cards and send off the gifts to friends and relatives everywhere? Instead I’m going grocery shopping with a dear special friend, buying steaks for lunch, wine for dinner, little odds and ends to make the meals we share less ordinary, more special, something that we can share and enjoy together. It’s like putting the Christmas spirit on hold, replacing it with a joyful spirit of celebration — not of the birth of Christ, but of the birth of a new life full of joy instead of the cold, lonely lives we used to live individually.

But you know what I have discovered? For all the age traumas we have had first when we turned 30 (especially for women), then when we turned 50, when you turn 70 it’s like going back to being teenagers again. Youthening, I think someone called it, but I can’t remember who said that. I know I simply feel it now. I am 73 and I am youthening, feeling younger and sillier with every passing day, feeling more vital and alive with every new moment, feeling like I don’t think I’ve ever felt before.

Oh, let me admit it. I think I have simply fallen in love.

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