When in lockdown, write your autobiography
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

In times of compulsory quarantine, when you need to stay at home, and perhaps feel alone, as all the children have families of their own, it’s time to write your own narratives. This is your own account of what happened to the life that God gifted you with.

The story of my life is divided into seven decades, hopefully eight, each decade constituting a chapter. This can be your story too, and you may adopt the same template also. My first decade is called the Decade of Innocence, those ten years spent barefoot in elementary school in a mountain village too far from the city, called Langin, only one letter away from langit. I lived in a small bamboo and cogon hut in the middle of a cornfield. I was the eldest of 18 children and life was very hard. The second decade is called the Years of Struggles, when I worked as janitor in a university library just to pay for my tuition. The third decade is the time I passed the Bar and I call it the Years of Hope, when I worked to serve the government and the labor sector.

The fourth decade is the time I got married and the kids came one after another as I started working in the corporate world. It is called the Decade of Challenges. The fifth decade is when I went back to government and served as undersecretary of DOLE, after which I asked to be assigned abroad, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Taiwan serving the OFWs, and trying to lift up their spirit and giving them new options through value formation and character building, aside from leadership development. I called it the Decade of Enlightenment, for by then, I learned so much about the meaning of life. The sixth decade is when I retired from the government and started serving the Church and the community, the Age of Wisdom.

The seventh decade is the time of writing books and teaching in the academe, entrusting to the next generations the knowledge and paradigms of the true meaning of life, opening to the youth the many alternative paths in life's many journeys. I am not only teaching Law, I am propagating the values of peace, based on justice, and I am motivating the young to serve others, not just to gain money but to make the world a kinder, and gentler place to live. I am inspiring them to believe in the innate goodness of man and the beauty of life, the vast opportunities to discover new sources of happiness and wisdom. I call this the Age of Joy.

I want to have another decade, if God allows it, to go back to my mountain village, to live with my mountain folks again, plant corn and cacao, mangoes and coconuts. I want to go back to the bamboo and cogon hut. I want to teach my people the real meaning of living, the value of truth and fairness, the importance of simplicity and lack of pretensions. I want to feel the breeze coming from the breaths of buds and flowers sans the dust and pollution of the city. I want to teach the young people in our village that happiness is not a product of technology and gadgets but the purity of good intentions and honesty.

I want to write the last chapter of my life in the village where I need not practice social distancing because my next neighbor is two mountains away. I want to be buried in the very spot where I lived the first decade of life, when complexities and complications have not yet ruined the bliss of my innocence. I need to be at peace with nature and truth. By the way the title of my autobiography is “What Really Matters Most”.


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