Got Time? Spend It!
To spend time with loved ones is to maintain a sense of continuity, of simply living. Think of the stories from their lives and your own, stories you’ll pass on to others. If money is essential to subsist in a material world, then these precious moments are the foundations of a more humane world.
One precious thing about not being employed is, like what every employed person tells me, that you can do anything that you want, given that it doesn’t require much money in the process. So, having internalized that message while always on the look-out for job opportunities, I have pursued activities that I relished then and that I still love doing now. Apart from reading as if there’s no tomorrow, applying for a volunteer position at a local library, visiting local places that I’ve always wanted to go, or just simply driving around the city, one great advantage I’ve found, one that I truly treasure, is the opportunity to spend more time with my grandmother or my Lola.
Growing up 7000 miles away from my Lola, it is only in the past months that I’ve come to really spent time with her. Of course, there is a universal affinity between a grandmother and her granddaughter bound by the heart’s pulse and bloodstream. I didn’t know if she will like me not only as her granddaughter but also as an individual and vice versa, but as the years went by, these concerns were easily quelled by our growing fondness of each other.
Afternoons in her small apartment are one of the many moments and places I look forward to every week. Sitting in the living room, in her regal yet tender demeanor, I listen to the stories of her childhood, of heartbreak, of love, of loss, of mothering, stories of her beautiful and colorful life. To hear about her struggles and triumphs in times of war, in the backdrop of events I’ve only read about in books and I can only imagine in the confines of my mind, is something that a grandchild can only dream of. Yet, there I was as the primary audience for her narratives. Hearing about where she came from, knowing how she was as a child, and learning a lot about her parents, my great grandparents, firsthand are one of the many highlights of my year, my life; one that I want to continue on doing.
As I sit down and write, I am also reminded of another Lola I left 7000 miles away in the islands of the Philippines. My memories of her are vivid, as if they all just happened today, though I know that her memories of me are now just stored at the back of her mind, simply waiting to be called upon if not for her Alzheimer’s. I now think of the times I would’ve spent with her, but then again, I am simply thankful that I did.
It is true that the beauty of life is found in the simplest joys: the opportunity to spend time with people you love. Life stripped off of these fundamental joys is one that is bereft of life itself. For living is not only about working, making money, though I do recognize and experience its importance, but more so, it is also about how and who we spend our most precious times with.
So, I hope that as you read this, whoever you are, wherever you may be, employed or not, find the time to spend with your loved ones, family or dear friends. Call them if they are too far from where you are. Visit them if they are within your radius. Sit and talk with them. Let them know that you are thinking of them, or that you still remember them, because at the end of the day, as I have learned from my afternoons with my Lola and as I remember those times I’ve had with my other distant Lola, it is that act of letting your loved ones know how much you appreciate them that they really treasure.