Sunday Lifestyle

On being tuesday's child and my lucky number 8

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

Tomorrow, 78 years ago, an overdue pregnant lady and her husband walked into a hospital in Paco, Manila. It was walking distance from where they lived. She was going in for a Caesarean section because she was more than two weeks overdue. That’s what my mother told me when I decided to ask her about the circumstances of my birth.

“Did you pick the date?” I asked, as I was about to turn 44 (if you add that you get an 8) on 8-8-88. You have to admit that is outstanding numerology. Eight everything! I looked up “Numerology 8” on Google, and it says, “Of all the numbers in numerology, the number 8 is the achiever and measures life by the goals he/she reaches. It has good business sense, a powerful presence, and a strong drive for success. The 8 is also a symbol of balance — you can see it in its symmetrical shape. For every blessing it receives, it puts one back out to the universe. When things are balanced, they feel stable, controlled and supported, which is the most productive environment for the 8 to work in. In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered the luckiest number of all, and is purposefully worked into wedding dates, birth dates, addresses and finances. Even in the world of numerology, there are people who have been known to change their name in order to add more eights to their numerology chart, hoping to emulate this number’s level of accomplishment.”

“No, my mother said,” answering my question. “It was the doctor who picked the date.”

Well, my parents got married on Oct. 31, 1942. Halloween! Before Halloween’s macabre signs were introduced to the Philippines. Maybe even numerology was unfamiliar to them and their doctors. They probably chose Aug. 8, 1944 because it was convenient. It was a Tuesday. The doctor must have needed a day to get over his weekend blues. He didn’t know that “Tuesday’s child is full of grace, with good manners, grace, refinement and elegance. They are considered courteous and full of good will.” Another quote from Google, which quotes a poem from the American Psychiatric Society. It was a different time. It was not fashionable to think about numerology or poetry. They lived through World War II.

Only now do I find out that I was Tuesday’s child! I only knew about Wednesday’s child because once there was a song with that title. It was a beautiful song! You know how I love old songs.

When you are 78 — and I will be 78 tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. — there are many discoveries you have made. So Tuesday’s child always has good manners. No wonder I am fixated on good manners and right conduct. I really am offended when people are rude to me or to someone I love or to anyone around me. I find it definitely offensive when someone who serves constantly pretends to be in deep sleep because he is too lazy to respond. Or when someone calls me a devil to my face because I can no longer pay her high salary or allow her to eat us out of our own food stock. That one I wanted to strangle but I controlled myself. I think that’s what I’m good at. I’m good at controlling myself because I don’t ever want to go to jail.

At 78 we are content to allow our thoughts to wander and settle on the changes that have happened in the world where we have been alive a long time. We remember a time without air conditioning. Now we can buy electric fans that work as well as air conditioners. We were born before television was invented. Now we can watch TV shows and even movies on our cellphones. You can even have two lines in one little cellphone. But I have been trying to get a landline installed for four years and it hasn’t been done yet. You know the difference? Now I really and truly do not care anymore. I have my own cellphone.

The advantage of turning this age is how broad your perspective is and it will get even broader even if you live to be 100. Your children are grown and independent. When you have disagreements you know it’s because you are at different life stages. You see a wider picture. You’ve forgiven yourself of many of the wrongs you have done. Twenty years below you they have a more limited picture of their lives. They are younger.

Now I enjoy the broad perspective as much as I enjoy seeing my old school friends again or laughing with my younger, newer friends. I have discovered that every new decade brings deeper insights that enrich our enjoyment of our individual lives. In spite of everything, we are happier and a tiny bit sillier than we have ever been.

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