My mom turned 50 this weekend. As my sister Daniela shared on her FB status, "I hope Patty and I will look this beautiful and be this happy at 50.", I really wish this kind of life for me too. Let me treat you to a little photo flashback of my bagets mother in the 70s/80s :)
Five Things I've Learned from my 50 Year Old Mother:
5. Invest in your inner beauty. I know everyone says that their mom is "the most beautiful girl in the world" and that indeed is truer than true. But my mom, objectively speaking, really is a beauty. She's been called "Gwapa" all her life from a very young age, she's always been the crush ng bayan, the muse, the beauty queen. To this day, she still gets the"Maam ang ganda niyo po" from the dentist, receptionist, manicurista, security guard, etc. And although I can tell it flatters her, she has never made it go to her head. My mom was always confident about the way she physically looked BUT she never obsessed about it. As much as she enjoys the occasional foot spa and hair cut, she finds more happiness in spending time to read the Bible, engage in meaningful conversations with her friends, accompanying my dad to a car show, or going out on a medical mission.
4. Embrace your age and have fun with it. I recall a line from the movie It's Complicated that goes: "Jane, your age is one of my favorite things about you." This is exactly what I feel about myself these days---I love growing up and growing old. I credit my open minded attitude towards aging to my mother. She's never ever had any hang ups about looking her age and acting her age. I can imagine this is something a majority of women find hard to overcome, just a quick browse through your FB timeline and you'll see a medley of women in their late 30s desperately trying to party like they're in their 20s.
Fun is fun, no matter what age you are in..and you don't have to be stuck in a specific "era of FUN" to have fun. I don't know if that makes any sense to you. What I'm saying is it's up to you to make new definitions of FUN based on the season you are in. If FUN meant being drunk and plastered til 5AM back when you were 18 years old, just because you didn't wake up in the pavement with puke all over your hair doesn't mean you've become boring. You are at a different phase in your life and FUN can still be very much present in your current adventures as a 30 year old, 40 year old, or 70 year old. You just have to be make new meanings for the word FUN each and everyday. My parents are having the time of their lives in their 50s. They travel, go on dates, watch movies, etc. They've managed to create a whole new concept of fun as they enter their empty nesters phase.
3. A real woman uses words to BUILD UP and not to TEAR DOWN. My mom has a LOT of friends. Even my own friends have actual friendships with my mother. Not in the "Hi Tita" kind of way, they really are able to open up to her and talk to her. It's because my mom is so easy to talk to. She listens intently, puts herself in that person's shoes, reserves her judgments, and addresses the issues at hand with great tact and genuine love. My mom has mastered the art of editing, a skill I find very admirable---only women of grace and character are able to carefully edit their words. The problem with (most) women is that they're so quick to say what's on their mind and although being opinionated shows strength, the lack of constraint can also show weakness. I'm not saying you're supposed to make adjustments and suppress your thoughts just to please others---I guess what my mom has showed me is that God has blessed us with the freedom to speak our minds and with this freedom comes accountability as well. So use words to BUILD UP someone, to encourage one another, to bring out something positive---instead of nit picking, pointing out flaws, or drilling a lecture on someone's head just to prove a point. It's nice to nourish the people around you with kind and thoughtful words. Naku, this is something I should learn! hehehe!
2. Believe in your man. To connect to #3, I think my dad and mom's marriage would not be where it is today if it weren't for my mom's words of encouragement. My mom is my dad's RARARA girl, his constant cheerleader and prayer warrior. These days, women are so obsessed with proving themselves to the world and like you, I'm all for woman empowerment too. But if by being "STRONG" you are making your partner feel weak, then that would not be a healthy relationship to keep. Men and women were created to complement one another and not to outdo each other. It's possible to be a STRONG woman who builds up a STRONG MAN. And strength doesn't always have to be loud and forceful or high and mighty, a women's strength is best displayed through her grace and wisdom.
1. Never stop praying your family. When Daniela and I were teenagers we used to drag our feet to church every Sunday. Needless to say, it was our least favorite weekly activity. My mom would sign us up for all the youth related activities and we'd grunt loudly to show how much we hated it. We weren't bad kids, we didn't do drugs or anything like that, but we weren't the goody goody kinds either. We were set on our own social calendars and committed to living like normal teenagers---going to church was definitely more of an obligation than a "hooray" activity. But my mom never stopped trying--she always prayed openly for us and encouraged us to read the Bible together (even if we were really daydreaming and half listening). Looking back now, I can imagine how helpless she must've felt dealing with two stubborn teenage girls. But I'm glad my mom never gave up on us. We should always make it a habit to pray for our loved ones---no matter WHAT.
Thank you Mom for being such a wonderful example to me and my sister. We love you so much! Happy Birthday!!!!