THE SUNNY PHILOSOPHER | The lament of a retiree



THE photo caption said: Well-earned retirement after decades of doctoring. In the photo was a white-haired man, a doctor, reading a newspaper. He appeared to be fully enjoying his retirement.
The photo was published in a book, Tales of the Old Villagers, by Brian P. Martin. The book was about a traditional village life in England that had vanished from the English countryside.
I look at the man in the photo as myself, a retiree, who has spent over 30 years, first as a crusading journalist, then as a human rights advocate and finally, as a College of Arts and Sciences dean.
I confess I terribly miss those years.
I am now living the life of a retiree. I do not wake up at the crack of dawn. I do not prepare an early morning meal. I do not dash out of the house, expecting exciting time in the office or school.
There are no exciting things to expect.
Some years back, retirement was a remote event. I did not know what was there for me. But as an optimist, I was sure that things would be pleasant when I get there.
I was too occupied with enjoying life immensely to bother myself with still far away years.
Father Time was kind to me. He did not remind me of the steady ticking of the clock on the wall of my room. If the seasons kept changing and the earth kept turning on its axis, I did not notice them.
Probably, I really enjoyed life as such.
Then one day, I got pains in my joints that would not go away. I started to walk with a limp. Time to retire Buddy old boy, I told myself.
Nobody, however, can escape from old age and retirement. My old friends in Legaspi City who are no longer around, bless their souls, had lived their years and were happy with what life had given them.
To a few perhaps, retirement is not a boon but a bane. They could not adjust to the change, perhaps because of the reduced income from monthly pension and partly because during these years, all kinds of ailment set in.
The worst enemy of a retiree is boredom, loneliness. Some seek solace in the company of ginyebrs, others start a hobby. I write features for newspapers.
Those on the farm have easy access to nature. The farm atmosphere is soothing to the nerves, the chirping of birds heals the empty soul.
That is the reason Fernando Amorsolo, greatest Filipino painter, prefers the picture of the countryside for his masterpieces. He sees a part of heaven there.
Have you seen his painting of a young village girl crossing a shallow river, raising her skirt to reveal shapely legs?
Not only ordinary people go through these things. Famous American Gen. George Patton, after the command of the Third Army was taken from him after the close of WW II, spent his time visiting the towns in France he liberated from the Germans.
It was the anti-dote to his monotony.
A beautiful message posted in the Internet said that if you are in pain, think of the many brighter things occurring out there.

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