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Retired and Busy

The Golden Years: that is how retirement is usually described. For good reasons. On top of my list is the freedom to make my own schedule. That means sleeping without alarms, breakfast in my own sweet time, no more dressing up for office and the annoying commutes, and plenty of time to rest.

Growing old is an inevitable fact of life. You can’t change that reality. But nothing can stop me from enjoying the simple joys of a well-earned retirement.

I’d usually spend my weekends with a list of activities and errands. But not this weekend. After all, last week at church the pastor preached on the importance of rest. So this weekend I won’t be doing anything but pursue what interests me most: reading, writing and eating different kinds of “kakanin”. Hardly had I grabbed a book, however, when my wife chimes in:

“Noah is celebrating his second monthsary this weekend.”

Noah is my grandnephew.

“But we just celebrated his first month last month,” I tell my wife.

“Right, and you and I are going there.”

“Don’t tell me we are going to do this every month!”

My plans of a relaxing weekend vanish like a whiff of smoke.

In order to bring something with us, we drive first to Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst Queens. My wife picks up a small box of ready to feed bottled Similac, a pair of baby pajamas and socks. Along with foodstuffs, balloons, and candles, I get some avocadoes and a bar of 92% cacao dark chocolate at the Target store nearby to give to a former neighbor who’s recovering from surgery. To maximize our trip, I think of dropping by his place on our way back from the party, and another possible side-trip to a former employee just to say hi.

We have a great day at my grandnephew’s house by the sea in Far Rockaway Beach. Eating, baby talking, watching Filipino movies and thanking God for blessings. There were no other guests except my wife and me. Surprisingly, I actually feel more rested now than I did earlier this morning. I am now looking forward to a third monthsary.

On our way back, I think of dropping by my former employee Yohanny. We have a lot of leftovers, including a couple of boxes of muffins. He lives on Woodhaven Blvd. which is along the same route I take back home. He has six kids and I might as well drop all my unopened muffins for his kids. I call Yohanny and tell him I’ll drop by for a few seconds just to say hi.

Yohanny is waiting in the cold by the street sidewalk a few meters from his house. I hand him the two boxes of muffins and a small Tupperware of pansit. I notice he is not his usual smiling self.

“It’s good you dropped by, Mr. Manny.”

“You okay? Looks like you have a problem, my friend.”

Yohanny opens up. Then he asks me if I could help his wife find another job at JFK. His wife has just lost her job. I know for a fact that his wife was earning much more than he, so this meant hard times for the family.

Several years ago I recommended Yohanny’s wife to her former job. I tell Yohanny I’ll see what I can do because I have been retired many years now and don’t know anyone in her company anymore.

I make some calls and by the looks of it, I think I can help Yohanny even in my retirement. I tell him I’ll make more calls when I get home, promise. He knows me. He is his usual smiling self again. Good friends don’t come easy.

Then, l drop by Nelson’s new place. He is in his seventies and had just undergone a bypass surgery. He is sleeping now but I give the avocadoes and the chocolate bar to his wife and share with her some dietary tips that’s good for the heart.

It’s been a busy day but I feel good. As a result, the heavy traffic coming back did not bother me at all. The 35-minute drive took more than an hour. I am tired but my fatigue vanishes when I see my pet Kitkat meet me at the door.

It is the next day, Sunday morning, and my wife is reading the scriptures from her iphone. While switching my iphone to “silent” mode, I see a message from Editha, a close family friend from Naga. She lives in California now. Her message says “Am @work. Just to say Hi”. When I tell her I’m in church, she asks for prayers. Of course I will, I reply. I immediately say a little prayer for her.

Everyone is standing up now and singing “Every praise is to our God.” Service is starting and I thank the Lord for keeping me busy this weekend, looking for ways and means to serve Him best and my neighbor.

Some Golden Years, Lord.

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