Blessings of being 70
The Bible states, “In themselves the days of our years are seventy years. And if because of special mightiness they are eighty years. Yet their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things; for it must quickly pass by, and away we fly.” (Psalm 90:10)
Indeed, for many people, reaching 70 is like coming to the end of the road, as it were. It need not be so, however. If you are still up and about, unimpaired by any serious, debilitating ailment, and above all, enjoying a cheerful frame of mind, Decade 70 could offer interesting challenges that, in effect, could make life even more exciting — and rewarding!
At 70, Ronald Reagan was elected president of Unites States. Four years later, he won a second four-year term in office. The current American president, Donald Trump, also won a surprising victory at past 70. And President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines made it to a landslide win at an identical age. Who ever said there is no exciting life after 60?
But even for a non-celebrity, ordinary person like me, there are good reasons to face ones 70s with realistic optimism and more.
On my 70th birthday in November of 2017 — although I do not celebrate birthdays because of religious scruples — somehow I did something of tremendous personal significance for me.
I launched on the internet my long-time literary dream column which I titled “Light for Life.” It was really meant for a newspaper, but at the time I had no clear idea how I could ever break into the ranks of newspaper columnists. It was indeed a shot in the dark.
For the next two years Light for Life delivered month after month articles of human interest but decidedly with a spiritual slant. I sent them to everyone whose e-mail addresses I could pick — friends, relatives, even newspaper columnists themselves as well as newspaper readers writing for the opinion sections.
It was an intrepid attempt to test the journalistic waters, so to speak. Yet in due time my daring venture began to draw some encouraging feedback. My article for December of 2017, “Christians without Christmas,” caught the attention of noted veteran columnist Domini Torrevillas of The Philippine Star. Asking my permission, she published my article practically in full in her column of December 21, 2017.
Much later, my long-time buddy and media colleague, firebrand radio commentator and columnist Ramon Tulfo of The Manila Times, helped me land a slot as columnist in his newspaper, known as the country’s oldest.
Just consider for a moment the blessings that seniors in their seventies could enjoy now and hereafter.
Life at 70 can be an enriching, unprecedented time of learning and new discoveries. Who ever said,“Old dogs never learn new tricks?” If that is true of dogs, rejoice! We’re humans, not dogs! And countless experiments have demonstrated man’s amazing capacity for learning new things, discovering new truths — at any age level. There have been published, documented reports of septuagenarians earning college degrees, learning to play instruments, and learning a new language, among other accomplishments.
One can get wiser — and healthier.At this point of my life, I have accumulated a huge storehouse of knowledge from some seven decades of first-hand experiences, readings, and interaction with people apparently more knowledgeable than I — my parents, older relatives and friends, my schoolteachers and incidental mentors, even my own peers who had excelled in their chosen fields. Interestingly, I have immersed myself in the study of these essentially invigorating subjects: health maintenance the natural way, a more balanced lifestyle, and enhancement of one’s spirituality (how to draw close to God) through Bible study. Applying such knowledge to my way of life, I have been rewarded with robust health now the envy of my less health-conscious peers, as well as a deeper peace of mind and sense of security under the care of a loving God, Jehovah, and my King Jesus Christ.
It could be a time of renewed bonding with old friends and like-minded contemporaries. Thanks to social media, you can touch-base once again with still surviving contemporaries such as your batchmates in high school and college, former workmates, golf, tennis, and drinking buddies, or for lonely hearts — their old flames, now widowed but still on the go.
Retirement could prepare you for productive redirections, not helpless inactivity and boredom. Many septuagenarians still blessed with good health could not imagine themselves sitting all day in a rocking chair, waited on for every meal by caregivers within the confines of one’s cozy home. Retirees who laid off completely from outdoor activities are likely to deteriorate in health earlier and faster than their busy counterparts who engaged in physical and social interaction long after retirement. They are also the prime candidates for Alzheimer’s disease.
“Rest too long, and you rust too early too,” warned Grace, a retired schoolteacher nearing her eighties.
Instead of turning couch potato for her remaining years, she took up ballroom dancing and attended zumba sessions in late afternoons. She swore it lifted her spirits and made her feel young again somehow.
Laughter could reward you with longevity. Study after study has confirmed over the years the untold benefits of laughter in one’s life. These include improved physical, mental and emotional health.More and more studies tend to show that regular laughter-filled social interaction like occasional bonding over meals with friends could significantly slow down the effects of aging, perhaps, by releasing generous doses of endorphins, the happy hormones. This in turn boosts the immune system, thus contributing immensely to one’s longevity.
“They who laugh louder live longer,” quipped a pundit.
Even the Good Book suggests that one’s life, while admittedly prone to sadness, grief and sorrow, must also find “a time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) If done more regularly, it may also help prevent illness.“A joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) “A joyful heart makes for a cheerful countenance.” (Proverbs 15:13)
A comedian once remarked, “Age doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t show.”
One can touch the lives of more people. Having acquired the wisdom of old age and the love instilled by cultivating meaningful relationships with good people, you can also touch the lives of more people, guiding them as mentor, coach, counselor, and spiritual adviser. Such selfless roles are sure to reward any deserving one with a truly self-fulfilling, deeply satisfying life that must have eluded those who spent most of their lives in selfish indulgences As Jesus had said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” (Acts 20:35).
At 70 one’s life of integrity can leave a precious legacy to the new generation. As the Bible says, “White hairs are a crown of honour, they are found in the paths of virtue.” (Proverbs 16:31, The Jerusalem Bible) 70 years of life spent in worthwhile pursuits can serve as a shining role model for future generations to follow. Even without trumpeting it yourself, people will hail you as a hero, a great thinker, a generous giver, maybe a legend, or simply a person worth loving and remembering for all time.
One enjoys the assurance of a happy, graceful exit when the inevitable end comes. At one’s actual expiry, he can look back with no regrets to a meaningful, productive life spent in the utmost service of God and his fellowmen.
Yes, life at 70 can hold much hope and promise. But it looms only as a sure reality for those who have taken the time and trouble to live their past the best way they should.
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