[ Kudos and support for the efforts to touch base with the Pinoy Communities in Wellington, Auckland and elsewhere by our new and dashing Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Jesus Gary Domingo. Mabuhay ka Sir! ]
OWING TO a recently acquired taste for running in my advanced middle age , my feet, in the kindest words possible, would not pass any casting auditions as models for Dr Scholl, pedicure or anti-fungus commercials.
I have cultivated kalyo (calluses) all over: middle of the heels where the impact is greatest, knuckles of the toes, back of the heels, and so on. My toenails have weathered storm after storm of fun runs, half-marathons and trail runs, with a couple not surviving the January 7-11 Run 2016 in Filinvest. I also have bunions on the sides of both feet from wearing poorly-fitted shoes, but I guess that’s too much information for you by now.
In summary, I just want to tell you that I’m in constant pain and inconvenience, and because I don’t stop running, any remedy is only for pain alleviation and I can’t do much unless I don’t stop exercising (which I can’t).
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My point is, with all this going on with my feet, probably the most important asset I have for work and livelihood after my scatter-brained head (I need to walk and run for my job, after all), I wouldn’t mind it all if it meant I could keep my face the way it is.
Yes my comrades, aging and vanity are constant if grudging bedfellows in the journey of Life, for men and women alike. And the road gets rockier when you get to be my side of 50.
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In fairness to the discussion, I’ve actually been quite lucky face-wise. I’ve avoided the ravages of aging that beset those who’ve written cheques that their bodies can no longer cash, I’ve more or less been careful with cleaning, rinsing and moisturizing, with the supervision and monitoring of dutiful wife Mahal. I’ve survived the acne days when I thought I would never recover from the debilitating scars of puberty and oily complexions.
But there’s no hiding from Mother Nature. The wrinkles and furrows are starting to surface, and while I can de-emphasize or disguise them a bit, they are there to stay. It’s slightly delusional to think I can reverse, arrest, or even slow down the ageing process as regards my looks, but I read the articles, scan the aisles for anti-ageing creams, and continue to convince myself I can cheat Father Time.
I have good reasons too:
Mirror of health. It’s not infallible, but the state of my face reflects the state of my general health and fitness. If I pay attention to my complexion, including the fine lines and wrinkles, I feel better about myself, feel less stressed and face life (pun intended) better. I realize this is more psyching myself up, but my mental well-being is now equally as important as the physical counterpart, don’t forget that I can eat and sleep better when I look good. So looking good is now identical to feeling good.
Good for the ego. When you know you’ve taken care of yourself, when you’ve done everything you can to feel less than your age, then thing start taking care of themselves. You feel more confident at work, you exude and absorb confidence with people around you, you get positive comments and feedback that reinforce the good things you’ve started in looking better. Again, this sounds superficial and self-serving, but at my age and situation, anything to help me feel better about myself I will not hesitate to use and re-use. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Personal. Not to boast about it, but Mahal is more than a few years our junior. My job is quite physical in nature, and demands long and tedious hours. Not the least, I’m starting to get long in the tooth. Just one of these reasons would be good enough to pay a little more attention to my appearance, but all of them taken together makes it absolutely important to do so.
You and I often hear that any discussion on ageing is an exercise in vanity, because essentially you can’t fight getting old. But looking good while getting old isn’t a crime, in fact it’s the challenge of our times. There’s no shame in looking after yourself, and no shame in looking after your looks. Mabuhay!